Turquoise Jewelry StylesTurquoise Jewelry Styles

Turquoise Specialist Mini Course

Turquoise Jewelry Styles

turquoise jewelry - squash blossom necklace
Turquoise squash blossom necklace. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Ancient Egyptian Turquoise Jewelry

The earliest documented use of turquoise jewelry comes from Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians sourced most of their turquoise from the southwest Sinai region, particularly Serabit el-Khadim and Wadi Maghara. The Egyptians associated turquoise with fertility and plant life. For them, it was a luxury item that brought joy to people, and they made good use of their limited supply.

gold and turquoise Egyptian pendant
Gold and turquoise pendant, 1069-715 BCE. Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasties 21-22 (1069-945 and 945-715 BC). 5.1 x 2.3 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Vivian Merrin 1989.39. Public Domain.

Beads, Amulets, and Inlays

Ancient Egyptian artisans worked turquoise in ways we still employ today. For example, they carved beads from it for bracelets and elaborate collar necklaces.

Egyptian necklace
This necklace from the Middle Kingdom period features beads of carnelian, turquoise, moss agate, amethyst, milky quartz, and green-glazed steatite (a type of talc) on a twisted linen cord. Rings and necklace, Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Wah, ca. 1981–1975 BCE. Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1940. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

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