When you are in Arizona, turquoise jewellery is irresistible.
Turquoise was designated the official state gem of Arizona in 1974, and the quality of it is world-famous. An icon to Arizona surely has to be silver and turquoise, so when I saw a row of market stalls at the side of the highway backing onto a desert and canyon, it was the perfect place to shop for my souvenir. Stalls all run by local Navajo women made it even more of a treat.
I perused each stall comparing the handmade jewellery and was overwhelmed. A necklace caught my eye but not about to spend $750 on a necklace roadside, I lowered my sights to bracelets and earrings. Undecided, I splurged on two bracelets and a pair of earrings, all local turquoise. One of the vendors took the time to shorten one of the bracelets with the satchel of tools she had on hand to custom fit it to my wrist.
Probably one of the oldest gemstones known, only the prized robin’s egg blue color is used to make gemstones even though there are other shades. The majority of the world’s finest quality turquoise comes from western and southwestern United States, the largest producer of turquoise in the world. Native Americans of the area have used turquoise extensively since about 200 BCE to make solid turquoise beads, carvings and inlaid mosaics. Nearly all deposits of turquoise are located near copper deposits in arid desert regions of the world.
Such low prices, it wasn’t worth bartering, no splurge at all, but a very savvy buy linked to memories of another fabulous trip.