Turquoise Gold Earrings
Beautiful dangling earrings made of Chinese turquoise, set into 18k gold, handmade by Santa Fe artist Miles Standish. Dangles are 1-1/2 inches L by 1/2 inch W.
Chinese Turquoise has become the most widely used Turquoise in the world. There is evidence of turquoise use in China dating at least as far back as 1700 BC as evidenced by a bronze plaque with turquoise overlay from the Erlitou culture site in Menan Province displayed at the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. Although some Turquoise was mined in China in ancient times, more commonly it was acquired in trade with Mongols, Persians, and Turks. Mostly the Chinese used turquoise for carvings and other art. Jade has been the preferred stone for jewelry in Chinese culture. The Tibetians, on the other hand, have preferred turquoise to any other gemstone and virtually every Tibetian possesses some turquoise. Believed to bring good luck, it is worn set in rings and bracelets, as beads in necklaces, and as adornment directly on hats and other clothing. Domestic animals such as horses wear necklaces of felt with turquoise sewn on. Today China has mines that produce a great deal of turquoise. Northwest of Shanghai is the Ma’ashan turquoise mine, and the Hubei Province produces turquoise in colors reminiscent of the now closed mines in Nevada. This turquoise ranges in color from sky blue to spring green as well. Today there are no known producing mines. Chinese Turquoise has usually been stabilized, meaning a clear epoxy has been applied to the surface to harden the stone before setting. A side effect of the process is that stabilized stone is less likely to absorb lotions and body oils, which may change the color of the stone over time. Turquoise from mines in China accounts for about 80% of the stone on the U.S. market today, due to the scarcity of American turquoise. Only a handful of turquoise mines in the American southwest are commercially operating. Unfortunately this turquoise and its dealers has put most of the American miners out of business. We just can’t make a dollar or two per day breaking our backs! It is a shame that the Chinese did not treat these mines with respect, they could have been the Debeers of Turquoise, when this stuff first hit the market there was material that you could not tell was Chinese or Lander Blue. Great stuff, I can’t wait till the American market appreciates it more. Chinese Turquoise is simular to American Turquoise in that the mines produce Turquoise in almost every color and matrix variation.
Santa Fe Artist: Miles Standish
As a jewelry artist and craftsman, Miles Standish says he finds meaning in formulating shape out of something shapeless and bringing together different elements to create a relationship of balance and wholeness. A long-time resident of Santa Fe and a National Forrest Service employee, Standish draws his inspirations from observing the natural world: the shapes of clouds, the curve of a leaf, the spread of a bird’s wing, the texture and pattern of a sea shell. Growing up, Standish was encouraged in every artistic endeavor but didn’t begin silver-smithing until the age 20.
“I sometimes feel as though the silver chose me; I did not choose it,” says Standish.
Presently working in gold, silver and a variety of precious and semi-precious stones, Standish is known for his original and innovative designs, artistic expression and outstanding craftsmanship.