Slab Turquoise Earrings
Slab Turquoise Earrings made by local Santa Fe artist Scott Diffrient. The earring are highest grade of pale blue Chinese turquoise. They measure 1-1/2″ L x 1-1/4″ at the widest part. They are set in sterling silver but you can see the turquoise from both sides.
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: Scott Diffrient
Scott Diffrient is a contemporary artist who is willing to invest the time and precision necessary to produce fine works of art. His jewelry is influenced by his love of ancient cultures. His designs are reminiscent of ancient architecture.
From his light filled studio in Galisteo, Diffrient works with rough stones of high quality, predominately North American natural turquoise, as well as stones from around the world, such as sugilite, coral, jade, lapis, lazuli, and more. The Southwest has provided a constant source of inspiration for Diffrient’s “modern artifacts”. His rings, bracelets, earrings, belt buckles, cuff links and necklaces reside in collections of bead and jewelry enthusiasts across the country and are prized as treasured personal adornments, as well as highly valued collectibles.
His artistry, influenced by his love of ancient cultures, imparts an ancient charismatic power to each piece.