Snake Eye Turquoise Ring
Vintage Zuni Turquoise Ring made of 15 “snake eye” stones of Sleeping Beauty turquoise set in sterling silver. Ring is a size 8-1/2 and face of ring is 7/8″ long by 3/4″ wide. Ring can be sized up/down two sizes for additional charge.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
The Sleeping Beauty Mine, located in Globe, Arizona, is no longer an active mine. For many years it produced a wide range of turquoise that is now even more highly prized for it’s solid soft blue color, with little or no matrix. The color of the turquoise ranges from a deep royal blue to a light sky blue. The mine originally was worked for copper and gold but during the last five decades or so it has produced gemstone quality turquoise in quantities to satisfy the commercial market. In general, the miners lease portions of the “dumps” and sort turquoise from there.
There is a small town in south central Italy, near Naples, famous for its cameos. Their needs for huge quantities of this material over the years have always kept the supply down and demand high. The clear blue is reminiscent of old Persian turquoise, and is without doubt the most preferred and prized by Europeans, both for cameos as well as in bead or jewelry form.
There is a sister mine nearby, called the Bluebird, that produces some of the world’s most beautiful azurite. This material is a copper oxide and also contains malachite, crysacolla as well as a mineralized copper or cuprite. This is a rare and undervalued gem stone that has all but disappeared from the marketplace.
History of Zuni Jewelry
The Zuni Native American Indian Pueblo is located 32 miles southwest of Gallup, New Mexico. They have been known for making Needlepoint (tiny needle shaped stones), Petitpoint (tiny round, oval or square stones) and Turquoise Inlaid Jewelry since the early 20th century.
The Zuni Indians focus on stone cutting. They make simplistic silver pieces to accommodate their intricate stonework. Rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants, pins and necklaces are made with fine and delicate turquoise and other gemstones set in artistic designs.
This New Mexico Pueblo Indian tribe is very traditional and religious, which is reflected in their art. The Zuni people have been skilled lapidary artisans since ancient times. These stone lapidary skills, which had developed over the years, were easily applied to the creation of ornamental jewelry. With the incorporation of an expertise in silversmithing, the Zuni have taken the art of stone decorative jewelry to another level with their complex inlay channel designs, fine turquoise petit point as well as hand carved fetish jewelry. They have developed a unique look which can be easily spotted by collectors and jewelry connoisseurs alike.