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A Take a look at Turquoise and its Starring Function within the Newest Excessive Jewelry Collections

A Take a look at Turquoise and its Starring Function within the Newest Excessive Jewelry Collections

The fascination for December’s birth stone has woven itself into the world’s ancient myths. Now, the sky-blue gem is incorporated in the season’s most stunning haute joaillerie creations.

Turquoise. The name evokes bright, sunny, azure skies and the height of summer. Its French etymology stems from a time when this rare blue gemstone was first brought to Europe from Turkestan and its discovery came from places exotic and ancient.

The gemstone, or rather its pale imitations, may seem ubiquitous given its seemingly constant presence. In fact, real turquoise is rare and found only in very few locations around the world. The regions are arid and often barren, with a high mineral, copper-rich content (which gives the turquoise its signature blue hue). Hence, its strong associations with areas in Turkey, the American Southwest, Mexico, Persia, Egypt and the Indus Valley incorporating northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwest India.

When polished, turquoise transforms into a near impossible smooth surface of calm sky blue that is often imitated but never fully replicated. That is because, up close, it possesses a magical quality, an opaque robin’s egg blue or a greenish blue that has captivated the imaginations of everyone from antiquity to the modern age.

Custom cut turquoises accent the Girih necklace from Cartier’s Le Voyage Recommencé collection. (Image: Cartier)
Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani wearing the Girih necklace, which is inspired by the Islamic arts. (Image: Cartier)

Turquoise: The gemstone of royalty both ancient and modern

The ancients saw the gemstone fit to adorn kings and queens. Antediluvian artefacts from the Aztecs to the ancient Chinese depict emperors, shahs and pharaohs wearing it. Indeed, the world’s oldest recorded jewellery were made from the gem and discovered in Egypt. Turquoise was one of the earliest gems to find worldwide appreciation, gaining prominence in the West around the 14th century and coinciding with the wane of the Catholic church’s influence over what could be worn as secular jewellery.

In all these instances, the gemstone was sought after for its purported ability to ward off evil. The gem’s capacity to change its colour helped amplify this legend and the ancients used it as talismans to indicate the state of one’s health and spiritual well-being.

Little wonder then that it was a principal gemstone incorporated into weapons, sculptures, masks and buildings. Turquoise featured significantly in ancient Egypt as seen in the iconic burial mask of King Tutankhamen and still decorates the walls of the Taj Mahal. The Aztecs fashioned masks of Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of fire, from turquoise while Jewish high priests showcased it on ceremonial breastplates. Native Americans continue to treasure it as amulets and it is perhaps this association that resonates most with the likes of Cher, who wore turquoise jewellery in the ’70s partly to celebrate her Cherokee roots.

In the modern age, the glamour of turquoise helped define the ’20s, ’60s and ’70s. While the 1920s saw the gemstone decorating flapper headpieces, art deco jewellery and interiors, the gemstone’s powerful presence in the ’60s was heralded by American socialite Babe Paley, who upstaged President Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1957 in her Tiffany & Co. turquoise tassel necklace designed by Jean Schlumberger. The gem found a new audience in the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren in the ’60s, who wore it as a reminder of their yachting summers in the Riviera. It also picked up a freewheeling rock-and-roll reputation in the ’70s with Keith Richards and Jim Morrison sporting turquoise jewellery.

Turquoise takes over the latest high jewellery collections

There is no denying the mysterious attraction of turquoise in this day and age, with new fans such as Johnny Depp, Beyoncé, Megan Fox, Jennifer Lopez and Miley Cyrus, and as evidenced by the latest high jewellery collections featuring the gem.

At Harry Winston, for example, the Majestic Escapes is a journey to the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, with master artisans taking over two years to create the beautiful pieces. The Fiji necklace sees turquoise replicating the clear, blue waters of the Koro Sea surrounding the island, in a design where rare turquoise cabochons are surrounded by sapphires and diamonds.

The Paradise Harbor necklace pays tribute to Okinawa’s sunrise in shades of light pink and purple across deep blue waters. This classic Winston-style necklace features diamonds with alternating turquoise beads, white pearls and pink sapphire accents.

The classic Winston-style Paradise Harbor necklace features diamonds with alternating turquoise beads, white pearls and pink sapphire accents. (Image: Harry Winston)

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Perles d’été collection, meanwhile, presents a full expression of turquoise in various forms, drawing from the maison’s own archives. The Brume de turquoise necklace, a creation that takes more than 800 hours to make, is a marvelous array of 19 cascadeset turquoise cabochons. The gems are carefully chosen for their intense colour and smooth, reflective surface, evoking a bright blue sea under an azure sky. The striking gold pendant with its two turquoise chakras and sparkling diamonds is detachable and radiates like the sun surrounding two cool pools.

The collection also includes the Lueur d’été necklace, a transformable design that recall the maison’s creations from the ’20s and ’70s. The necklace is formed from 39 turquoise beads, brought together by traditional hand-knotted beading and enhanced with lapis lazuli and coral.

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Brume de turquoise necklace with detachable pendant. Yellow gold, sapphires, turquoise, diamonds.

Bulgari’s tribute to the Mediterranean – or Mediterranea, as it were – sees turquoise playing a strong supporting role in the Roman Esedra sautoir, which pays tribute to an iconic 1970s Bulgari piece. Inspired by Renaissance nobility, the necklace showcases an incredible 68.88-carat emerald set in a hexagonal pendant and surrounded by emeralds, amethysts and the mythic turquoise in a wonderful creation full of colour and character.

Turquoise plays a strong supporting role in Bulgari’s Roman Esedra sautoir. (Image: Bulgari)

In Tiffany & Co.’s latest Blue Book 2023: Out of the Blue Collection, turquoise cabochon is used on the inside of the Sea Anemone bracelet to represent the waters that the anemone is encased within. The piece features a unique setting that allows the diamonds to waver, imitating anemones in their natural state.

Turquoise cabochon is used on the inside of In Tiffany & Co.’s Sea Anemone bracelet. (Image: Tiffany & Co.)

On a decidedly cutting edge front, Boucheron takes on a “free” high jewellery concept based on creative director Claire Choisne’s philosophy to break out of convention. The house presents a fresh, playful and colourful style that recalls pop art. Chief among the pieces is a titanium ring that brings to mind the comic illustrations of Roy Lichtenstein, crafted with black and white resin and, yes, turquoise.

Boucheron takes on a “free” high jewellery concept with a fresh, playful and colourful style that recalls pop art. (Image: Boucheron)

(Main Image: Harry Winston, featuring the Fiji necklace)

For more jewellery stories, click here.

Source: Prestige Online

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