“Turquoise is the wealth of the nomad, portable and protective. As a prized gem, it advanced quickly and deeply through the Near East and pre-Columbian American while Europeans coveted their cold and lustrous rubies. Turquoise, doott‘ izhii, anchors a corner of the four-cornered Navajo universe, it guards desert springs, it is itself water and sky. Nobles hoarded it, peasants wore it, the faithful inserted two thousand words of the Koran on a two-square-inch slab of it.”
– from The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
by Ellen Melloy
Last winter, Dave and I took a trip to Grand Canyon National Park and Page in northern Arizona. My favorite memento from that trip was a delicate turquoise and silver bracelet I picked out from a roadside jewelry stand on the Navajo Nation. I’ve always loved turquoise. So, of course, when I spotted Ellen Melloy’s The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky at the Grand Canyon National Park gift shop, I knew it would make perfect reading during our lazy, snowed-in long weekend.
It’s a beautiful book, part memoir and part natural history. The book is not only about turquoise, but about the way we become seduced by our natural surroundings. Melloy’s keen eye and spare, poetic prose are a reminder to awaken to our surroundings and “rise to the full chase of beauty.”
If you want something new and beautiful to covet, take a look at these turquoise jewelry and style finds. Not all of these are made of authentic turquoise – and some of these picks aren’t jewelry – but even its color and likeness will spark memories of the desert.
This five-strand turquoise and pin shell bead necklace strikes a beautiful balance between casual and elegant. No two beads are the same. $249, from SilverTribe. Buy it here.
Simple and feminine, this Inlaid God’s Eye ring was made with mother-of-pearl, coral and turquoise. $22 from AllTribes. The bad news? It’s only available in ring sizes 4 and 5.
I love the daintiness and simple elegance of this slim turquoise bracelet. $58 from Southwest Silver Gallery.
Exotic, lush, sexy. These are your “wear these on vacation and flip my hair a lot to show off my fabulous earrings” kind of earrings. $42, from Anthropologie.
A glossy turquoise stone sits at the center of this sun-shaped pendant. I am smitten. $129. Made by Lenox and sold at eCrater.
This chunky, turquoise chips bracelet might not be made with genuine turquoise, but it definitely adds a lovely pop of color to your wrist. $9.99. Buy it here.
Make your wine look pretty with this Southwest-style copper & turquoise table top wine rack from Linens ‘n Things. $84.69.
Does your home need a good conversation piece? This vintage turquoise parrot lamp ought to do the trick. $425, for sale on Chairish.
This cool turquoise vintage fan almost makes me look forward to our desert summer temps. I said almost. $59.99 at Kotula’s.
This French-style turquoise desk makes me want to sit all day writing poetry and love notes. Originally sold on OneKingsLane, but sadly not currently in stock. Maybe someday?
Need more turquoise inspiration? Head on over to House of Turquoise, a great design blog featuring all things turquoise.