Monday, October 10, 2011

Natural Wonders: Boulder Turquoise

My love for turquoise is well known. And today I'm going to introduce you to a new kind of turquoise:  boulder, or ribbon, turquoise.

Boulder or ribbon turquoise is simply turquoise that still remains in its host rock. Sometimes turquoise is found as nuggets, and sometimes it is found as a "ribbon" (vein) running through the host rock, or boulder. In the past, the turquoise would be cut out of the host rock, and sometimes, especially if it was too difficult to get a good result (if the ribbon was too thin, for example), the host rock would be tossed aside and considered waste. 

Fortunately that is no longer the case! Now this type of turquoise is in demand.

Here's a great example of a "ribbon" of turquoise in the host rock:

I was first introduced to boulder turquoise several years ago, when Brett and I took a trip to Highlands, NC. We poked around main street and happened upon a fun little shop which had a very western feel to it. They had an amazing array of rock specimens, Kachinas, pocketknives with inlaid stone and wood handles, dreamcatchers, fetishes, and of course jewelry. I bought this ring as a souvenir of the visit:

I love how the thin vein of turquoise is the focal point of this ring, embedded within its host rock. So unusual and a bit more subtle than wearing a "hello-look-at-me" piece of turquoise. Not that I mind that at ALL, but some days a girl just doesn't want her jewelry to shout at the world.  :)

Here's another view, straight on:

it has a beautiful, heavy thick sterling band and it's become one of my favorite rings.

Now that I am learning to set my own stones, I recently snapped up a few cabs for my stash:

I love the unusual shape and the strong mix of blues, greens, and browns in this cab.

This one is probably my favorite, with the beautiful vein of turquoise looking like a bright summer sky, and the host rock looking like the weathered, stark desert landscape.  :)

This cab drew me with its shape and the glorious COLOR! Reminiscent of my Kingman cabs, but a brighter color and different type of matrix. You may notice that this cabochon is "more turquoise, less boulder" and I don't mind that at all. I love how the brown host rock and the turquoise are intermingled here. I suspect that this would have been a "discard" before somebody got smart and decided boulder turquoise was marketable. There was probably a lot more host rock around the turquoise to begin with, but it's been cut away to create this happy gem that made its way home with me.  :)

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