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Museum to host turquoise jewelry exhibition

December 16, 2013


Angie Reano Owen of Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico used Red Mountain turquoise to create this contemporary cuff, which will be included in the “Turquoise, Water Sky” exhibition at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Editor's Note: This article was updated Dec. 17 to show that Angie Reano Owen is of Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico.

Santa Fe, N.M.--An exhibition highlighting Southwestern turquoise jewelry will be on display at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe beginning April 13.

“Turquoise, Water Sky: The Stone and its Meaning” will explore all aspects of turquoise, from geology, mining and history to questions of authenticity and value. Hundreds of necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and other objects that illustrate how the stone was used will be showcased.

The exhibition will run through March 2016.

People in the Southwest have used turquoise for jewelry and ceremonial purposes and traded the stones with within and outside the region for years, the museum said.

The oldest turquoise mines in the world, operated for thousands of years, are in Iran and the word “turquoise” originates from the French name for a blue stone people thought came from Turkey, but actually came from Persia.

Turquoise’s color ranges from white, called chalk, to deep blue, pale blue, florescent yellow-green and deep green, but it is the color and shape of the veins of the rock that contribute to its prestige and value.

“Turquoise stands for water and for sky, for bountiful harvests, health and protection. Blue-green symbolizes creation and the hope for security and beauty. These ideas were so important that if the stone was not available, its color was represented through other methods,” said Maxine McBrinn, curator of archaeology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Additional information on the exhibition can be found on the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s website.