Turquoise is a beautiful mineral known for its unique, blue-green color. It is used in many pieces of jewelry and as accents on different accessories, like the American darling bags we have on stock at our store!
As beautiful as it is, turquoise is more than just a pretty stone. It holds great significance in Native American culture, with each tribe having different meanings for it. Often called the “stone of life,” many believe that turquoise’s ability to change color means that it’s a living mineral.
This stone is often used to adorn clothes and accessories for traditional and modern-day use. Bracelets, bags, and rings will usually have pieces of turquoise embroidered and set in them. Understanding the significance of turquoise in Native American culture can ensure that its use in fashion is done with the utmost care and respect—all while remaining stylish and beautiful.
The Living Stone
Native Americans understand and treasure the relationship that all living and nonliving things have, especially in nature. They believe that all things are precious, and the turquoise mineral is no exception!
This stone’s color-changing properties are highly respected in this culture, particularly the other color variations representing the earth, such as white, light blue, and coppery colors.
The Navajo Tribe and the Significance of Turquoise
This beautiful stone’s properties have made it an important part of some Native American legends and spiritual practices. Turquoise is often involved in prayers to the god of rain called Neinilii.
One legend even describes turquoise’s formation as human tears mixing with the rain after a long drought and joining the earth to create the precious mineral. The Navajo also have the goddess Estsanatlehi (which means “Changing Woman”), who is known for wearing turquoise. It is said that she started as a piece of turquoise in a home made of the same rock in the West Horizon, and she is often celebrated during coming-of-age ceremonies where people sing to her.
Turquoise also symbolizes power and luxury and is considered to bring good fortune. People of the Navajo tribe would use this mineral as a kind of amulet that was stored in baskets or hung from the ceiling to ward off evil spirits. It was also taken into battle as a source of protection from the enemy. This precious stone is also often given as a present!
The Meaning of Turquoise in Other Tribes
It is not only the Navajo that gives a significant meaning to turquoise. Many other tribes believe that the stone provides a person with strength and vitality, with different beliefs depending on the tribe. Some tribes, like the Pima, believe that turquoise represents healing and skill, while the Apaches believed it would make them stronger hunters and warriors.
Other tribes are more detailed in their different beliefs associated with turquoise. The Hopi people think that turquoise is the waste of a lizard known to travel between “the above” and “the below,” signifying a connection with the spiritual world. The Ojibwe tribe, on the other hand, has a prominent spider named Asibikaashi that gave the sun back to the people and is featured in dreamcatchers.
Turquoise You Can Wear
Because of how often it was used and worn, turquoise eventually found its way into Native American jewelry. When silversmithing was introduced to the Navajo tribe, they produced various styles, like Squash Blossom necklaces and Navajo silver rings, all of which showed off the stone’s beauty. Beads were also a prominent feature in Navajo and Zuni jewelry, which often incorporated smaller turquoise pieces as accents.
Given the spiritual and cultural significance of turquoise in Native American culture, buying a piece of jewelry that incorporates this precious stone can truly carry a lot of meaning. It is an investment in the culture that created it as much as it is a statement piece that will never go out of style. Paying homage to the tribes’ history that honored this beautiful stone is the best way to keep these traditions alive and well.
If you’re looking for Native American turquoise jewelry, our very own Navajo silver and turquoise bracelet might pique your interest. Here at Kittie K Ranch and Co., we sell accessories, pendants, Navajo pearls, and handbags—all with the style and grace of Western fashion. To shop for our stunning turquoise jewelry and other pieces, visit our website today!