Until recently, the jewellery industry saw turquoise as an inexpensive material that could be framed in silver. It was in this form that the stone with its amazing colour would find itself in the jewellery boxes of young ladies. But the latest trends - which paved the way for this admittedly affordable but enchanting gemstone to make its way into high jewellery collections - have taken turquoise to a whole new level. In the last year alone, it has become part of collections at Bulgari, Harry Winston, Louis Vuitton, Mellerio Dits Meller, Suzanne Syz, Veschetti, David Yurman and many other famous brands.
This appears to be something of an unprecedented elevation for such an unpretentious stone, but no! Turquoise has for time immemorial been accustomed to royal environments, both in the literal and figurative sense. In the 16th century for example, Persian craftsmen made the throne presented to Boris Godunov by Shah Abbas I from hammered gold with a floral pattern that was richly decorated with rubies, pearls and turquoise.
Turquoise also adorns the throne that originally belonged to Ivan the Terrible, and then to Mikhail Romanov. Here, inlays made with the blue mineral are accentuated by tourmalines, chrysolites, pearls and two large topazes. It is not surprising that turquoise became world-famous thanks to the generous gifts of eastern rulers, as its first deposits were found in modern-day Iran. Now turquoise is also mined in the USA (Arizona), Mexico, Mongolia, Afghanistan, China, Israel, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Sinai Peninsula.
Turquoise certainly was not chosen to be a December birthstone by chance. It can be damaged by fats, oils and alcohol solutions, heat or direct sunlight - but with the help of water it adopts a more intense colour. There is often not enough blue sky in winter, and so a jewel with this particular colour will invariably invoke pleasant associations for both its owner and for those around them!
Jewellery insider Katerina Perez is a specialist with professional knowledge and insight of the industry. Since training as a gemmologist at The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), Russian-born London-based Katerina has worked as a freelance journalist and content editor since 2011. She has written articles in both English and Russian for VO+, Robb Report and Kommersant, amongst others. Since founding her website in 2013, Katerina has championed the work of talented jewellers across the globe, from established brands to fledgling designers whom she has personally scouted.
Katerina’s mark on the industry has so far been recognised in her appointment as a judge on the panel for one of the world’s most renowned jewellery competitions (Couture, Las Vegas), as well as her invitations to give educational talks by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and hold seminars at International Jewellery London (IJL), rated as the fair’s top events for 3 consecutive years running. In March 2017, Katerina helped raised funds for Action for Children, offering a jewellery consultation as a lot in their charity auction.