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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Turquoise Zuni Bracelet

Photograph of a turquoise Navajo bracelet (NMNH G7990) from the National Gem Collection
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G7990-00
Locality United States

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. M. Silverman in 1978.This object was designed by Ondelacy.

Used as a gem since ancient times, turquoise is probably one of the oldest gem materials known to man. It was mined by the Egyptians more than 6,000 years ago, prized for its sky blue color by the Aztecs and Incas, and later by the Native Americans. It gets its name from the Old French “pierre Turquoise” or “stone of Turkey,” in reference to the considerable Persian turquoise that was sold in Turkish markets. Copper colors turquoise blue, while iron impurities tint it green. This Zuni turquoise bracelet by Ondelacy is set in silver.


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