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Bead of the Week

red agateJust perfect for your Halloween creations -- these Red Agate Evil Eye beads are of stone that was formed from layers of silica from volcanic cavities. Agate is named after the Achates River (now known as the Dirillo River) on the island of Sicily, Italy, whose upper waters were an ancient source of this gemstone. Each strand offered here has 16 round faceted beads, with colors ranging from red to amber, as shown. Each bead is approx. 10 mm. with an approx. 2 mm. hole. Each strand is $10, but for a limited time, take 10% off with the code HALLOWEEN at checkout.


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turquoise bloomsandshroomsSince I'm writing from Corrales, New Mexico, and since New Mexico is one of the primary 'lands' of Turquoise, this beautiful stone is perfect to feature today. And in honor of the New Year, I should note that Turquoise is said to encourage self-forgiveness and the release of useless regrets -- a wonderful exercise in preparation for the new year. 

On the scientific side, Turquoise is a copper aluminum phosphate mineral; its striking blue color is actually caused by the copper. The meaning of the name is "Turkish stone". Traders brought the stone, found in Turkish bazaars, to Europe, way back in the 16th century. And there is evidence that it was also mined in Sinai, Egypt and China, as far back as 8,000 years ago in some cases. Today, Turquoise is also found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania, Turkistan, and England -- as well as some states in the U.S.

(Photo of ring to the right is from bloomsandshrooms on Etsy: view/shop here:

There are many types of Turquoise; some have a matrix or speckled pattern, as shown in our "bead of the week" feature on our web site. In the Southwest, you will often see it paired beautifully with silver, as well as other semi-precious stones. For centuries, the stone was carried along the north-south corridor connecting what is now southern Mexico with the southwest United States.  There are many types of Turquoise; they often have a matrix or speckled pattern. Its formation occurs exclusively in arid areas. Volcanic disturbances are necessary to make the fissures in the rocks where water must run through copper, aluminum, phosphates, and iron to create veins of turquoise throughout the surrounding rocks.

The meaning of Turquoise goes far beyond the scientific, and into the spiritual. Natives have observed the clear blue line running through gray rock, have seen the imagery of sky and water in stone; it has been cherished as a stone of sky, stone of water, stone of blessings, good fortune, protection, good health and long life.

turquoise ErinAustinThe Zuni people associate turquoise with supreme life-giving power. Blue turquoise is associated with Father Sky, and green turquoise with Mother Earth. Powdered turquoise accompanies prayer. The DinĂ© or Navajo hold turquoise as one of the four sacred stones (abalone, white shell, turquoise, and black jet). Hunters carried turquoise in their hunts, and warriors carried turquoise to ensure victory and a safe return. A bead of turquoise fastened to a lock of hair is worn as protection from lightning and snakebite. For the Pueblo people, turquoise is the Sky Stone, associated with good fortune and protection for the wearer. Legend has it that when the Native American Indians danced and rejoiced when the rains came, their tears of joy mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become SkyStone Turquoise. Sometimes called the "fallen sky stone" hidden in Mother Earth, Turquoise has been valued by many cultures for its beauty and reputed spiritual and life-giving qualities. 

The necklace to the right is by ErinAustin on Etsy -- view/shop here:

There are stones that medicine men keep in their sacred bundles because they possess powers of healing. Turquoise, especially, is known for its positive healing energy, an aid in mental functions, communications and expression and as a protector. If you're wearing a turquoise ring and you look down and see a crack in your stone, the Native Americans would say "the stone took it", meaning the stone took the blow that you would have received.

These days, it can be tough to find natural, untreated turquoise. There's a great site on the history, science and sourcing of natural turquoise, here:

In the meantime, if you do you homework, there are still many beautiful pieces to be found. I've included a couple of beautiful examples from some great Etsy artisans in this post's photos. Check them out if you get a chance -- and in the meantime,


Until Next Time,






+1 # Ellen W Gonchar 2015-01-08 02:45
Wonderful blog informative...H appy New Year to you as well!
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0 # SrortegoMclaughlin 2015-01-08 03:10
Thank you Ellen!!!!! :-) I'm behind on email so forgive me if I've missed a note from you re our other conversation-- re findings--
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