Turquoise: Special feature of Flagstaff gemstone and bead store

wall display of turquoise strands
A wall display of turquoise strands showed the range of shades.

What does a Native-American style flute maker from the Southeast do when she sees a store outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, with a “Beads” sign?

She stops and goes into the store.

Dave’s Beads & More was a great bead store to visit, as it had beads and, as the store name indicates, so much more.

When I walked into the store, I was immediately captured by a full wall of “Real” Turquoise strands. The many shades of turquoise were amazing – from pale green to bright blue.

Linda showing turquoise necklace
Linda showed me different kinds of turquoise.

Linda, who worked in the store, was very helpful in explaining the different kinds of turquoise. She showed me containers of turquoise from several different mines. Two kinds of turquoise, named from the mines they came from, caught my eye – Sleeping Beauty turquoise and Kingman turquoise.

I purchased small pieces of both kinds of turquoise and also even smaller pieces that I could crush and include as decoration for some of the wooden flutes I make.

Turquoise is an important gemstone in the Native American culture. The Navajo tribe considered turquoise to represent health, happiness and luck. They created turquoise jewelry that was used only for ceremonies and religious rituals.

To those who use gemstones and colors in healing and meditation, turquoise relates to the throat chakra. The turquoise color of blue is connected with communication and self-expression.

container with large pieces of turquoise
Containers hold large pieces of turquoise, with each container labeled with the turquoise type or mine it came from.

Linda also told me to beware of “turquoise” that actually is howlite. Howlite is a white gemstone with black or grey veins that can be colored to look like turquoise.

I have been fascinated by gemstones since I was a kid. On family vacations, I’d collect interesting rocks and would save my allowance to purchase a few special gems if we visited a “rock shop.” I had a rock tumbler that I received as a birthday present and often would have rocks tumbling in the basement.

How great that I can now combine my childhood fascination with gemstones with my creation of wooden musical instruments.


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