native american jewelries

‘Absolute Couture’ - Model: Carolyn Murphy | Designer: Christian Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano FW 1998/99 | Photographer: Steven Meisel | Fashion Editor: Grace Coddington | Make-up: Pat McGrath (Vogue October 1998)

So I’m at this science conference dine-about thing making small talk with strangers, when this guy asks me if I’m married, indicating the ring I’m twisting on my finger.

So I’m like (???) “Oh, no,“ (always a dangerous answer to give in these types of situations) and then wave my ring to show it’s not fancy. “It’s just turquoise.”

And then he goes, “What’s turquoise?”

And I just sort of stare at him. Stare at my ring. Stare at him. "The rock?”

And he’s just like, “Oh, haha, I don’t really know anything about that. It’s a gemstone?”

And I’m still just kind of bewildered, because on the one hand I feel like turquoise is a concept I’m pretty solid on, but on the other hand I am currently being asked to explain turquoise and, like. I don’t know. The rock is visible on my finger. This dude is not really indicating any comprehension and yet somehow I suspect he is not looking for some kind of mineral chemical analysis. My okra is getting cold. I’m not really sure where to go with the conversation from here.

(I am strongly reminded of many, many conversations in which people that clearly had no interest in books engaged me in stilted conversations about the intricate mysteries of books. "So, I see you’ve got a *book* there. I guess you like Books. Does it have Book things in it? That sure is a Book.”)

I make an attempt. “No, it’s a semi-precious stone. It’s…“ I scramble for an explanation– ”…turquoise colored.” I briefly consider describing what turquoise looks like in more detail, decide that is crazy, and just kind of vaguely indicate my hand again. “Turquoise?”

The attempt is, perhaps not surprisingly, unsuccessful. We contemplate each other in mutual bewilderment.

Finally, scrounging through my shallow repertoire of Possible Turquoise Facts of Interest I add, “It’s used in a lot of southern and Native American jewelry.”

“Oh, neat,” he says, sounding vastly relieved to be offered any form of trivia to politely exit this conversational quagmire on. We change the topic and manage not to alarm each other further for the rest of the evening.

im all for women being the protagonist in stories, but can we have a variation in personality?? “yeah my name is rebel girl 573, im skinny, white, cis, hetero, and i yell at guys because im a strong independent woman, but ill still obtain a male love interest by the end of all this because of the blatant heteronormativity in media”


Rings and bracelets from the Glittering World exhibition of jewelry by Lee A. Yazzie (photos 1, 4, 5, and 8) and his son, Raymond C. Yazzie (photos 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, and 10). From top:

  1. Black turquoise corn bracelet set with coral, opal, and gold
  2. Gold and opal ring with coral, lapis lazuli, jade, and turquoise inlay
  3. Coral cuff with opal, sugilite, lapis lazuli, and turquoise inlay
  4. Gold and lapis lazuli bracelet
  5. Coral corn bracelet
  6. Gold, turquoise, and coral ring with sugilite and opal inlay
  7. Silver, coral, and turquoise cuff with opal, lapis lazuli, and gold inlay
  8. Turquoise and gold ring
  9. Silver cuff inlaid with coral, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and gold
  10. Turquoise Blessings bracelet

More corn-related posts here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.