Backing is material on the back of cut turquoise to provide support. It is an ethical practice, as long as it is only enough do the job. It adds weight to the cabochon, and cabochons are generally sold by weight.
Cabochon is a gem or bead cut in convex form. The two styles of cabochons are geometric (cut to a specific shape like an oval or a square) and baroque (free form style having no define geometric shape). In the turquoise trade, “Cabochon” abbreviation is “Cab”.
Chalk is soft or porous grades of turquoise that must have a treatment before they can be used as gemstones.
Channel Work is a number of silver frames that construct a configuration in which to place cut stones. A silversmith cuts each individual stone to fit each frame, cements the stone into place, and then grinds and polishes the entire surface.
Coin Silver is silver from old coins that silversmiths melt for jewelry. Early Indian work use U.S. and later Mexican high-silver coins as primary sources of metal.
Concho is a large piece of silver in round or oval shape with scallop edges. Usually conchos are on a leather belt and frequently exhibit a cut stone in the center of each piece.
Ketoh is a silver and leather wrist guard, which may have turquoise or other stones set in silver bezels. It is one of the earliest uses of silver by Southwestern Indians.
Naja is the “horseshoe” at the base of a squashblossom necklace. This crescent moon-shape silver pendant frequently has turquoise. The Moors use this form as an amulet to ward off the evil eye. Later, the Spanish bring it to the New World as an ornament on their bridles, where the Indians adopt it in their jewelry making.
Needlepoint are stones, usually small, that have fine points on both ends and set in individual bezels. These stones are usually close together in geometric patterns.
Old Pawn or Dead Pawn is jewelry that Indians pawn at the nearby trading post when they need money or supplies. The jewelry that the person abandons is “dead “pawn”.
Sandcast is one of the most difficult of all silversmith techniques. Sandcasting is pouring liquid metal into carve tufa or pumice mold. After cooling, the silversmith takes out the piece, files it, and polishes it. Bracelets are normally cast flat and later the silversmith pounds it into shape.
Spiderweb turquoise has a matrix pattern looking like the tiny web of a spider. These thin lines may be any color but dark, especially black, and turquoise enthusiasts currently consider these pieces to be of the most value.
Variscite is a hydrated aluminum phosphate mineral (AlPO4·2H2O). It is a relatively rare phosphate mineral. People sometimes mistake variscite for turquoise; however, variscite is usually greener in color. Variscite is a secondary mineral which forms by direct deposition from phosphate-bearing water that reacts with aluminum-rich rocks in a near-surface environment. It occurs as fine-grained masses in nodules, cavity fillings, and crusts. Most of the Nevada variscite of recent decades comes from mines located in Lander County.
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