Fossilized Turquoise | Necklaces By Charles Loloma & Raymond Yazzie

Turquoise, a gemstone with a rich history, has been mined across six continents and holds significant cultural value, particularly in Native American cultures. In the Southwest, where dozens of mines are found in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, this mining continues, with roughly five active mines remaining today.

Below are two necklaces by Master American Indian jewelers Charles Loloma (Hopi B.1921-1991) and Raymond Yazzie (Navajo B.1959). These two necklaces feature a rare turquoise fossil. This turquoise stands out from other turquoise because it uniquely formed in a crinoid stem segments. When it was forming, the turquoise eroded and replaced the calcite, which formed these fossils. A crinoid is a long-stem seafloor animal comprising hundreds of segments. Both necklaces used Lone Mountain turquoise Fossils.

These Lone Mountain fossils are from around 298.9 million years ago to 323.2 million years ago during the Pennsylvanian Period. After years of erosion and constant changes, they formed from calcite and transitioned naturally
to turquoise. It is rare for turquoise to form around a fossil instead of a host rock; today, it is scarce, and you would be lucky to collect enough fossils to build necklaces like these again.

Raymond Yazzie’s masterpiece is an exquisite necklace that showcases his exceptional craftsmanship and the unique features of Lone Mountain Fossil Turquoise. The necklace features rare fossilized Lone Mountain turquoise and gold inlaid beads. The fossilized turquoise is a unique formation where the turquoise is a testament to the rarity and beauty of this gemstone. Raymond’s meticulous inlay work, including two gold beads with opal, fossil turquoise, coral, and lapis, adds accent color to the deep blue-green fossil necklace, making it a one-of-a-kind piece that truly stands out.

In 1985, the celebrated artist Charles Loloma handcrafted a necklace widely regarded as one of his most significant creations. The necklace features this precious stone, which is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Notably, the Lone Mountain Fossil Turquoise is a unique specimen highly valued for its distinctive characteristics, such as its rich texture and color. This is a remarkable example of this particular type of turquoise’s beauty and rarity, making it a crown jewel of any collection. Owning a piece of jewelry that features this exquisite stone is a testament to its owner’s appreciation of the finest craftsmanship and the natural world’s beauty. As such, the Lone Mountain Fossil Turquoise necklace is a remarkable work of art that embodies the pinnacle of artistic expression and expert craftsmanship. This necklace is accented with gold tufa cast beads and lapis stones.