History of Turquoise Rings

Rings have had a mystical and symbolic meaning throughout history and many different cultures. The circular shape has represented the cycle of life and eternal love. The custom of giving rings to one another date back over 6,000 years ago. Giving turquoise rings as a gift is thought to bestow good fortune and prosperity. Rings have long been a popular and a prized piece of jewelry to wear for Native Americans who are known to wear many turquoise rings on each hand. Early Native rings were made from natural materials such as wood, shell, stone and bone. The styles were plain, simple bands. With the introduction of metalsmithing by Europeans, the earliest metal rings were made from brass, copper, iron and silver. These metal rings were simple and decorated by engraving or carving. By 1890, metalsmithing skills had increased adding additional elements of appliqué or cluster work and bezel settings for stones. The bezel setting of stones soon became the hallmark of the Southwest Indian-made ring.  

The Native Indian-made rings became quite popular with tourists, other Indian tribes and collectors. The rings were inexpensive and there was a wide variation of styles between the artists. And, of course, most people wore more than one ring.

Since the 1970’s, a demand for high-quality Indian-made rings has steadily increased. Native Indian silversmiths are not only using silver but gold as well. Some of the Indian silversmiths are also setting exotic and unusual gemstones in their rings creating beautiful fine art pieces.

Navajo silversmiths usually make cabochon set turquoise rings and more modernly turquoise inlay rings. These bezel setting rings can be simple split-shank or adorned with hand stamped design, appliqué or repousse work. Some of our favorites are the inlay turquoise band rings and turquoise bands we carry make great turquoise wedding bands and turquoise engagement rings.

The Zuni Indians are well known for the lapidary work and fine stone cutting abilities. They traditionally work with turquoise, coral, jet and mother of pearl. Zuni silversmiths are known for their petite point, needlepoint and inlaid turquoise rings.

Most of our silver and turquoise rings will have a hallmark. A hallmark is where the artist has signed the jewelry in which they wished to be recognized for the work. An artist can use an engraver or a stamp to sign the jewelry. The artist's hallmark can vary from initials, the full name to pictographs. Once the stone is set the artist cannot go back and stamp his hallmark in a turquoise ring unless he has an engraver or removes the stone.

We recommend caring for your turquoise rings by not exposing to soaps, lotions or household cleaning products to preserve the color and beauty. You should not wear your turquoise and sterling silver rings when you are doing labor or work in which the stone might get hit or scratched. If you purchase a genuine turquoise ring from us we will gladly have this repaired for you. When selecting a handmade turquoise ring for yourself or for someone as a gift; find that special turquoise gem that has character and speaks to you.

Our rings are grouped by sizes for your convenience. We have a jewelry sizing guide to help you find your size and a ring size chart to measure existing turquoise rings. We also have an international ring size chart for our customers.


Southwest Silver Gallery offers the finest in turquoise jewelry.  You will be pleased to wear and give gifts of our turquoise jewelry.