top of page

What is Beauty? An Update.

The stories of turquoise unfold before us in a never ending stream. As a historian I no longer finish one story to have it continued by another . Beauty is ineffable and only experienced, never captured in concept. This is an article I wrote about Beauty, the expression of Zat in turquoise. I thought in consideration of the further stream of our lives, our consciousness, our understanding of turquoise it merited an update.

What is beauty? We know but it is difficult to capture in words. For the Navajo it is nizhoni the centerpiece of hozho, balance and harmony. Walking in beauty as part of the balance and harmony of the universe brings health and fulfillment. That is as good a description as I have heard except for the statement by John Keats that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know in life, that is all ye need to know.”


When it comes to describing beauty in turquoise the term zat is often used. Zat in turquoise may be compared to luster in a pearl or brilliance in a diamond, some ineffable quality that captures heart and mind.


Recently I purchased one of the highest grades of turquoise I have ever seen. It is a large cabochon weighing almost 60 carats. High grade is rare, and even more rare to see the highest grade in a large size. The stone is from Red Mountain and is pictured on p. 45 of Turquoise, Jewell of the Southwest.


Looking at the turquoise I feel the beauty, the near mystical quality that comes from a stone that combines the energy of the earth and the sky. For many People turquoise is sacred, at the heart of Creation, and is used in their healing ceremonies. I know I always wear turquoise.


Beauty is felt with the heart and known through the mind. One is purely qualitative, the other mostly quantitative. In analyzing the stone, I use the Turquoise Grading system using the R2 Rules of turquoise grading to determine an alpha/numeric grade. While quantitative there is certainly the influence of subjective bias that will influence a grade. I assigned a TG to this stone of 97.25 or GG Gem Grade. I have only ever twice graded a stone higher, a Bisbee red web graded at 98 and the Chinese turquoise in Danny’s butterfly at 100. When I developed the TGS (turquoise grading system) I was asked why I had not assigned a perfect score to a stone. Well, I imagine there is greater beauty than I have seen and if I went to ten the only place left to go is eleven. I stood by that standard until I saw the turquoise in the jewelry piece described in the Blog, A Migration of a Butterfly.


The true value of beauty is found in feeling, the heart, intuition, faculties that are often found in short supply. When I see this stone, I become lost in the depths of the interaction of the dark reddish matrix, so characteristic of Red Mountain, and the shimmering blue turquoise floating above. There is a nebula found in this tiny stone. I can feel the energy of the stone and accept the healing energy. I feel at peace, balanced, in harmony.


What is beauty?

Mike Ryan II

Santa Fe

February 2024


Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page