Shahriyar Zamansani and Farideh Mihan offer pretty Turquoise from the famed Iranian mines.
By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief
Founders of Nanuet, N.Y.–based TopTurquoise Inc. have long roots in the Persian Turquoise industry. Farideh Mihan’s father was a dealer in Iran and instrumental in helping Mihan and her husband, Shahriyar Zamansani, import the legendary gems to the U.S. She was even born in the city of Firouzeh, Khorasan, Iran—Firouzeh translates to Turquoise!
Father encouraged daughter to follow him into the Turquoise business through jewelry design, but she declined, instead studying Persian literature at the University of Isfahan. Mihan ultimately pursued interior design until she and her husband, an international business and marketing executive, had a joint change of heart and decided to open a Turquoise import and jewelry design business.
With Mihan’s knowledge of historic design, she sketched out styles inspired by Persian culture and Old Roman and Byzantine designs, turning to craftsman in Turkey to make high-karat gold jewels. These are set with the Persian Turquoise from her heritage—her father belonged to the Persian (Iranian) Turquoise Society—and family business, as well as select other complementary precious gems. Zamansani, meanwhile, shifted his years of experience to importing Persian Turquoise.
The pair’s first business operated out of California under a different name. In the spring of 2018, they debuted TopTurquoise Inc. from New York state.
Turquoise offered by the company is only from Persia. According to GIA, Iran’s three main Turquoise deposits include the Neyshabur, Kuh Zar, and Meiduk Mines. The Neyshabur mine
is dedicated solely to turquoise production, while Kuh Zar is a gold and copper deposit, and Meiduk is a copper mine. Turquoise is often found in or around copper deposits because the blue-to-green mineral is a hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate found in arid areas.
Persian Turquoise differs from American varieties, according to Mihan, because it has no treatment (save for beads, which are stabilized). Some American Turquoise is stabilized. Persian Turquoise colors also vary, with shades of robin’s egg blue to deep Turquoise. Material is available as rough, in beads, and cut into cabochons with or without matrix. “We also sell high-grade clear and matrix (spider web) old Persian Turquoise,” says Zamansani.
Clients include cutters, jewelry designers and manufacturers, and antique dealers. Buyers include both well-known designers as well as under-the-radar makers of finished jewels whose clients appreciate the memorable shades and silhouettes of TopTurquoise Inc.’s pretty Persian blues.
“I deal with Turquoise because I love it and have a passion for this beautiful blue protective stone that has been worn throughout history by kings and queens,” says Zamansani. “People do not realize that matrix Turquoise (web and line) is the most valuable and beautiful and not the clear blue dark or light color.”
And despite myriad sales—TopTurquoise Inc. has more than 150 active accounts—there are some gems that are hard for even Zamansani to forget—or part with.
The first was a sale to a high-end French brand in 2011. The brand’s team selected a matrix batch of Turquoise cut from 90 kg of rough that Zamansani personally purchased from a mine in Iran. The sale totaled 2.4 kg in loose cabochon cuts that were fashioned into a traditional high dome aesthetic. This occurred at a show in Hong Kong, and the gems were a “beautiful, deep blue,” he recollects.
A second occasion was a transaction of Zamansani’s own. He bought 14 pieces of pure soft clear blue Turquoise cabochons from an Iranian miner who had them as part of a family inheritance.
“I still have part of that stash,” says Zamansani. “The gems were from the 1970s. Each piece of Turquoise is different and has its own beauty, that is what sets it apart from any other stone,” he adds. “In the world of gemstones, Turquoise is still undervalued.”
Fast Facts on TopTurquoise Inc.
Contact: Shahriyar Zamansani and Farideh Mihan
Years in Business: 15 plus
Headquarters: Nanuet, N.Y.
Phone: 917-504 6022
Email: [email protected]
Best Sellers: Natural (no treatment) Persian Turquoise rough, matrix, and loose cabochon-cut gems as well as finished Byzantine-inspired jewelry in 22K–24K gold set with Turquoise
Starting Retail Price for Jewelry: About $500 (rough and cabochons are sold by weight and grade)
AGTA GemFairTM Tucson booth: #3003
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