GEMSTONE INFORMATION - TURQUOISE

Agate    Turquoise

Turquoise is a copper aluminium phosphate, forming in a range of colours from sky blue to green grey.   The brighter blue colour is due to a higher quantity of copper, while iron gives a more green hue. Brown and black veins in the stone can occur during its formation, caused by inclusions of rock fragments close by or from oxide staining. These patterns in the turquoise are known as matrix.   Turquoise is a valuable mineral, and possibly the most valuable opaque mineral in the jewellery trade, the best quality being a pure, sky blue, with or without its matrix. Turquoise has a hardness of 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs' scale of hardness so care should be taken with the stone.

Turquoise formation depends on the unpredictability of nature.   It relies on weathering and the ingredients of the earth’s crust for its formation. Turquoise is only found in or near copper deposits and is often found in weathered igneous rock that contains copper minerals.

Turquoise deposits can be found in Iran, from where the most beautiful turquoise comes, Kazakhstan, China, Australia, Tibet, China, Mexico, Brazil and Egypt. The states of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and California are also producers of light coloured turquoise.

The name turquoise comes from the old French word turquoise meaning "Turkish Stone" as turquoise originally found its way to Europe from Persia (Iran) via Turkey.

Turquoise is one of the world’s earliest used gemstones and has been revered for thousands of years. It is also one of the first known stones to be used in jewellery and was worn by Pharaohs of early Egypt. In Iran, turquoise was the national gemstone decorating thrones, daggers, swords, bowls, cups and senior officials wore turquoise seals decorated with pearls and rubies. The Incas crafted beads and figurines out of it, and the Aztecs in Mexico made pendants and decorated their ceremonial masks with the stone. Turquoise also has a rich history in the American southwest, with Native Americans using the stone to create stunning jewellery and ornaments for around 3000 years.

At all times, throughout the world, turquoises have been worn as natural protection against the powers of darkness. In early times, they preserved a horse and rider from unexpected falls and in modern times, turquoise is regarded as the protective stone of pilots, aircrews and any other people who have a high level of risk in their work. Turquoise is often given as a stone of friendship and affection, as it is said to be responsible for faithfulness and consistency in relationships.

Turquoise is the birthstone for December and for the zodiac sign of Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21). It is can also be given as a gift to celebrate the 5th and 11th wedding anniversary.

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