Everyone knows turquoise. That stunning blue-green is recognised across the world, and it’s prized for its beauty and symbolism…
Turquoise is famed for its stunning blue-green colour. It has a waxy lustre, is always opaque and features spidery veining in most varieties, except for Persian Turquoise.
Different strokes for different folks
Different cultures and regions prize different colours. In the west, people think a stronger blue is more valuable, while in Tibet a greener blue is considered the best. In the US, they covet the spider web pattern, but in the east they prefer vein-free stones.
A foreteller of doom?
In ancient times, turquoise was believed to warn its wearer of danger or illness by changing colour. Now that we know more about the stone, colour changing could have been possible – the stone is naturally porous, so when worn, it could have absorbed oil from the skin and changed colour.
The beauty of turquoise meant it was highly prized by ancient cultures from across the globe - from Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs to the Aztecs, and later the Native American Indians.
Turquoise was introduced to Europe from Persia (Iran) via Turkey in the 16th century. This explains its name, which comes from the French word for ‘Turkish’.
It was also Persia’s national gemstone, and people believed it brought good luck if the new moon was reflected on a stone.
Turquoise is one of the oldest protection amulets, and is believed to give strength and peace to the wearer. Others say it offers sensitivity to the spiritual world for anyone that wears it…
Turquoise is defined scientifically as a hydrous phosphate of copper. Climate plays an important role in its formation, since it’s usually found in arid regions, especially in the cavities and fractures of volcanic rocks.
Turquoise measures 6 on the Mohs scale, so it can withstand daily wear and tear when used in jewellery.
Where in the world ?
For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran, but now it’s also found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Egypt, Mexico and Tanzania. In the US, turquoise has a strong history of association with Native American Indian jewellery – it’s found in places like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.
|| Hydrated copper aluminum phosphate. |
|| Blue, green, blue-green. |
|| R.I. 1.62. |
|| Hardness 5-6 |
|| Triclinic (Massive) |
|| 2.6-2.9. |
|Sources / Occurrence
|| Iran (Persia), Tibet, China, Egypt, southwestern U.S. |
To ensure your jewellery remains as dazzling as the day you buy it, see our guide called Cleaning & Care - How to Keep Your Jewellery in Mint Condition.