Turquoise has a deep relationship with the American Southwest and so much more. When one thinks turquoise, beyond the color used to describe pristine ocean waters, there is the stone. This conjures up a blue speckled stone, set in silver, and adorned on tribal jewelry sets quickly appears. The beaded chokers mixed with bone and shell, to the fringe earrings, turquoise has a real connection with a region dedicated to preserving the spiritual side of America. However, it should be known this precious stone has a history and an origin that breaks these borders and dates so far back; turquoise could be dubbed the oldest gemstone known to man. With such a wealth of history and broad origins, turquoise is a gemstone worth celebrating and loving.
Turquoise and the month of December
Turquoise is celebrated as the birthstone of December. With its healing powers, the ancient gemstone gained reputation for warding off evil and protecting those that wear the stone. These attributes certainly fall in line with the astrological sign for most of December, Sagittarius. This star sign is known as a positive force, much like the birthstone for the month. Even more, the pale blue colors make for an attractive accent to any wintertime wardrobe.
The Ancient Origins of Turquoise
Mined in many parts of the world, turquoise has origins in ancient culture. From the Native American tribes to the Persian Empire, ancient relics have been exhumed from China and Egypt giving insight to precious history. Blue held a direct association with the notion of rebirth to the ancient Egyptians; therefore turquoise was often used in burials. Notably, King Tutankhamen was laid to rest, shielded by a burial mask adorned with turquoise. Even more, art and jewelry have been found from both Mesoamerica and China revealing a long history of importance.
Some believe turquoise was first introduced to Europe along the Silk Road, which travels through Turkey, hence giving the name we know today. Turquoise is literally a translation from French for “Turkish Stone”, perhaps not a name that fully encompasses the origins, but certainly tells a story. Today, high quality turquoise is mined in many parts of the United States, such as Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and California. However, Iran takes the cake for the highest quality. Even so, many countries such as Brazil, Mexico and China to name a few have supported the ever-growing demand.
Back to the Basics
Turquoise takes millions of years to form. It’s a slow cycle of water running along rock. As the water percolates through, ever so slowly, overtime the stone is formed when copper; aluminum and sometimes zinc are present. The copper causes the famous turquoise color, blue while other minerals will cause greens and yellows mixed into the famous blue color. Furthermore, the dark veins or speckles found in turquoise are very common and are referred to as matrix. To
find a turquoise stone without matrix is quite rare, but not unheard of. Needless to say, a rare deep blue turquoise stone free of matrix is highly sought after and extremely valuable.
The good news is turquoise can be found on many affordable pieces of jewelry, making it a favorite stone for many. The blue color makes any average earring or bracelet standout with an enchanting appeal. Turquoise carries a direct connection with physical healing as well. Therefore a well-made necklace or headband can offer more than a fashion statement. As the reputation goes, turquoise can relieve one from migraines, and influence good health among the lungs, eyes, throat, ears and brain.
Taking Care of Your Turquoise
On the Mohs hardness scale turquoise is between a 5 to 6, making it on the softer side. In general there is some care and attention needed to keep the stone’s quality. Even though the collections these stones are set on tend to be worn daily, a few simple steps will maintain the color and longevity. Since turquoise is a porous material, exposure to liquids, heat, perfume and oils will affect the color. By simply avoiding overexposure to sunlight and moist substances you will ensure a longer life.