The gemstone Turquoise has been highly prized since Egyptian times and its name means “Turkish Stone” as it was imported to Europe via Turkey. The colour of this historic gemstone ranges from a greenish blue to a beautiful, striking sky blue and is one of several instances where the name of a colour is derived from the name of a gemstone.
It is interesting to note that in order for it to be deemed Turquoise it has to be of the highest quality. When Turquoise is mined it can often have traces of chrome or iron set deep within it and it is these elements which give the gemstone its unique colour.
If Turquoise has definite visible patterns viewable to the naked eye these are known as “Turquoise Matrix”. The patterns are caused by differing elements running through veins and, more often than not, are brown, grey or even black depending on the area the gem was mined. As the gem is opaque, it is rarely faceted and is usually cabochon cut or made into beads.
Turquoise is said to have been mined more than 6000 years ago in Sinai. In Persian times people would adorn themselves with Turquoise, usually around the neck or on the wrist, as it was believed the stone would prevent fatalities.
It has long been thought to be a holystone bringing the wearer good fortune and a prosperous life: even today Turquoise is thought to clear the mind and cheer people up. Its colourful blues denote a sense of wellbeing and spiritual harmony. Turquoise often gets given as a gift to a loved one or dear friend and as it is one of the birthstones for December, it makes an ideal Christmas present!
Because Turquoise is porous, when wearing a piece it is important to avoid contact with any chemical liquids. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that any item of Turquoise should only be put on after showering or applying make-up. It should ideally also be kept away from heat and intense light.
Deposits are found in a number of places around the globe; these include America, Mexico, Iran, Israel, China and Afghanistan.