Steeped in history, myths and even magic, theturquoise is a blue-green gemstone prized by different cultures for thousands of years, all the way back to the Egyptians. The gemstone remains popular today, with thousands of tons of stone mined each year for use injewelry. It is often set in rings or cut into beads and used for bracelets and necklaces, alongside gold and silver.
Many books have been published on turquoise, covering its history and place in culture, including the remarkable Sky Blue Stone: The Turquoise Trade in World History (2014) by Arash Khazeni. In this book, Khazeni notes that "the blue of turquoise, according to the Javahirnama, made it a celestial earth, an amulet of victory, as well as a natural healing substance and medicine for the eyes." Turquoise is a "strengthening stone" and throughout history it has been revered as a talisman for kings, shamans and warriors. In his book, Khazeni describes how New Mexico became "turquoise country" after the discovery of mineral veins in the Burro Mountains and, notably, in the Azure Mine.
The ancient Egyptians mined turquoise from the Sinai Peninsula over 7,000 years ago and since then its popularity has grown steadily for its use not only in jewelry but also as a decorative adornment, for art and as a gemstone used for spiritual healing. It is one of the most popular stones in the world.
How to identify turquoiseTurquoise is a very distinct stone thanks to its striking blue-green color, which is often interrupted by flecks of yellow or brown depending on the quality of the stone. In its raw form, turquoise can be difficult to identify because, at first glance, it appears to be a mottled rock of brown, yellow and gray. However, if you look very closely, you'll notice vibrant flecks of blue or green seeping through the surface.
It is when buying polished turquoise gemstones that the real identity crisis begins. According to research, over 90% of the turquoises on the market are dyed howlites. Howlite is a highly absorbent veined white stone that can be easily tinted to replicate turquoise, as well as create vibrantly colored turquoise lookalikes, which is why you need to be extremely careful when buying turquoise. First, look at the appearance of the stone to check that the color is not too uniform. The color of turquoise varies more than that of other popular gemstones. Typically, even in jewelry, true turquoise appears as a mixture of blue, green, light and dark gray, and even yellow tones. Turquoise is not uniform. It's also a tough stone, which means it shouldn't scratch easily and the color shouldn't come off.
The different colors and types of turquoiseAlthough stones of brilliant blue and consistent color are the preferred and most desirable type of turquoise, they are rare and, therefore, their price is very high. Often the most popular shade of blue is called robin blue or sky blue. However, after blue, the most sought-after color is a blue-green shade, while stones with brown and yellow accents are less popular. It is the deposits of iron, rather than aluminum, that give turquoise a darker color with yellow and brown flecks.
High matrix (or veining) turquoises are generally less sought after by manufacturers and consumers, which is why many manufacturers try to cut the turquoise in such a way that the veining is not present in the finished stone. However, some like to see the matrix, which is often present as gray or black veins.
In addition to being categorized based on its color appeal, turquoise, and especially turquoise of American origin, is given a name determined by its unique characteristics. For example, Ajax Turquoise, mined from the Ajax Mine in Nevada, is light blue with dark blue veins and often has flecks of emerald green and brown. Similarly, Black Window Turquoise, also mined in northeast Nevada, is more light green or mint in color and has spider web-like veins that are dark gray or black in color.
Turquoise varies from mine to mine. There are hundreds of types of turquoise in the world.
Where do you find turquoise?You can find turquoise in dry climate regions around the world, including the United States, Mexico, Iran, Chile, China, and Tibet. The appearance of the stone often varies from mine to mine, so the consistency of turquoise is rare. Some of the most famous turquoise mines are in New Mexico, including the Little Chalchihuitl mine in Los Cerrillos. The turquoise found at Little Chalchihuitl is known for its light green-blue color and often has a gray or brown matrix. Next, Nevada is a hotspot for turquoise mining, with many well-known sites including the Ajax Mine and the Royston Turquoise Mine, both of which produce turquoise ranging from light blue to emerald green with flecks distinct browns. Other hotspots include Hubei in China, which is the country's main source of turquoise.
Healing properties of turquoiseIt is, among other things, the healing properties of turquoise that make it so popular around the world, today as it was thousands of years ago. Turquoise is a "strengthening stone" and is considered a good all-round healer. The gemstone helps reduce symptoms of exhaustion and depression and boosts the immune system to keep you fit. It is also an anti-inflammatory, which is one of the many reasons why it has become an essential for ancient wounded warriors. Emotionally, turquoise helps balance your mood and encourages peace and calm, as well as forgiveness and self-acceptance.
Besides being an incredibly beautiful gemstone, turquoise is extremely powerful both physically and mentally. When buying turquoise, including turquoise jewelry, always make sure you are buying the real stone. Add turquoise to your life to boost your confidence and increase your happiness.