Turquoise is an opaque mineral that has been mined for over thousands of years and is considered one of the oldest gemstones known to man. It was used in ornamental jewelry in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Persians, Aztecs, and the Native Americans. It was prized for its coloring, which can vary. The color can be summarily referred to as Turquoise, but can actually range from a sky blue to a dark green with black blotches. It is one of the few opaque minerals to be held in the same esteem as translucent gems, and has been considered by many cultures to be a provider of well-being and protection.
The ideal shade of Turquoise is "Robin egg blue", and the value lessens as the amount of blue decreases and the green increases. The blue color, however prevalent, comes from the copper within the mineral, whereas the green comes from iron. When fashioning for jewelry, rarely is turquoise faceted, and when done is generally for men’s or Western designs. Although usually polished round in cabochons or beads for jewelry, Turquoise is also set with coral, malachite, sugilite, and howlite in banded designs for displays.
Substances like makeup, perfume, and skin oils can change the color of turquoise. This is due to the acid content contained in both stone and cosmetic. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can damage the soft stone as well. Applying a colorless wax can both harden the stone and make it more resistant to such discolorations, and because of this jewelers have taken up the practice as a safeguard for the gem.
The word Turquoise comes from the French word "turques", which was simply the word for Turkey, as the French were initially of the belief that the mineral had been brought from that country. In reality, Turquoise’s origin was Persia. Even today, "Persian Turquoise" is considered to be the finest quality of Turquoise by many collectors and jewelers.
Compound : Copper, Aluminum
Mohs Scale(Hardness) : 5-7
Found : Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, China, India, Iran, Tibet, U.S.