Turquoise is the gemstone that celebrate the month of December according to the Gregorian Calendar. Found in Africa, Iran, United States, Australia, Siberia, China, Tibet, Brazil, Egypt and Europe, Turquoise is one of the oldest known gemstones whose popularity spanned the globe. Prized as a gemstone for the wearer; providing protection and power as well as bringing good luck.
Turquoise beads dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in Iraq, and the Egyptians were mining the stones in the Sinai in 3200 B.C. The name is derived from the French, pierre turquoise - “Turkish stone” first arriving in Europe with Venetian merchants that had acquired the stones from Turkish bazaars along the old trade routes.
Turquoise has been mined and fashioned by Native Americans for centuries. It was worn by Indian priests in ceremonies when calling upon the gods/spirits of the sky. Apaches believed it aided the warrior or hunter in accurate marksmanship if attached to their weapons. The Zuni, Hopi, Pueblo and Navajo Indians made beautiful necklaces, ear pendants and rings with turquoise. The blue symbolized the Heavens, and green symbolized the Earth. Medicine men also used the stones to work charms. The Navajo believed that turquoise pieces, thrown into a river while offering a prayer to the rain god, would bring much needed rain.
Turkish, Samarkand and Persia horsemen would attached Turquoise to the bridles of their horses as amulets to protect riders from falls. And when battling the Christian Crusaders, Turkish warriors wore Turquoise as a talisman and ornamented their swords to protect themselves and to enhance their bravery.
In Iran, the national gemstone is turquoise, adorning thrones, daggers, sword hilts, horse trappings, bowls, cups, and ornamental objects. Senior officials wore turquoise seals decorated with pearls and rubies. In the 7th century A.D., turquoise pieces inscribed with passages from the Koran and Persian proverbs were valued amulets.
Tibetan Turquoise and Coral adornments.
Turquoise is known as “copper aluminum phosphate,” found primarily in weathered igneous rock that contains copper minerals. The presence of copper gives turquoise its’ sky blue shade (which is the most valued), while iron gives it a greener tone. Other inclusions during formation can be seen in turquoise with brown and ochre hues. It is a soft gemstone and also porous, hence it can be easily discoloured by oil and pigments. Harder, more compact gemstones have the best appearance because the stone can be finely polished.
Turquoise comes in a variety of colours.
Did you know?
- It was believed in ancient times that a change in colour of Turquoise would signify the infidelity of a wife.
- Arabians writing stated that turquoise shines if the air is pure and is dull when the air is polluted. And others believed that the colour reflected the health of the owner.
- That looking at it would strengthened the eyes and placed on an inflamed eye would cure it.
Tip: Be sure to buy your Turquoise from a reputable company as there are a lot of fake gemstones produced to replicate it; Howlite is often dyed as an example and sold as Turquoise.
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