For thousands of years the ancient Persians exported Turquoise to the world, it was hugely popular and to this day demand is still massive, so huge is this demand that a worldwide industry has developed not just to mine it, but to imitate and reproduce it as well.
The Turquoise Gemstone is the official stone for December and is also used to celebrate five years of marriage. Originally Persia (Iran) was the most important source of Turquoise but is now virtually mined out; good sources of the stone are Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Mexico, Russia, Tanzania and Turkestan. The very best material at the moment comes from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona.
The color of Turquoise can range from a deep blue to blue/green a dark greeny blue to a yellowy green. Impurities present in the Gemstone give the Turquoise it’s coloring, copper is responsible for it’s blue toning while iron gives the stone a green tint.
Persian Turquoise was less porous than most material mined today so was less treatable meaning you purchased natural, untreated Gemstones. Turquoise from the Sleeping Beauty mines are however very porous and are often soaked in a resin or coated with wax to stop the material from crumbling, as well as improving it’s overall look and coloring, this treatment is known as stabilized Turquoise.
Dyeing or staining Turquoise is another way to improve the materials color, oil, paraffin and copper salt will improve the stones color and luster but are only temporary solutions, treatments of this kind result in what is known as enhanced Turquoise.
Natural Turquoise can be quite expensive and it is for this reason many different imitations exist on the market today. Glass imitation Turquoise has been around since Victorian times and can be hard to distinguish from natural Turquoise, sometimes you can get lucky and see air bubbles near the surface which can give it away. Enamel has also been used to imitate Turquoise but has a much greater luster than the original material.
The Turquoise Gemstone has long been believed to be a magical stone that connects spiritual awareness and develops inner strength and calm. Turquoise has always been worn as a natural protection against the powers of darkness, even now it is used as the protective stone of pilots and air crews and many other occupations deemed as high risk.
The North American Indians still produce a great deal of traditional silver jewelry using Turquoise, and believe that the Gemstone opens up a connection between the sky and the sea.
The Navajo Indians have had a long love affair with turquoise or skystone as they refer to the gem, believing that wearing the stone offers them good fortune. Some spiritual ceremonies are held where turquoise is cast into a river to help bring rainwater to their lands. Ancient manuscripts from Persia report that the health of a person wearing Turquoise can be assessed by the variations in the color of the stone. It is also believed Turquoise heals the emotions and enhances communication and creativity.
Turquoise is the national Gemstone of Iran (Persia) and is used for the decoration of thrones. Montezuma’s treasure, which is on display in the British Museum, includes a wonderful carved serpent that is covered by a mosaic of Turquoise.
Turquoise has a hardness of 5-6 on the Moh scale, with a conchoidal fracture that means it is a fragile stone that can crumble, and scratch very easily. Unlike other Gemstones, Turquoise can darken and turn slightly green with age. Because of it’s porosity the stone can lose it’s color if it comes into contact with detergents, grease or perspiration.
If you wear a Turquoise ring, it should always be removed before washing your hands and perspiration should be cleaned off gently with water.
Turquoise Jewelry should always be stored in a cool, dark box in acid free tissue paper, away from other Jewelry that may cause it damage.