Turquoise is a semi-precious gemstone frequently incorporated into some of the most modern, beautiful handmade jewelry in the world. It is most often found in blue and turquoise hues, and is widely recognized as the December birthstone as well as the 11th anniversary gemstone.
But beyond its modern-day uses and associations, turquoise holds a decadent mythological, spiritual and etymological history that adds nostalgic value to its already strong aesthetic worth. Read on for more information that will help you fall in love with your turquoise jewelry – or inspire you to buy some today!
Turquoise can range from grey to green to blue and yellows, often veined by the brown matrix with varying textures, and is only found in dry, barren regions. As a far back as 6000 years ago, this stone is one of the oldest to be used by man, for both jewelry and ornamental purposes. Around 5500 BC, the ancient Egyptians found turquoise in the Sinai Peninsula. Around 1900, Queen Zer’s tomb was unearthed and she was found wearing a turquoise and gold bracelet around her wrist.
Turquoise is said to bring luck and fortune to the wearer, and a feeling of calmness with its cool color tones, in addition to wisdom, and is often popular in Southwest, Native American, and Egyptian jewelry designs.
Turquoise gemstones look best as parts of formal evening jewelry when paired with black onyx, pearls or sterling silver. More casual combinations include softer contrasts with black pearls, carnelian and ruby.
Turquoise is typically considered a sophisticated gemstone that works well with any outfit. In earrings, citrine works well to enhance the luster of hazel eyes.
Chinese Turquoise comes in both green and blue colors, with many subtle color variations throughout the stone, and has spider web (matrix) veining. There are four to five regions in China where they are mined. The Ma’ashan turquoise mine is located near Shanghai, in addition to the Hubei Province, just to name a few.
As far back as approximately 1700 BC, Turquoise was used in China mainly for ornamental carvings and other artistic purposes. In Beijing, at the Academy of Social Sciences, there is a bronze and turquoise plaque on display which is thought to be from that era.
Chinese turquoise is almost always stabilized, and will not be as likely to be affected by lotions or perfumes when it is worn, protecting the color of the turquoise from outside elements.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise comes from the Sleeping Beauty Mountain in Globe, Arizona, which is one of the largest mines as to date. Sleeping beauty comes in many hues of light to dark blue. Turquoise is mainly found in the US, Australia, Chile, Mexico, and historically, Iran.
Mohs’ Hardness score is based on a 10 point scale where 10 is the most resistant, like a diamond, and 1 is easily scratched, such as Talc. Turquoise gets a score of 5-6, meaning that it is fairly scratch resistant and therefore suitable as a component of everyday jewelry. Turquoise gemstones should be regularly cleaned by a professional or with a soft rag and mild soap and water. Other methods, including ultra-sonic clenares, solvents and harsh chemicals should be avoided when cleaning your handcrafted jewelry as exposure to these elements can damage semi-precious and precious gemstones and pearls.
Learn more about all semi-precious gemstones, including amethyst, apatite, black onyx, blue topaz, carnelian, chalcedony, citrine, coral, garnet, white topaz, crystal, diamond, emerald, iolite, jade, Labradorite, moonstone, pearl, peridot, prehnite, rose quarz, ruby, sapphire, smokey topaz, tanzanite, tourmaline and tourquoise when you check out this gemstone chart: