The best way to describe turquoise is as sky-blue to green and as an opaque aluminum phosphate that is very unique and contains copper. Turquoise has also been prized as a gemstone for numerous centuries.
It is the distinctive sky blue, blue-green and apple-green color that best represents this gem. Also, turquoise has a waxy to matte luster and a hardness of 5 to 6 on the MOHS scale.
The name comes from the French word “turquieise” which means “Turkish stone” because the Turks were the first to introduce this gem to Europe. Another mentionable fact is that the color turquoise was named after this unique gemstone.
Used by the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs for jewelry and a decorative stone, turquoise was put in King Tutankhamun’s burial mask and tomb. Ancient Egyptians used it and believed that the color blue was symbolic of regeneration.
Mesoamericans and Chinese fashioned turquoise into ornaments, works of art and jewelry as well as items that they believed had protective properties. The Tibetans have valued it for centuries strongly believing in its healing properties.
The origins of turquoise are numerous with deposits found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, China, Israel, Tanzania and the USA. However, the best quality turquoise is located in Northeastern Iran.
Turquoise has a unique presence and is available in many hues. Even though it is sometimes treated with polymers, wax or plastic in order to enhance its color and harden its surface, this gem is used in many jewelry pieces such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings.