the official birthstone for December as adopted by the American
National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and the Planetary stone
for Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. Turquoise is suggested as
a gem to give on the 5th and 11th wedding anniversaries.
Turquoise is 5 - 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Turquoise has
been mined by early Egyptians since at least 6000 BC. The finest
Turquoise comes from Iran but is challenged by some southwestern
United States specimens. Besides Iran, Turquoise can be found in
Australia, Afghanistan and other localities in the Middle East.
The Aztecs mined Turquoise in an area now known as New Mexico
significant amount of Turquoise comes from Arizona, California
and Nevada in the United States. Turquoise, or the robin's egg
blue gemstone worn by Pharaohs and Aztec Kings, is probably one
of the oldest gemstones known. Yet, only its prized blue color,
a color so distinctive that its name is used to describe any
color that resembles it, results in its being used as a
gemstone. Turquoise has been, since about 200 B.C., extensively
used by both southwestern U.S Native Americans and by many of
the Indian tribes in Mexico. The Native American Jewelry or
"Indian style" jewelry is turquoise mounted in or with silver is
relatively new. Some believe this style of Jewelry was unknown
prior to about 1880, when a white trader persuaded a Navajo
craftsman to make turquoise and silver jewelry using coin
silver. Prior to this time, the Native Americans had made solid
turquoise beads, carvings, and inlaid mosaics.
Click here for a picture in natural form.
Click here for more faceted and natural specimens.
The color is, of course, turquoise, but this color actually
varies from very green blue to light sky blue shades. The color
can change with exposure to skin oils if the stone has not been
stabilized and therefore, jewelry should be wiped clean to deter
this. The name "Persian Turquoise" is now generally used to
refer to any turquoise stone that does not have the black or
brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United
States and used in a style of jewelry created by the American
Indians. Turquoise gets its name from the French translated as
"stone of Turkey". Another possibility could be the name came
from the French description of the gemstone, "pierre turquin&q
meaning "dark blue stone". The name Turquoise is apparently
related to the fact that is was brought to Europe from the
Eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders, more commonly known
The formula for Turquoise is CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8*5(H2O),
Hydrated Copper Aluminum Phosphate. Most specimens are
cryptocrystalline, meaning that the crystals can only be seen by
a microscope. Chemically, a hydrated phosphate of copper and
aluminum, turquoise is formed by the percolation of meteoric
material or groundwater through aluminous rock in the presence
of copper. For this reason, it is often associated with copper
deposits as a secondary mineral, most often in copper deposits
in arid, semiarid, or desert environments.
Legends, Myths and Healing
sacred stone for the North American Indians as well as the
Tibetans, it is often used by shamans in rituals and ceremonies.
Many Native Americans carved it into the shape of animals and
birds. These carvings were placed in the Indians tombs to
attract beneficial spirits and to guard the dead. Turquoise was
also used by medicine men for healing and by warriors who fixed
turquoise to the end of their bows to insure accurate shots. It
is said to promote mental and spiritual clarity and expansion
and to enhance wisdom, trust, kindness and understanding.
Turquoise attracts money, success and love. Its powers include
protection, healing, courage, friendship, and luck. It is also
said to relax the mind, and ease mental tension.