Twelve Facts about Turquoise

Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 in Gemstones, Informational.

  1. Not only is turquoise the designated birthstone for the month of December (along with zircon and tanzanite), it is also the recognized celebratory gemstone for the 11th wedding anniversary.
  2. Turquoise is one of the world’s oldest gemstones and has been used in jewelry for thousands of years.
  3. Old Europeans credited turquoise with helping achieve a higher state of consciousness.
  4. Tibetans revered the gemstone as a talisman of good fortune. To this day, turquoise remains to be the most prized gemstone in Tibet.
  5. The gemstone is known for its intense blue-green color and can be found in various shades of blue. The finest color is an intense blue that is uniform throughout the gem.
  6. Many people think that turquoise was named after its color when in fact, this isn’t the case. The name turquoise comes from the French word for Turkey since the early belief was that the mineral originated in that country.
  7. The most valuable turquoise gemstones can be found in Northeast Iran. Other notable deposits can be found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania, and the United States.
  8. Turquoise is sacred to many Native Americans. In the past, Native Americans would use it as a shaman’s stone, which were stones believed to have strong metaphysical properties for spiritual growth.
  9. In the ancient Persian Empire, turquoise was worn around the neck or wrist to help protect one’s self from unnatural death.
  10. Turquoise is formed when water enters an iron-rich limonite or sandstone that contains copper, aluminum and other minerals. It takes millions of years and the right conditions for turquoise to be formed. The gemstone’s blue color can be attributed to the presence of copper while the presence of aluminum adds a greenish hue to the gem.
  11. Turquoise may contain narrow vein-like markings of its host rock. These markings are known as the matrix. Limonite creates a dark brown marking while sandstone creates tan markings. The presence of a matrix can lower the value of a turquoise.
  12. With a rating between 5 and 6, turquoise should be handled carefully and stored separately from other harder gemstones.