Turquoise is an ‘old’ gemstone with a history that dates back thousands of years, and known by many ancient cultures from many different areas of the world including the Americas, China, Tibet, and Pharaonic Egypt where it was used to decorate the funeral mask and tomb of the boy King Tutankhamen.
It was revered by all those ancient cultures not just for its beauty but also its believed special powers such as healing (Tibet) and regeneration (Egypt). It is the traditional birthstone for December but its combined cool colours of blue, like the colour of the sky, and green like the ocean make it the perfect summer gemstone because it compliments all the pastel shades we associate with summer clothing. It is also the only gemstone that has a colour named after it.
The root of that name ‘turquoise’ comes from the French ‘turqueise’ meaning ‘Turkish stone’ and because it was originally transported to Europe from a Turkish nation, the name and colour stuck and continues as the gemstone we recognize as turquoise.
Colours of Turquoise
Turquoise colours are blue and green combined into one colour creating a distinctive sky-blue (also called robin’s egg blue or Persian blue), blue-green, or apple-green colour. Though all are beautiful, the most popular colour is the radiant sky-blue turquoise or the Persian Turquoise, and being the rarest, the most expensive and most desirable.
The stones that have veins, to my mind, are much less appealing or attractive because those veins – black, dark grey or brown whether dense or sparse – detract from that gorgeous blue-green colour. Nonetheless, those veined stones are popular and are often used in Navajo jewellery. Turquoise is also often referred to as a cousin of lapis lazuli and sometimes mistaken for the greener variscite or confused with chrysocolla.
Safe to say then that the turquoise is widely affected in the marketplace either by imitations, whether from mislabelling a lesser stone as a turquoise, or severe treatment to make it appear what it is not, a genuine turquoise. So, a word of caution: only buy from a reputable source or someone you can trust implicitly, e.g. Joe or Monika at LL Private Jewellers because they will recognize the genuine article by its chemical properties, hardness, density, and transparency.
As for jewellery, the turquoise is mostly cut en cabochon for all types of jewellery and compliments all metal colours. It is also 5-6 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
Other Myths both Past and Present associated with Turquoise
Like many other gemstones known by ancient cultures, the turquoise also has a long history of use as an amulet or talisman that would protect the wearer from harm, bring good luck, longevity, and reflect the wearer’s health. In the matter of health the colour was believed to change with it becoming deeper and more vivid if worn by a healthy person whereas on a person of ill health the colour faded.
Today, the turquoise is still believed to hold certain magical powers: facilitating leadership and clear communication; beneficial for travel and careers; alleviating migraines; benefitting the throat, lungs, neck, eyes, ears, and brain; and bringing forth feelings of balance, peace, and harmony. In feng shui the turquoise represents or carries a pure and uplifting water energy; is believed to attract wealth and money; and improve the wearer’s health and well-being.
And for those of you who are interested in the Zodiac calendar, turquoise is the stone for Sagittarius.
Please for more information about turquoise contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.