Stone of the ancients, sea-green in color, Turquoise has a very long and fascinating history. Its name comes from the French “Turkish stone” (pierre turquoise). The Central Asian Turquoise was traded with Venetian traders in Turkish bazaars, and Turkey was its principal entry point into Europe. 5000 B.C. Turquoise pieces found in Iraq are relics of ancient beads. Egypt extracted it from Sinai around 3200 B.C. In the Travels of Marco Polo, a 13th-century travel account recorded by Rustichello da Pisa, there are references to “the precious stones we call turquoises” in the mountains of eastern Persia. Aztec people used turquoise for things like knife handles and mosaics, among other things. Nevertheless, few historical records have identified turquoise mining in Mesoamerica, so there have been speculations whether the minerals were traded with northern mining centers. The turquoise used in Mesoamerican cultures has, however, been shown to come from a local source. Turquoise has also been considered the most valuable stone in ancient Tibet.
Turquoise is today the national stone of Iran, and the best Turquoise stones still come from Iran. Neyshābūr, Iran is the world’s largest and oldest turquoise mine, based on production and age. Over the last 7,000 years, Neyshābūr has produced a regular and steady output. Turquoise is also found in Australia, Afghanistan, Tibet and US.
Copper is carried in waters which interact with phosphate and aluminum deposits to form turquoise. Veins and inclusions of nearby rocks are very common. It can sometimes form in grape-shaped aggregates. It is a candidate for pseudo-morphism and it can also grow with other copper minerals.
Turquoise stones are hydrated copper and aluminum phosphates. They are opaque soft stones, with a hardness of less than 6 on Mohs scale. The luster tends to be waxy to vitreous, and generally opaque, but may be semi-translucent in thin sections. Various stones differ in color from whitish to blue to a violet hue, and from a green blue to a green yellow. The blue hue is given by copper, while the green hue may be caused by dehydration.
Wisdom, protection, hope.
Without this stone, Apache shamans could not be acknowledged by their tribes. Navaho people used Turquoise to invoke rain. It has been traditionally believed that turquoises are found at the end of rainbows: you can dig them up at the end of a rainbow after a storm.
There was an old belief that Turquoise stones warned their owners by breaking, like Malachite. Color changes were considered impending sickness or injury, as the stone was believed to take the damage in order to protect its owner. The gem was also attached to a horse’s bridle to protect the horse. There is an ancient magical tradition of using turquoise as a “horse amulet.”