Blue gemstones are a rarity in the geology world. The striking blue and green colors of the turquoise stone catch the hearts of many and have been used in jewelry and decorative items for thousands of years. There is a deep history and cultural significance surrounding turquoise jewelry. Read on to discover more about this beautiful stone.
9 Fascinating Facts About Turquoise Jewelry
Turquoise was among one of the first gemstones to ever be mined. The earliest evidence of the use of turquoise dates back to around 5,500 B.C.E. Ancient Egyptians set the gemstone into gold jewelry, using it to decorated murals, art, tombs, and decorative items. King Tutankhamun's burial mask, one of the world's most famous artifacts, is covered in turquoise inlays. The oldest recorded turquoise mine dates back to around 3,000 B.C. in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where thousands of workers mined the mines for thousands of years.
In North America, it is said that turquoise was discovered in the Southwest region by Native Americans around 200 B.C. It was believed to be a sacred stone and was used in many ceremonies and prayers. They also believed it to have healing properties.
From the 13th century, the Silk Roads were used to transport and trade turquoise from Asia, Persia, and Arabia into Europe. As Turkey was the gateway to Europe, European buyers would often purchase the gem from Turkish traders. The word turquoise comes from the French phrase, Pierre turquoise, which translates to Turkish stone.
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of aluminum and copper. It was formed nearly 30 million years ago when water containing these minerals seeped into rocks. Over time, chemical reactions cause turquoise to form in veins, later turning into clumps. It is the copper that gives turquoise its blue, green hue. It forms in a diverse range of colors, ranging from pale blue to dark green because of the addition of local trace elements found in the rock.
The natural formation of turquoise happens in dry, arid climates like deserts. The majority of mines are located in these types of environments, such as Iran, China, Egypt, Afghanistan, and the Southwestern United States.
The wide color spectrum of turquoise comes from the elements present when the stone is being formed. The more copper present during formation, the bluer the turquoise. When there is a higher concentration of iron, the stone takes a green hue, and again, the more iron, the deeper the green. When aluminum is present, it can create a whiter hue, and when higher concentrates of zinc are added, the color can become a yellow-green.
Turquoise can change color over time. The change can occur by exposure to direct sunlight or chemical reactions caused by the acidity of the skin, cosmetics, oils, chemicals, or air-bound pollution.
The thin dark veins or splotches you see in turquoise are called the matrix. The matrix is remnants of the host rock interwoven throughout the gemstone, creating unique patterns. Like fingerprints, the matrices are individual to every stone, making each one a one-of-a-kind and unique gem. One of the most popular and sought-after matrices is the spiderweb. This is a rare phenomenon where the host rock forms a characteristic, delicate web-like appearance through the turquoise.
Another uncommon matrix pattern is calico, a multi-colored calico cat pattern in a spectrum of browns or blacks with flecks of metallic pyrite. The matrix can vary in color depending on the elements found in the host rock. For example, a black matrix is often formed by the presence of iron pyrite. A yellow to brown matrix can be created by the presence of iron oxide.
Turquoise is the birthstone for the month of December. Birthstones are gems that represent an individual's month of birth. They are often worn as pendants, rings, or in other forms of jewelry.
7. Legends and Culture
There are countless stories, legends, and beliefs associated with turquoise in cultures throughout history and from all across the world.
In some Native American tribes, it is said that the people danced and cried with joy when the rains came after a long drought. Their tears mixed with the rain and seeped into the earth to become the Sky Stone turquoise. They considered the matrix in the stone to be a representation of the balance between Father Sky and Mother Earth. Other legends tell that the stone helped remove the water that covered the planet, helping to create life on Earth.
This is a hugely important gemstone in many Native American cultures. It is cherished for its healing and protection properties and its aid in mental focus and communication. It is also used in ceremonies and rituals to ward off evil and bad luck. It is given to babies to protect them through life. It's said that if a crack appears in the turquoise you are wearing, the stone absorbed negative energy that was meant for the wearer.
Europe and the Middle East
Persians believed that turquoise symbolized heaven. The stone was used in jewelry, decoration, and architecture. In Ancient Greece, it was worn by maidens to signify purity. Ancient Persians wore it to protect against unnatural death. In Turkey, Persia, and other countries, turquoise was used in bridles worn on horses to keep them sure-footed and prevent falls. The Turkish were also said to believe that turquoise helped to combat fear and promote inner calm. Turkish warriors used turquoise to ornate their swords for protection and bravery.
Turquoise is a hugely popular stone in Tibetan culture. Buddist monks believe the gradual shift of color from blue to green symbolizes the development of wisdom, as well as the cycle of life and death. It is also worn as a talisman of good fortune.
8. Healing Properties
Today, the gemstone is believed to carry a wealth of healing properties. It is a purification stone that helps to dispel negative energy and protect against outside influences. It balances emotions and helps to soothe and calm the mind and nervous system, and is extremely beneficial to those suffering from depression, stress, and anxiety attacks. In Chakra healing, it is associated with the throat chakra, supporting the release of inhibitions, and promoting self-realization. When placed on the third eye, it supports intuition and meditation.
Spiritually, the gemstone provides cleansing and healing energies to our energy centers and the physical body, enhancing wisdom, understanding, trust, self-forgiveness, and kindness. Traditionally, it is thought to unite Earth and sky and male and female energies. It has been said to aid in the initiation of romantic love and promote romantic spontaneity.
9. Uses in Meditation
In meditation, turquoise is earth grounding and helps maintain control of the conscious mind during deep meditation. It can provide strength and protection in astral travel, aid in exploring past lives, and promote inner wisdom, deep calm, and greater peace of mind.
There is so much more to learn about this beautiful and historically significant stone. To learn more and see our collection of jewelry, visit Cameo Rouge today. We believe that all women are Adaptable, Strong, and Beautiful Warriors. Our collection of jewelry and accessories is the everyday tactical gear that every modern warrior needs.