What is Turquoise?
Turquoise is a soft, porous mineral of an intense blue/green colour.
The highest quality turquoise is found in Persia; it is the national gem of Iran. It is also found in Tibet.
The main supplier of Turquoise is the USA.
Turquoise is the oldest known gemstone – first found in jewellery over 7000 years ago and is almost certainly the first stone to be made into jewellery. Mesopotamian turquoise beads date back to 5000 BC. Egyptian tombs have shown that turquoise was used a lot in Egypt between 3000 and 4000 BC.
Turquoise mining began in America about 1000 years ago.
The Incas and Aztecs believed the stone had the power to bring good fortune.
In Victorian times, it was thought to mean ‘forget me not’.
It is now thought that wearing turquoise gemstones imparts a long life to the wearer. It is also thought that it can warn the wearer of impending illness or danger by changing colour.
It is the gemstone associated with December birthdays and is believed to provide love and happiness.
Turquoise is quite delicate and care should be taken. It can absorb anything with which it comes into contact, such as perfume, cleaning materials, cosmetics etc. Some chemicals can cause irreversible discolouration. Metal polishes will also discolour turquoise.
Keep away from other jewellery and from hard objects.
Turquoise should be washed gently in warm, sudsy water with a soft damp cloth and dried immediately. Heat and chemicals should be avoided as should the ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
Caring for Turquoise (summary)
- Wash in warm sudsy water with soft damp cloth and dry immediately.
- Keep away from all chemicals
- Keep away from jewellery and hard objects
- Avoid heat.
- Do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners
Turquoise measures 6 on the Moh’s hardness scale. It has a specific gravity of 2.80. The crystal structure is Triclinic and it is composed of hydrated copper aluminium phosphate.