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All You Need To Know About the Turquoises

Turquoise Historical and Cultural Facts

Turquoise is perhaps the oldest gemstone in human history, it's the talisman of power, success and protection. People have all heard about turquoise but may not know its cultural facts cross different cultures in human history. This page is dedicated to gather all the interesting turquoise historical and cultural facts. 

Fact #1: Turquoise is the Birthstone of December

If cold December gave you birth, 
The month of snow and ice and mirth, 
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;  
Success will bless whate'er you do.

TurquoiseSky beads necklace 

Fact #2: Turquoise is the oldest gemstones in human history

Steeped with history and mystery turquoise is truly a captivating stone. Turquoise is called a gemstone of the life, and is esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good and fortune It is believed to have healing property, truly captivating power and considered as protection against evil and ill health to ward off the influence of dark and evil powers. Formerly it was thought to protect riders and horses from accidental falls; nowadays considered the ideal good-luck stones with great Healing Powers. In many cultures of the Old and New Worlds, this gemstone has been esteemed as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune or a talisman.

TurquoiseSky contemporary pendant design 

Fact #3: Turquoise brought together various culture

From ancient Egypt, Persian Empire, Shang Dynasty of China, to most of Native Americans, turquoise is regarded as a good-luck-charm or a talisman. It can be found on the most important antiques in all of these human civilizations. It is on King Tutankhamun's golden mask (~1330BC), it on sword of Goujian as decoration (~500BC), which is renowned for its sharpness and resistance to tarish. 

One of the oldest evidence for this claim was found in Ancient Egypt, where grave furnishings with turquoise inlay were discovered, dating from approximately 3000 BC. 

Another oldest evidence is found in 2005, a 3700-year-old antique in the shape of a dragon, made up of over 2,000 pieces of turquoise, is believed by many Chinese scholars as the oldest Chinese dragon totem. The antique was discovered in the Erlitou relics site in Yanshi City of central China's Henan Province. Many Chinese scholars believe that Erlitou is the site of the capital of the Xia Dynasty (2,100 BC-1,600 BC), China's first dynasty.

Despite being one of the oldest gems, turquoise was probably first introduced to Europe with other Silk Road novelties through Turkey, turquoise did not become important as an ornamental stone in the West until the 14th century, following a decline in the Roman Catholic Church's influence which allowed the use of turquoise in-secular jewelry.

1. The Persian Turquoise Tiara, 2. The Teck Turquoise Tiara, 3. King Tut, 4. Tibetan turquoise on gold
5. The oldest Chinese turquoise dragon totem, 6. Sword of Goujian 7. Sword of Goujian (closer look) {Image sources: craigslists,}

In the ancient Persian Empire, the sky-blue gemstone was earlier worn round the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death.  Turquoise was the national stone for millennia, extensively used to decorate objects, mosques, and other important buildings both inside and out.

The Egyptian use of turquoise stretches back as far as the First Dynasty and possibly earlier; however, probably the most well-known pieces incorporating the gem are those recovered from Tutankhamun’s tomb, most notably the Pharaoh's iconic burial mask which was liberally inlaid with the stone.

After the 4th or 5th century A.D., explorers such as Marco Polo started writing about the stone. 

It is also worth mention the history of over 1000 years with Native Americans tribes like Navajo, Apache and Zuni who have used it extensively in jewelries for protection and healing. 

TurquoiseSky pendant 

Fact #4: Turquoise is gemstone for 11th anniversary of marriage

Have you ever imagined your wedding themed with classic white bridal dress with turquoise green jewelries? Turquoise jewelries matches the snow white theme in the wedding perfectly. Simply do a google search of 'turquoise wedding' you will find out.

{Image source: Google image search 'turquoise wedding'} 

Fact #5: Turquoise basics Q/As

Turquoise Formation

Turquoise forms when water percolates through rocks that contain copper, aluminum and other minerals. A chemical reaction takes place that results in deposits of what we know as turquoise. That's a simplified way of describing a process that takes millions of years and only happens when a complex set of conditions come together.

Why is Turquoise Different Colors?

The blue in turquoise is enhanced when copper is present. If the area where turquoise is formed contains more aluminum, the turquoise will shade to green. When zinc is present, the deposits are a yellow-green color, a rare combination that so far has been found in only a few areas, including the Carico Lake and Blue Ridge mines in Nevada.

Why Are There Dark Markings in Turquoise?

That's the matrix, the rock that the turquoise formed in. When stones are cut, some of the matrix remains bound to the turquoise. Matrix color varies because turquoise can form in different types of rock.

  • Black matrix may be iron pyrite
  • Yellow matrix could be rhyolite
  • Brown is probably iron oxide
  • The term spider webbing refers to stones with thin lines of matrix distributed throughout them

Pretty TurquoiseSky jewelries

Is Turquoise a Hard Stone?

Hardness of turquoise used for jewelry usually varies from 5-6 on the Mohs scale. The hardest turquoise is usually found nearest the surface of the earth, where it's had a chance to dry, or cure. Softer turquoise is chalk-like -- too soft and porous to be used unless it's enhanced.

What is Natural Turquoise?

Natural turquoise may have been cut and polished, but no artificial changes have been made to the gems. Color may change over time as body oils and other sources of moisture are absorbed into the stones. Only high quality turquoise can be used in its natural state.

How To Care for Your Turquoise?

Handle your turquoise jewelry carefully to avoid scratching it. Don't store turquoise with harder gemstones or other materials that might rub against it and cause damage.

Keep turquoise away from high heat and chemicals such as oils, perfumes, and household cleaners. Even stabilized turquoise can be affected by a constant bombardment of chemicals.

Clean your turquoise in warm, sudsy water and dry it immediately with a soft cloth. Avoid commercial jewelry cleansers.

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