Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium.
It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gemstone and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue. In recent times, turquoise has been devalued, like most other opaque gems, by the introduction onto the market of treatments, imitations, and synthetics.
The substance has been known by many names, but the word turquoise dates to the 17th century and is derived from the French "turques" for "Turks" because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey, from mines in the historical Khorasan Province of Persia
Pliny the Elder referred to the mineral as "callais" and the Aztecs knew it as "chalchihuitl"
Turquoise is colored by traces of copper.
Its green color can range from shades of bluish-green to apple-green or lime-green. Generally, if turquoise forms with less copper and more aluminum, the material tends to be green. When zinc is also present, it can result in a rare lime-green color.
Much of the green turquoise from the USA gets its color from iron, rather than aluminum. If iron or zinc replaces the aluminum entirely, the material becomes iron-rich chalcosiderite or zinc-rich faustite.
Veining is normal for green turquoise and matrix colors can vary from brown to black, and even from golden to yellow. Black matrix is usually owed to iron pyrite, while brown is usually caused by iron oxide. Golden colors may be due to rhyolite matrix.
Green turquoise is indeed a rarity, but it can be found in a few areas around the world. Mongolia and Egypt's turquoise deposits are known to occur more green than blue. Mines from India are also known to produce green turquoise. China has some very desirable deposits, but much of China's turquoise is often enhanced. The United States is today's leading producer of green turquoise.
The mining for green turquoise has drastically slowed down since the 1990s due to depleting sources.
Green turquoise was especially popular among Native Americans. Some believe that turquoise possesses protective properties.
The ancient Tibetans believed that turquoise carried strong healing powers.
In Chinese feng shui, turquoise is believed to carry the energy of water.
For those who follow Western astrology, it is the stone of Sagittarius.
For modern birthstone followers, turquoise is often worn as a traditional birthstone for December.
Turquoise ranks as a six on the Moh's Hardness Scale. This means that any gemstone harder than a six, such as a diamond or a sapphire, can scratch the surface of the stone.
For this reason, turquoise jewelry needs careful storage inside a jewelry box where it does not come into contact with other gemstones.
Turquoise is generally stable to light, but high heat can cause discoloration and surface damage. It dissolves slowly in hydrochloric acid, and it can be discolored by chemicals, cosmetics, and even skin oils or perspiration.
The best way to protect turqoise jewelry is to only wear it when necessary. This does not mean owners should not wear turquoise every day, but that they should put some thought into whether a particular situation is the best environment for the gemstone.
Never wear turquoise items when doing the following:
The surface of a turquoise gem is very porous, which means it easily absorbs anything it comes into contact with, including color-altering chemicals.
Keep this principle in mind while wearing turquoise rings and bracelets, since these jewelry pieces are exposed to anything the hand touches.
Turquoise can be cleaned best with the use of cloth dampened with water and the surface of the stones should only be softly wiped. Do not dip the entire stone in the water. Always dry the turquoise gemstone off after cleaning, in order to remove all traces of water from its surface.
Most jewelry cleaning products are not safe for turquoise because they can discolor the stone. Even using a mild dishwashing soap on turquoise is not recommmended since the surface of turquoise is very porous and thus absorbs absorbs the dish soap easily.
It should never be cleaned with steam or ultrasonic cleaners.
Be careful when cleaning the 18k gold setting of Turquoise. The gold setting of the turquosie can also get tarnished by wear and can be polished with a soft cloth or best given to a jeweller to take proper care of the jewelry article.
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