What is Turquoise?
Turquoise is a blue to bluish-green mineral .It is a aluminium copper
phosphate (Hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium). It is also known as
the Robin's Egg blue gemstone, because of its characteristic colour. Its
colour is so characteristic that people use the term turquoise like to refer
to a colour grade similar to that of turquoise.
Is Turquoise from Turkey?
There is a misconception about turquoise. Turquoise is not found in Turkey.
The name is probably derived from Turkey because the Turkish merchants and
dealers took these gemstones to Venice for sale.
Is Turquoise Durable and Hard?
Turquoise has a hardness of 5-6 on the Mohs scale, therefore it is much
softer than Quartz. It has a similar hardness as Moonstone. There is
hard and soft turquoise. Soft turquoise is found deep in the earth where it
has not yet dried properly. Hard turquoise is found closer to the surface,
because it has a chance of drying.
For how long has Turquoise been used by man?
Turquoise is probably the most ancient gemstone used by man. Turquoise has
been associated with all the ancient civilizations, archaeological
excavations have found turquoise jewelry dating back as far as 3000 BC.
Turquoise was also found in King Tutankhamun's tomb. The infamous burial
mask of King Tutankhamun's tomb was also inlaid with turquoise.
How are Turquoise Gemstones Cut?
Turquoise gemstones are usually cut en cabochon because of its relative
softness. Turquoise can be polished easily and gives a good shine after
Does Turquoise come in different colours?
The blue colour is due to the presence of copper, the intensity of the blue
colour depends on the copper content. If turquoise contains Zinc it gives a
yellow-green shade to the blue colour. Iron if present gives a greenish
shade to the Turquoise. Chrome can also give a greenish shade to the
Clear blue turquoise is the best turquoise for jewelry setting and has high
demand. The greenish turquoise found in India is also used in jewelry.
How is Turquoise formed naturally?
Turquoise is formed by water percolating thorough minerals that contain
copper , aluminium .
How do I Take care of Turquoise Jewelry?
Turquoise demands extra care because it is a soft gemstone with a mohs
hardness scale of about 5-6.
Care has to be taken not to drop large turquoise gemstones or jewelry which
can result in fracture, scratches or even in rare instances breaking into
Never use an ultrasound cleanser to clean turquoise gemstones or jewelry set
Do not clean turquoise with commercial jewelry cleaners, do not spray
perfumes on turquoise.
Do not wear a turquoise gemstone while swimming or bathing.
Clean turquoise only with lukewarm water and ensure that it is thoroughly
dry before you store it in your jewelry box or cupboard.
What are the metaphysical properties of Turquoise?
Turquoise was thought by Persians to protect the wearer from poverty.
Turquoise was also thought to protect against evil eye.
Turquoise is also thought to protect against the dangers of darkness and
protection against unnatural death. Therefore turquoise is used as a
talisman by many people.
Turquoise is thought to relieve a depressed person and is therefore used in
modern gemstone therapy for this purpose.
Where is Turquoise gemstone found?
Turquoise being among the oldest gems to be mined are found in Iran, Egypt,
India, China ,Tibet, Afghanistan, Australia.
The major source of high quality sky blue turquoise for nearly 3000 years is
Iran. Iranian turquoise was probably among the first turquoise to reach
Europe via Turkish merchants.
Mining of turquoise in the Sinai mountain region of Egypt has been going on
for thousands of years. Since the large scale mining of turquoise is not
profitable, presently only a few Bedouins. The colour of the Egyptian
turquoise is greener than the Iranian turquoise but is considered more
The south-western states of the United States of America are famous for
large turquoise deposits.
The states famous for turquoise deposits are California, Nevada, Arizona,
Colorado and New Mexico. California even has pre-historic mines of
Although high quality turquoise have been found in American mines, in
general American turquoise is of low quality and hardness (sometimes
referred to as chalk turquoise)
What is Turquoise Gemstone Used for?
Turquoise gemstones can be used for carvings used in ornaments and jewelry.
Turquoise is cut en cabochon and set in jewelry.
Turquoise is also used as a talisman by many people.
Are there turquoise imitations in the market?
There are numerous imitations of turquoise in the market so you have to be
careful while buying turquoise. Always buy turquoise from a well established
reputable jewelry firm or merchant.
Imitation turquoise is so common that it probably outnumbers genuine
Imitation Turquoise can be easily detected by gemmologists using a number of
tests. These tests include destructive and non-destructive tests.
Non-destructive tests include observation under high magnification and
testing of physical properties such as specific gravity, refractive index
and light absorption.
Destructive tests include the use of a heated metal, that will cause it to
melt if it is plastic and give the characteristic smell of plastic. Another
destructive test that can be used is the application of dilute hydrochloric
acid which will cause effervescence if it is made up of carbonate.
Are there treated turquoise in the market?
Yes, treated turquoise is widely available in most jewelry shops, and in
most cases not disclosed to the customer. This is because of the inability
of the mines to cope with the commercial demands for the gemstone. Most of
the mined turquoise is of the softer inferior variety sometimes referred to
as chalk turquoise.
The softer turquoise can to treated to make it more durable and harder while
enhancing its colour.
Some of the treatments presently in use are waxing and oiling,
stabilization, dyeing, reconstitution, Zachary process and backing.
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