What is turquoise?

Turquoise is a blue-green mineral.

Turquoise is a blue-green mineral, a phosphate of aluminum and copper, prized for its rarity and unique hue, and widely used as an ornamental stone. Popular in the 16th century for adorning places of worship in Turkey, it was eventually traded in Turkish bazaars and brought to Europe by merchants and travellers. This stone is fragile – only slightly stronger than window glass – so special care must be taken during extraction and transport.

In the past, only rulers wore turquoise, especially the Egyptian pharaohs.

The bluer the stone, the more expensive. Color variations are due to the presence of metals, such as iron impurities in the case of green turquoise. Most of the original mines were long depleted, and the current supply comes mostly as a by-product of copper mining. Iran is the world’s largest producer of this mineral; it is also mined in the southwestern United States, mainly in Arizona and Nevada. This made the stone a popular choice for creating American Indian religious jewelry and tile and decoration.

Direct sunlight should be avoided to preserve the quality of the turquoise.

In the past, the mineral was used only by rulers, especially by ancient Egyptian pharaohs, Aztec kings and Chinese emperors. Often inlaid in gold and combined with other stones such as jade, quartz and malachite, it was considered a magical stone that could protect the wearer from evil forces. The Apache and Navajo tribes also considered the stone to be a powerful amulet, although anyone could use it.

Turquoise is a by-product of copper mining.

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It is now possible for this mineral to be purchased and used by anyone, as long as they have the resources to do so. If price is considered, artificial turquoise is available. While the first imitations were made of glass and enamel and easily identifiable, the newer versions are indistinguishable to the untrained eye.

Turquoise needs care to keep it in the best condition. Stone is sensitive to chemicals and naturally fragile, so it should not come into contact with strong perfumes or cleaning chemicals, it should be kept out of direct sunlight, and it should not be bumped or bumped against hard surfaces. It is easily scratched, so owners should also take care of it during storage. The mineral also needs to “breathe” to retain its deep natural color. The lack of air will eventually turn the stone green, contributing to its loss of value.

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