say that in the the thirteenth century, turquoise was named in
the mistaken belief that it came from Turkey. That may be true
or it may be that the name comes from the Persian word for turquoise,
firouze, since Persia has been a major source of this gemstone
for thousands of years. In any case, the blue of this gemstone
is so vivid and distinct that it has given its name to the color.
is one of the oldest known gem materials. The Egyptians were mining
turquoise in 3,200 BC in the Sinai. The blue of turquoise was
thought to have powerful metaphysical properties by many ancient
cultures. Montezuma's treasure, now displayed in the British Museum,
includes a fantastic carved serpent covered by a mosaic of turquoise.
In ancient Mexico, turquoise was reserved for the gods, it would
not be worn by mere mortals.
Apache believed that turquoise helped warriors and hunters to
aim accurately. The Zuni beleved that it protected them from demons.
In Asia it was considered protection against the evil eye. Tibetans
carved turquoise into ritual objects as well as wearing it in
traditional jewelry. Ancient manuscripts from Persia, India, Afghanstan,
and Arabia report that the health of a person wearing turquoise
can be assessed by variations in the color of the stone. Turquoise
was also thought to promote prosperity.
Europe even today, turquoise rings are given as forget-me-not
most important turquoise deposits are in Iran, Tibet, China, and
the Southwestern United States. Tuquoise is a mineral usually
found in association with copper deposits. Turquoise is sometimes
mined as a by-product of copper mining.
from Iran is often said to be the best because it is sometimes
a clear sky blue with no green modifying color and no black veins
running through it. Turquoise just as fine is produced in Arizona
and New Mexico. In general the bluer the blue, the more highly
valued. A clear even texture without mottleing or veins is also
preferred. However, some people prefer turquoise with veins, sometimes
called spiderwebs, which set off the color.
is porous and should be kept away from chemicals. Clean it with
warm soapy water only.