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History & Introduction

The name "turquoise" comes from the French word "turqueise" which means "Turkish stone", as it was first transported to Europe through Turkey. The color identified as turquoise was named after this gemstone.

Turquoise stone occurs in sky-blue or green color from translucent to opaque. The basic of the stone has aluminum phosphate, which contains copper. It has been prized as a gemstone for millenniaTurquoise was used by the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs in terms of jewelry gemstone and decorative stone. Turquoise gemstone was used to decorate the burial mask and tomb of King Tutankhamun. According to the ancient Egyptians the color blue was a symbol of regeneration, so turquoise was treasured for both ornamental and superstitious purposes. The Mesoamericans formed turquoise mosaics and the Chinese carved turquoise into ornaments. Native Americans even used turquoise stone in works of art and jewellery, as per many it possessed protective properties. The Tibetans used it the healing properties of turquoise and have valued turquoise jewellery for centuries.

Recognize - Turquoise is recognized as its distinctive sky blue, blue-green or apple-green color and from matt luster to waxy. The stone consist of the hardness of 5 to 6 that distinguishes turquoise from alike gemstones like smithsonite , chrysocolla and variscite. The hardness of the stone even helps to distinguish turquoise from imitations or synthetic materials.

Availability - Turquoise occurs as botyroidal (grape-like) masses or nodules in fissures. Northeast Iran you get the best quality turquoise in the world. The deposits of turquoise gemstone are also found in Israel, Afghanistan, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, China, Mexico, Tanzania and the USA.

Usages - Turquoise is among the most popular bead gemstones. Tumbled rough Turquoise gemstones may also be stranded into rings and necklaces. Often turquoise is cut and polished into cabochons and is also used as large pendant stones as well as rings. Rarely ornate carvings come from turquoise, cameos and scarabs are even used. Among the Native Americans turquoise stone is extremely important and is by far the most popular gemstone in that culture. It is used in making all kinds of tribal jewelry, associated with Silver. Turquoise are available in rings, brooches, pins, pendants, bracelets, cufflinks, earrings, and necklaces.

Buying Guide

Color - Turquoise is the only gemstone that has a color named after it. There are times when turquoise is mixed with chrysocolla or malachite that causes a green and blue mottled appearance. The turquoise available in USA contains iron instead of comparing with aluminium, thus it is actually a mixture of turquoise and chalcosiderite. Since it contains iron, it is a green color. Pure blue turquoise is rare and turquoise is mostly interspersed by dark-grey, brown or black veins that is sparse or dense. The following veins are either the host rock or other minerals and turquoise that contains veins is referred to as "turquoise matrix". The most popular color of turquoise is sky-blue (also called "robin's egg blue or "Persian blue"), available in apple-green or blue-green.

Clarity and Lustre - Turquoise is available in transparent to opaque stone, however translucent materials are rare. It shows a wax matt luster. Most turquoise consist of brown, dark-grey or black veiny inclusions of matrix or other minerals. These enclosures are sparse or dense. The turquoise in demand the most is translucent turquoise, pure and free from veins. However, sometimes turquoise has attractive grain patterns that make it desirable as a "spider web turquoise" (also called "spider web matrix turquoise") that possess beautiful patterns in web form.

Cut and Shape - Mostly turquoise is cut in cabochon earrings, brooches, bracelets, necklace pendants, rings and belts. It is cut into cabochons with oval or fancy shapes. As the turquoise gemstone is one of the softer gemstones, it is even carved into ornamental objects and used for inlay. For bracelets, earrings and necklaces spherical turquoise beads are also used as tumbled pieces of turquoise and turquoise chips.

Treatment - Turquoise is found in porous material, so many times impregnated with wax, polymers, or plastic to enhance the color and harden its surface. Turquoise color is also enhanced with the use of oil or paraffin, colors or copper salt. Imitation turquoise is made from dyeing howlite or chalcedony. Powdered turquoise is glued as well as glass, plastic and porcelain are used to create turquoise gemstones in imitation. Every reputable gem traders declare any enhancement or treatment of turquoise gemstones, and should update the buyers who buys imitation or synthetic material.

Gemological Characteristics:

Chemical Formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8•4H2O Copper containing basic aluminium phosphate
Crystal Structure Triclinic (seldom); botryoidal aggregates
Color Sky-blue, blue-green, apple-green
Hardness 5 to 6
Refractive Index 1.610 to 1.650
Density 2.31 to 2.84
Cleavage None
Transparency Translucent, opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence 0.040
Lustre Waxy, matt
Fluorescence Weak; light-blue or green-yellow
Mineral Class Turquoise


  • Sky blue turquoise
  • Bluish green turquoise
  • Turquoise blue turquoise