Turquoise ~ such a beautiful colour and such a beautiful stone! There are so many different variations and colours of Turquoise, but for general purposes and the ease of writing a blog that doesn’t take all day…….. I’ll try and stick to those that are most readily available in the market today.
The word turquoise comes from the old French word for Turkey. Back in the 16th Century, the first documented arrival of Turquoise into Europe was from Iran via Turkey and the Far Eastern, Middle Eastern and American cultures have records and differing names for Turquoise dating back centuries.
Turquoise is traditionally found in dry, warm conditions, filling cavities, fractures and cracks in highly altered volcanic rocks. Pure crystals of Turquoise are extremely rare. One of the first gems to ever be mined, the oldest mine is reported to have been the Serabit El-Khadim mine, dating back to 3200 BC (possibly before) in Sinai and situated four kilometres from an ancient temple dedicated to Hathor.
This Egyptian Turquoise is said to be the most translucent, although the highest grade and most revered Turquoise is from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona, USA. The Sleeping Beauty mine closed in August 2012 (click here for information) so obtaining Turquoise of this quality will soon become very difficult. The picture below shows Sleeping Beauty Turquoise growing in situ deep in the mine.
Mexican Turquoise is also a vibrant blue, but when we move over to the Far East and look at the Chinese Turquoise, it is a much greener shade and usually with more dark veins & patches running through it (see pic below).
So if you’re trying to identify where Turquoise may have originated from, pale Blue is usually Egyptian or Iranian, the darker, vibrant, deeper blue is from the USA or Mexico and greenish hues are from China and Asia.
Turquoise is known as the Traveller’s Stone as it was a revered stone of the Native Americans, most of whom were nomadic tribes that followed the buffalo trail. Turquoise was said to protect the traveller’s on their journey across America and is still used to protect travellers today. The Turkish and Egyptians also believed that Turquoise protected souls travelling on after death as many graves and the temples in Ancient Egypt were found to be inlaid and adorned with Turquoise. The Turkish soldiers used to carry Turquoise to war and had it inlaid in the saddles and reins on their horses.
I always carry a piece of Turquoise in my car after hearing a story from one of my suppliers. There were two sisters who used to pack and invoice all of the gemstone supplies. Neither of these women were holistic or spiritually minded, but they had heard about carrying Turquoise to protect people when travelling and through superstition or gut intuition, had decided to keep a piece in the car. One of them was in a terrible car accident whereby the car was absolutely totalled and yet both passengers walked away unscathed. Shortly after that, the other sister’s boyfriend was also in a bad car accident and also walked away unscathed. Despite their not being very open minded to the holistic properties of crystals, both of them insisted that it was the Turquoise that had kept them safe. They were so convincing, I’ve carried a piece in every vehicle ever since!
There are other colour variations of Turquoise such as bright green or purple, which have been called Navajo Turquoise. These pieces are traditionally found only in jewellery and is natural Turquoise that has been injected with dye. Also sold in many places is reconstituted Turquoise, whereby natural Turquoise pieces that are too small to be made into anything are powered up and mixed together with a resin to form a solid block. Many manufacturers also smash up highly veined Turquoise to remove the veins and then create reconstituted Turquoise. Holistically and vibrationally, this reconstituted Turquoise feels very different from the natural stone and in many cases these days, is made with dyes and bits of enamel or ceramic, so contains very little Turquoise at all.
Turquoise is a very protective, strengthening and healing stone. It is excellent for exhaustion, mental confusion or panic attacks. It is a natural anti inflammatory due to the copper content and said to lower blood pressure. Turquoise is a balancing stone, bringing in gentle, masculine energy to support and sustain us through times of challenge. It is fantastic for public speaking as it clears the mind, strengthens the throat and soothes our nervous system. Turquoise is a stone for achieving wholeness, for finding and upholding truth, for honest communication and and manifesting all of those qualities.
Turquoise is very sensitive to solvents, perfume, hairspray and make up, so I would advise keeping it wrapped in a soft cloth or sealed in a little ziplock bag to keep it protected and never spray anything near Turquoise jewellery as it will damage the surface of the stone. Do not wear Turquoise when swimming, to the beach or in a bath/shower. Prolonged exposure to sunlight may also diminish the colour of Turquoise, so only charge it up in direct sunlight for short periods of time, then keep it in the shade.