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Monday, May 14, 2012
Gemstone Highlights: Turquoise
Cliptomania.com carries many gemstone non-pierced earrings. From Agate to Zircon, many of our designer's earrings include various gemstones from around the world. Amid the beauty I wondered about some gem specifics. Questions like....Where did it come from? What gives its distinctive color? Is it common or rare? ..and many others. Of course the internet is full of "sources" for anyone to draw information; however, I have decided to glean the technical information from a handful of "trustworthy" sites, and also cite from a fun site with a mystic point-of-view giving origins, meanings and healing properties that some people believe the gems possess
Because turquoise is one of my personal favs, I'm going to start with it.
Prized for many years, this beautiful stone was used by the ancient Egyptians in jewelry and worn by pharaohs and kings and is probably one of the oldest known gemstones. King Tut's solid gold mask (below right) has inlayed turquoise, lapis, carnelian and onyx. The name turquoise may have come from the word Turquie, French for Turkey, because of the early belief that the mineral came from that country (the turquoise most likely came from Alimersai Mountain in Persia (now Iran) or the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, two of the world's oldest known turquoise mining areas.) Another possibility could be the name came from the French description of the gemstone, "pierre turquin" meaning dark blue stone.
Chemically, a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, turquoise is formed by the percolation of meteoric or groundwater through aluminous rock in the presence of copper. For this reason, it is often associated with copper deposits as a secondary mineral, most often in copper deposits in arid, semiarid, or desert environments. Even the finest of turquoise is fracturable, reaching a maximum hardness of just slightly more than window glass. The lustre of turquoise is typically waxy to subvitreous and its transparancy is usally opaque. Color is variable ranging from white to a powder blue to a sky blue, to a green-blue to a yellow-green. The color depends on the minerals found in the area where it grew. The more copper in the mix produces a bluer stone. The more iron in the mix produces a greener stone.
In the ancient Persian Empire, the sky-blue gemstones were earlier worn around the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death. If they changed color, the wearer was thought to have reason to fear the approach of doom. Meanwhile, it has been discovered that the turquoise certainly can change color, but that this is not necessarily a sign of impending danger. The change can be caused by the light, or by a chemical reaction brought about by cosmetics, dust or the acidity of the skin.
I found the general guidelines for caring for turquoise quite interesting. Prolonged exposure to the sun may discolor the gem. Being a phosphate mineral, it is also fragile and sensitive to solvents. Some perfumes and other cosmetics will attack the finish and may alter the color, as will most commercial jewelry cleaning
solutions. Therefore, care should be taken when wearing turquoise and the use of sunscreen, lotion, or hair spray, which if used, should be applied before putting on turquiose jewelry, and then gently cleaning the jewelry with a soft cloth to avoid any residue build up. It should also be kept in its own container to avoid scratching by harder gems, but the container should not be airtight.
Turquoise is one of the official birthstones for the month of December as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is the planetary stone for Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. It is sacred to many Native American's and was carved in the shape of animals and birds. These carvings were placed in tombs to attract beneficial spirits and guard the dead. Turquoise was also used by medicine men for healing and by warriors who fixed it to the end of their bows to insure accurate shots.
Turquoise is considered one of the oldest protection amulets, and was also known as a symbol of wealth in many cultures. Other meanings associated with turquoise include: protection from negative energy, ability to bring good fortune, aid in promoting serenity and meditation as well as providing energy, wisdom, balance, honesty, communication, strength, friendship and love.
www.cliptomania.com offer's many non-pierced gemstone earrings including those with turquoise. To see them, visit the gemstone page of our website or do an Advanced Search, the elongated box under the website name to find a particular gemstone.
Sources Turquoise, www.geminfo.com, n.p., 2010, May 11, 2012.
Turquoise, en.wikipedia.org, n.p., April 18, 2012, May 11, 2012.
Turquoise Gemstone Meaning, www.crystal-cure.com, n.p., 2011, May 14, 2012.