Birthstone Month :
Turquoise is one of the birthstones for the month of December.
Turquoise is associated with the zodiac signs of Capricorn and Sagittarius.
Chemical Symbol :
CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8 · 5H2O
Chemical Make-up :
Turquoise is an Aluminum Phosphate mineral containing traces of Copper and Iron, which together serve to give this gemstone it's beautiful blue-green coloration.
History & Lore :
Turquoise is undoubtedly one of the oldest gemstones known to man and has been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs, dating back as far as 3000 BC and has been considered a good luck talisman by many civilizations since including, the Persians, the Aztecs and indigenous American Indian tribes.
The Persians in particular believed that the act of a Turquoise changing color was a sign of impending danger. For this reason Turquoise gems were often used to bejewel daggers and turbans as an effective method of warding off the evil eye.
It was the belief of the Native Americans that wearing Turquoise jewelry provided a direct connection to the heavens above and sources of abundant water supply below, whereas the Aztecs believed the stone was holy and often adorned their ceremonial masks with Turquoise gemstones.
Turquoise provides the bearer / wearer with strong, mutually fruitful relationships and lends self-confidence to individuals who may usually be withdrawn. Moreover, Turquoise is a gemstone that has always been associated with good luck and for this reason was often cherished by travelers wishing to ward off / balance bad luck.
Turquoise is a readily available gemstone, with known deposits comfortably handling demand. Turquoise is priced at such a level that it is a gemstone that truly is avail able to the masses. Per Carat prices typically range from less than US$1, to over US$50, but rarely more than that.
Today the principal source of Turquoise is mined in the Southwest region of the United States which include Arizona, New Mexico, and Arizona. It is also mined in California, Colorado, and Texas. Other notable locations in which there is Turquoise mining operations are Afghanistan, Australia, Northern Chile (Chuquicamata), China, Cornwall, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saxony, Silesia, and Turkestan.
Turquoise is rated at a 5 to 6 on Moh's Scale of Hardness and because it is a reasonably soft gemstone, care should be taken with it to avoid scratching. Though the most valued of Turquoise has a sky blue color, it can carry various shades of green to yellowish grey. This blue color is created from traces of copper, while the green shades are created from traces of Iron or Chromium. Another attribute to this gemstones value is the characteristic trait known as spiderwebbing. This occurs when iron oxide fills in cracks in the Turquoise. There is no patter to spiderwebbing and it generally appears as light grey to black veins within the stone, crossing, curving and ending abruptly. When purchasing Turquoise you should be aware of the treatments it has received and also should be weary of fakes such as the mineral chrysocolla which have so commonly been found on the market today.
Common Cuts :
Turquoise gemstones are most commonly fashioned into Cabochons or Beads.
Routine Enhancements :
Turquoise is a relatively soft gemstone that can be prone to breaking and for this reason it is often treated. The treatment most commonly carried out is a waxing or hardening process that lends the stone more durability and longevity. Another treatment that is sometimes carried out is color enhancement. Having a natural Turquoise heat- treated can increase its value, but having a natural Turquoise color treated is detrimental to the market value of the stone.
Care & Cleaning :
Being that Turquoise is a reasonably soft gemstone, cleaning is best done with a soft, damp cloth. Do not use harsh chemicals as they may destroy the integrity of the gemstone. Turquoise is also light sensitive, so prolonged exposure to strong / direct light sources (including sunlight) should be avoided in order to avoid discoloration / color changes.