by Ashutosh Roy
Turquoise, perhaps one of the oldest gemstone, reminds the tradition of native America. Astrologically It is called the birthstone of December and the accepted gem for the fifth and eleventh wedding anniversaries.
It has been always treated as a holy stone to get rid of the evil powers or rainy days of one’s life. Its clear and sky-blue colour is a symbol of bright and happiness and is supposed to enhance self-confidence. Astrologically, It is believed to bring more mental clarity, wisdom, trust, kindness and better relational bonds to the adorner’s life.
Even being ancient, its at the height of today’s fashion for its prized blue colour. The colour, which is quiet distinctive from others. Basically turquoise are available in 3 colours. Pale green, blue-green, turquoise blue. The word turquoise itself works as an adjective for a very special blue, when referred by the other industries. Normally it is opaque or translucent on thin edges. The spherical shaped Turquoise with an unbroken surface are called Nuggets, where as Flats have their length and width more than their thickness. One can find the Native American jewelry with turquoise all over the world. Even most of the countries have been using turquoise in every sphere of life starting from an excellent birthday gift ending with the remedies for Saturn.
Chemically it consists of Copper, Aluminum, Phosphorus etc. Sometimes Iron comes as an impurity. For the curiosity of the students of Chemistry, the chemical name of Turquoise is Hydrous copper aluminum phosphate, the formula is CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8 * 5H2O. The mix of iron results shades towards green, while the iron-free one is intense blue. The zinc turn it to yellowish green colour. The hardness is between Five and Six. Just for the comparison, window glasses have a hardness above six. Sometimes one can find some dark markings inside turquoise because of the presence of matrix, the mother stone of turquoise.
Turquoise has been mined in many places throughout the world. As it is formed when water percolates through rocks that contain copper, It is often found with copper deposits. Today, it can be found in various parts of the world like USA, Iran, Siam, China, Japan, Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, India, China etc. But the quality and colour varies because of the geographical locations. Like Clear blue Turquoise are taken out from Persia where as the Indian counter parts produce greenish Turquoise. Today most of the finest Turquoise from Iran as well as some of the south western countries of US.
The usage started in the year 4000 BC in Egypt. Persia and China were the two main sources of turquoise. Even today Chinese mines are contributing a significant portion of turquoise all over the world. The history reveals that Pharaohs and Aztec Kings used to were Turquoise, the robin’s egg blue gemstone.
Turquoise are too soft by nature. The process stabilization in which liquid plastic is injected to bring extra brightness and hardness. Turquoise are thoroughly dried by intense and prolonged heat treatment. Several Chemicals are used to enhance or change color. Its very difficult to get natural turquoise today. The astonishing part of turquoise is that no two pieces are generally alike. Gradually the high grade turquoise is becoming rarer. But even the medium grade looks better than diamonds.
The term “Persian Turquoise” became the hallmark for the quality of turquoise. In the earlier days a common perception was, if the colour gets changed, it’s a danger signal for the wearer. Later on, many chemical tests have found out the reason for changing colour or fading to establish its scientific notion over the prejudices and illusions. Contrary to foolish beliefs, No test result as yet has shown any health danger or toxicity of this mineral. So, you may easily go for a turquoise today, if your pocket permits.
Persian philosopher Al Kazwini wrote: “The hand wearing a Turquoise and using it as a sealing stone, will never be poor.” There are several stories about its nomenclature. Perhaps the French derived it. It came into Europe during the time of crusades and was named Turquoise to refer it as a Turkish stone. It reached India perhaps at the time of Mughal empire. The Indian astrologers believe the sky colour of the stone has got direct links with the sky, thus controlling the astrological behavior of the human body.
The caution message for the turquoise buyers is that they should be careful of imitations. Perhaps the Egyptians paved the way for the imitators. Its very difficult to test its originality. Try to buy this precious jewelry from a shop of repute, which has got market credentials or from someone you know personally for long. You may contact The Zach-Low Turquoise Museum, New Mexico for information. The sleeping beauty Turquoise is now available to the public from the Sleeping beauty mountain, Arizona, which was originally mined for copper and gold.
The increased demand of Turquoise has hyped the price even upto $2,200 per kg. As this is one of the most precious stone, don’t forget to take enough care for maintaining its colour and beauty. Protect it from direct sunlight, heat and other cosmetics. Never ever keep turquoise with other hard stones. Never rub it. This jewelry should be wiped clean to deter its fading tendency due to skin oil and other natural factors. Clean it with warm water and dry it immediately. Otherwise it can fade, fading your luck also!