TurquoiseTurquoise is the birthstone of December & the anniversary gemstone for the 11th year of marriage.
Turquoise, or the robin's egg blue gemstone worn by Pharaohs and Aztec Kings, is probably one of the oldest gemstones known. Yet, only its prized blue color, a color so distinctive that its name is used to describe any color that resembles it, results in its being used as a gemstone.
Turquoise has been, since about 200 B.C., extensively used by both southwestern U.S Native Americans and by many of the Indian tribes in Mexico. The Native American Jewelry or "Indian style" jewelry with turquoise mounted in or with silver is relatively new. Some believe this style of Jewelry was unknown prior to about 1880, when a white trader persuaded a Navajo craftsman to make turquoise and silver jewelry using coin silver. Prior to this time, the Native Americans had made solid turquoise beads, carvings, and inlaid mosaics.
Recently, turquoise has found wide acceptance among people of all walks of life and from many different ethnic groups. 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 the Alimersai Mountain region 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 material 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.
For thousands of years the finest intense blue turquoise in the world was found in Persia, and the term "Persian Turquoise" became synonymous with the finest quality. This changed during the late 1800's and early 1900's when modern miners discovered or rediscovered significant deposits of high-quality turquoise in the western and southwestern United States. Material from many of these deposits was just as fine as the finest "Persian."
Today, the term "Persian Turquoise" is more often a definition of quality than a statement of origin, and the majority of the world's finest-quality turquoise comes from the United States, the largest producer of turquoise.
|Turquoise - Main Characteristics|
|Hardness (Mohs Scale)||5.5|
|Composition||Salt of phosphoric acid.|
|Atomic (Crystal )Structure||No crystallization.|
|Index of Refraction||1.4|
|Density (Relative)||2.25 - 2.27|
|Uses||Jewelry, ornamental, decorative.|
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