TURQUOISE: The Sky Stone of Ancient Civilisations

TURQUOISE: The Sky Stone of Ancient Civilisations

Turquoise, with its distinctive blue-green hue, has captivated human imagination for millennia. This opaque gemstone, prized by ancient civilisations and modern jewellery enthusiasts alike, boasts a rich history and unique aesthetic appeal. Its vibrant colour, reminiscent of clear skies and tranquil waters, has made it a perennial favourite in the world of gemstones and jewellery.

Properties

Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium, typically forming in arid regions. It ranges from sky blue to green, often featuring matrix patterns of its host rock. With a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6, turquoise is relatively soft compared to many gemstones. Its opaque nature and distinctive colour make it easily recognisable. High-quality turquoise is uniform in colour, while lower grades may show mottling or veins.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Turquoise has been mined and prized for over 6,000 years. Ancient Egyptians, including Tutankhamun, adorned themselves with turquoise jewellery. Native American cultures highly valued the stone, using it in religious ceremonies and as a powerful talisman. The Aztecs and Persians also revered turquoise, incorporating it into elaborate mosaics and royal regalia. Its name is believed to derive from the French phrase "pierre turquoise," meaning "Turkish stone," due to the trade route through which it reached Europe.

Symbolism and Meanings

Throughout history, turquoise has been associated with protection, wisdom, and tranquillity. Many cultures believed it could ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune. Native American tribes saw it as a bridge between earth and sky, often using it in rituals to invoke rainfall. In some traditions, turquoise was thought to change colour in response to its wearer's health or impending danger, though this is likely due to the stone's natural tendency to react with oils, moisture, and sunlight.

Jewellery Applications

Turquoise's versatility makes it popular in various jewellery styles. It's commonly used in statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings. Its softness means it's often used in protected settings or as inlays. Turquoise pairs beautifully with both silver and gold, making it adaptable to different jewellery designs. It's particularly associated with Southwestern and Native American-inspired jewellery, but also features in modern and bohemian styles.

Care and Maintenance

Due to its relative softness and porous nature, turquoise requires careful handling. Clean your turquoise jewellery with a soft, damp cloth, avoiding harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners. Store turquoise pieces separately from harder gemstones to prevent scratching. Avoid exposing turquoise to prolonged sunlight, heat, or oils, as these can alter its colour. Remove turquoise jewellery before swimming or applying cosmetics to maintain its lustre.

Turquoise, with its captivating colour and rich history, continues to be a beloved gemstone in the world of jewellery. Its unique appearance and cultural significance make it more than just a decorative stone—it's a piece of human history. Whether you're drawn to its beauty, intrigued by its lore, or simply love its distinctive hue, turquoise offers a timeless appeal that transcends trends, making it a worthy addition to any jewellery collection.


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