The Beauty and History of Turquoise:
With Tips to Know Before You Shop
beauty and history of turquoise is hard to surpass! Seeped with
history and mystery it is truly a captivating stone.
history dates back over 6000 years. Archaeological and literary
references to the gemstone predate the Christian era by five millennia.
It has been unearthed in tombs from ancient Egypt...specifically
the 4 bracelets of Queen Zar, found on her mummified arm. These
date back to the second ruler of Egypt's First Dynasty, approximately
and Pliny both refer to turquoise. Marco Polo even wrote about
it. Turquoise has always been considered a stone of life. It also
has a long standing history of more than 1000 years with Native
Americans who have used it extensively for protection and healing.
The stone was also used in religion, art, trade, treaty negotiations
and, of course, treasured jewelry.
Turquoise - the healing stone
use as a healing stone reaches far into history. It has been used
for headaches, eye problems, fever and insect bites to name just
a few. It was ground to a powder then swallowed to cure stomach
ailments. Turquoise also has significant metaphysical properties.
It is a harmonizing stone that is said to alleviate nervousness,
help with problem solving, relieve stress from a hectic life,
and promote friendship. It is also well known for its protective
qualities and people from many different cultures have been known
to carry turquoise stones with them at all times.
Shopping for turquoise jewelry
is often strung on beads, carved into animal fetishes, or combined
with other stones such as onyx, amethyst, or coral. Its color
ranges from brilliant sky blue to green and it usually has black
or brown veins running through it. In jewelry it is very popular
set in sterling silver. Silver enhances the natural colors of
the turquoise much better than gold. Turquoise is found in North
American, especially in the dry areas of Arizona and New Mexico.
It is also found in China, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, and Persia.
can be rather porous and chalky and is often not suitable for
jewelry until it is treated. There
are various processes that are used on turquoise.
Stabilization is one treatment which is used on turquoise. In this process a
resinous substance is bonded to the raw gemstone. Pressure and
heat are applied and the microscopic gaps in the stone fill with
the plastic resin. When cured the product is a treated stone hard
enough to cut and polish. Stabilization allows genuine but lower
grade turquoise to be used in jewelry. Stabilization helps to
keep the stone from chipping and prevents changes in color from
contact with skin oils. Wax treatment is also very common with
turquoise. This process is often used with turquoise from China.
Paraffin wax is impregnated into the turquoise to deepen and stabilizes
the color but it only affects the surface.
may be made with reconstituted turquoise. Inferior gemstones are
ground into a powder and this turquoise dust is molded together
with epoxy resin, dyed and pressed into stone shaped forms - they
look good but don't have the value of a real stone.
is referred to as 'block' turquoise. To make this type of turquoise, plastic
resin and dyes are mixed and then shaped into blocks of turquoise
about the size of a loaf of bread. There are no actual turquoise
gem stones in this mix, it is entirely man made and should be
labeled simulated. It is made in many colors and produces a very
attractive and durable stone. Block turquoise is used extensively
for inlay work.
So, when in
the market for turquoise jewelry be aware of what you are purchasing.
Simulated turquoise and a natural piece of turquoise jewelry are
both terrific. Whatever your needs are, just be certain the product
you are purchasing is priced according to its composition.