Origin and Supply of Turquoise
Turquoise is a gorgeous opaque gemstone that is rare to find in high-grade quality. It has been composed of hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium. It can be categorised as a mineral and is available in a stunning blue-green colour. It is usually seen to be found in arid regions where the land is barren and dry.When it comes to the supply of this beautiful stone, its gemstone-quality specimens are rarely found. There are only a few regions where you can mine the high-grade and fine-quality jewels. In fact, turquoise’s varieties are sometimes also categorised by their origins! Below are some of the more popular origins of it.
Arizona – Both Mojave Turquoise as well as Sleeping Beauty Turquoise are being mined from the state of Arizona, USA. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is called so as the mountain from where it is mined resembles quite closely to the shape of a woman lying on her back with her arms closed. The mine started operating about 40 years ago, when it was dug up to locate copper and gold. Other source in Arizona itself is Arizona Kingman Mine, which is popular and famously known for the rare, prized, and extraordinary Mojave turquoise.
Iran – Previously known as Persia, the country is extremely popular for its finest grade of the said gemstones. Persian turquoises have an exceptional brilliance of both colour and texture. These extraordinary features are the reason why they are counted among the most expensive varieties of the stone. Major mines of the jewel are located near the city called Nishapur.
How is Turquoise Mined?
The procurement of turquoise is usually done using heavy machinery. Light explosives are used to break the surface of Earth and promising veins are located that might carry the beautiful gem. Then the rubble is raked and small rocks carrying the stone are collected. Even though using dynamite and other explosives offers a higher yield, it is destructive if you wish to locate bigger sizes. Turquoise has stability that is only a little bit more durable than that of glass, so explosives cause damage to the size.
Commercially, only a single location has been placed in Iran, from where they mine the beautiful gem, and it is located in a small section of Ali-Mersai Mountain Range, which lies just on the outside of the city called Mashhad. More turquoise is mined from popular locations in Arizona as well as Nevada, where the gem is only the by-product of mines that are dig up to locate copper and gold.
Facts About Turquoise
- Birthstone Turquoise has been assigned for the month of December. Other days when you can gift it are 5th and 11th wedding anniversary. It is believed that it will bring good luck and prosperity and fortune to the wearer.
- The stone is actually believed to be among the oldest stones found by and known to humanity. In fact, many gorgeous specimens have been noted in Egyptian temples and palaces, used as décor.
- Ancient Persians associated the colour change of turquoise with health of the wearer. They believed that if the colour was bright and even, it meant that the wearer is healthy. As the stone lost it colour, it signified depleting health, and when it comes to almost white, it usually meant the death of wearer.
- It is believed that the stone is formed over years in barren lands and arid rocks, where water slowly seeps into rocks rich with aluminium and copper. It is because of the presence of these that it gets it colours and patterns.
- In ancient times, the stone was also associated with masculinity as well as nobility. It was believed that every rich man or aristocrat had do wear a stunning piece of this noticeable gem. This would signify of their wealth and manners.
- It is popularly believed that the stone gets it name from the colour “turquoise blue.” However, this is not true. The name actually has French origin and translates into Turkish. This is because in older times, the stone was imported into Europe from Turkey.
- Native Americans consider it to be a sacred stone. They continue to believe that it holds an incredible amount of positivity and power. This might be a reason why most shamans in their culture are seen wearing it.
- Turquoise ranks very low on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. It only ranks at 5-6, which means that it has a very weak structure. Some might even say that it has hardness only a little more than glass.
- Persian Turquoise, which are known to be mined in Iran (previously known as Persia,) are the most expensive variety of the stone. They’re rare and the country has restrictions against its export, which make it extremely valued.
- The gem is considered to be among the most prized gems of Tibet. They believe that by wearing it, it may protect the wearer from evil and negative energies. This is why you’ll note its popular use in amulets and talismans.
Properties of Turquoise
1. Colour: Among the most noticeable features is the turquoise colour. The gem is known for its blue-green hue that can be seen in almost all specimens. However, that’s not the only colour that is available in. The gem sees many other bright and vibrant shades, most of which are featured in its variety called Mojave Turquoise. Other than that, you may also note webbing and/ or copper veining that make its aesthetics more appealing. That said, the most popular shade you’ll find is blue. Other rarer stones feature a lime green-blue colour slightly green-ish blue, too.
2. Cut: Due to its smooth and polished nature, the stone looks best in cabochon forms. The most popular cuts of this stone are smaller, given its soft nature. You may find lots of different shapes in the cabochon, like round, cushion, heart, circle, and many more. In other variances, you may also find popularity in its beaded forms. Many designers experiment and also deliver oval or oblong beads, which bring a fresh wave of new cuts in the field.
3. Clarity: Another feature of turquoise is its clarity, or lack thereof. It is a gem that is only found in opaque clarity. In some extremely rare cases, you may locate a stone that is semi-translucent. The major factors affecting its clarity are the webbing and veining that are seen on its surface. Available in smoothened cabochon forms, these stones are among the few stones that are make the cut famous, and not the other way.
4. Carat Lastly, the quality of turquoise is also affected by its carat weight. Turquoise is available in a whole range of sizes, from the small versions to rarely seen bigger specimens. However, carat doesn’t have a lot of effect on fluctuation of prices of these stones. You may find the gem in several carats from as little as 1 to even 5 or 6!
Turquoise Gemstone Treatment - Like many other gemstones, turquoise too, undergoes treatments. One of the most popular of these treatments is oiling or waxing. In this, a sheen layer of smoothening oil or wax is applied for a “wetting” effect. This forms a layer on the stone, which enhances its lustre and colour both. Other noted treatment is stabilization, where epoxy or resin is filled on the stone to make it more durable. This is done because naturally, turquoise is a relatively softer stone.
What to Remember While Buying Turquoise?
- Even though turquoise is a comparatively cheaper stone, there are still lots of tips and advises that you can never have too much of. It always seems to be helpful when you know a little bit about the stone beforehand as you go out shopping for it. Here are mentioned a few tips and tricks that will bring you the best grade for your buck
- 1.First and foremost, you need to educate yourself about the stone. If you’re going out specifically to buy this, know about it as much as you can. Having more information on it may ensure that it has a better quality for the price you’re paying.
- 2.Another tip is to try determining the value by yourself. Like most of the other gemstones, turquoise has distinguishable 4Cs, too. These quality factors are colour, cut, carat, and clarity. Study the affecting factors as they’re described above in detail.
- 3.Most of the gemstones in today’s circulating market have gone under some sort of treatment. There is a high possibility that your stone, too, has been through some process that enhances it colour or stability. Always ask your jeweller about the treatment before investing in the gem.
- 4.No turquoise is alike the other stone of the same family. It will always have some difference in colour or patterns. Whereas, the imitations have perfectly same colour and patterns as the other.
- 5.Origin of your stone is also extremely valuable. Turquoises mined from different locations have different prices. The specimens mined from Nevada will always be cheaper than the stones that are procured from Iran (Persia.) Know where your stone comes from.
- 6.Best qualities of the stone boast of AA, AAA, or AAAA grade. These mean that the stone has barely been through any treatment and is presented in its completely natural form. These stones are extremely rare, and therefore, usually higher priced.
- 7.Turquoise ranks extremely low on the Mohs Scale of Hardness (only 5-6.) This means that the stone is tougher than glass, and by only a little grade. Make sure that the stone you’re buying features the same strength as imitations usually have a different structure and stability.
- 8. Natural turquoise is always a lot more expensive than the treated pieces. If you’re getting an astounding price bargain for your gem even though dealer claims it’s real, then beware. Only the treated stones come in cheap.
- 9. Turquoise is a water-based stone. It is formed over the years as rainwater falls on the mountains and is collected in the rocks of aluminium and copper. This results in the brilliant streaking, too. Know that your stone will always be slightly porous due to this construct.
- 10. If the dealer is claiming that what you’re being given is natural turquoise, know that your stone is going to change its colour when it is exposed to detergent, water, and some other chemicals, too. If it doesn’t, it’s not natural.
Frequently Asked Questions About Turquoise
No, even though some of its varieties may have gold tinge in streaks, it doesn’t mean that the stone has gold. Most of these deposits are copper. The boulders that turquoise come from rocks that are rich in copper and aluminium, hence the streaks of gold.
The most precious colour of this gem is considered to be in medium blue. The absence of matrix just makes it even more beautiful. If it comes in a shape that offers great polishing, its value will instantly shoot up.
A precious and beautiful variety of the stone that is mined from Sleeping Beauty mines, located in Arizona, USA. The mines are called so because the shape of the mountain where they’re located resembles the silhouette of a woman lying on her back, with her hands crossed.
Since ancient times, the gem is known to harbour lots of powers and benefits. It is believed to be the stone of protection and is often worn as talisman or amulet. Many believe that it offers good luck and positivity to the wearer.
Yes, turquoise has been assigned as birthstone of the month of December. It was added to the list back in the year 1912. Many believe that by wearing it, people born during the month may wear luck, joy, and happiness.
To many, this gem symbolises protection and strength. To many others, its open-sky hues represent freedom and independence. Ancients also wore the gem as a protective stone that keeps them away from evil eye.
The gorgeous blue gem is found in several locations spanning across the globe. Most of its reserves are found in arid and barren areas. As of current, the most popular mines of it are placed in Arizona, Iran, Mexico, China, Chile, and Australia.
Turquoise ranks extremely low on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which is only at 5-6. This means that the gem is extremely susceptible to damage and cracks upon impact. Its low durability makes it very to be chipped off or scratched.
It is not advisable for you to place your stone in water, and most of it has to do with the fact that it has water elements in it. To clean your stone, you can dampen a cloth or a brush and very gently scrape off the grime. Clean the stone once again using a lightly damp cloth. Do not place in in water for a long time.
There are some extremely easy tricks for that. If your stone is in the beaded form, check its insides; if it’s white, then your stone is probably a fake. Also, if there are small bubbles in your stone, it is more probably made from glass.