Turquoise has always been one of my favorite stones. It has been popular for centuries among indigenous people across the globe- from the Southwestern United States, to the desert plains of the Middle East, and has a huge range of colors and textures, which make it fantastic for jewelry designing.
Turquoise was originally found in New Mexico and Colorado by primitive Native Americans who mined them with hand fashioned stone tools. Mines in New Mexico are considered the oldest turquoise mines in the USA, and today Arizona and Nevada are the biggest producers of turquoise by value, with more than 150 mines. Colorado has some of the most unique forms of turquoise, with specific mines catering to these kinds of turquoise. The Kingman mine, Sleeping Beuaty mine, Blue Bird mine, and Ithaca Peak mine are some. Turquoise has been found in Iran and Egypt for at least 2-5 thousands of years, and was used among royalty to decorate their dress and even the architecture of their palaces. China is also a source for turquoise, although not the most abundant.
According to Wikepedia, turquoise is a “hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum”, which basically translates into “wet copper”. When copper is exposed to moisture, it turns a blue-ish green color, hence why the statue of liberty is a turquoise color. The stone forms inside cracks, veins, or fillings on its matrix (parent) stone, but can also form small nuggets. Most American turquoise is considered lower quality “chalk turquoise” because of a higher iron content, and can have more yellows and greens, whereas Iranian turquoise is considered more “fine”, with less color streaks and iron content making the mineral more of a brilliant color.
Metaphysically, turquoise has thought to bring wisdom, power, protection and luck. It is also thought to aid in depression, anxiety, and exhaustion, as well as boosting the immune system. It dispels negative energies, and clears “electromagnetic smog” from the air, and enhances the communication between the physical and spiritual worlds, and brings together male and female energies. For these reasons it is considered a great throat chakra stone. It is said to reflect the colors of the vernal (spring) equinox, as it is a blending of winter’s blues and spring’s bountiful greens. So basically, it’s time for turquoise!
Turquoise specimen from the Smithsonian
King Tutankhamun's burial mask made of turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and gold.
Ancient turquoise and gold bangle, Persia (modern Iran), 12th Century
Two-headed turquoise serpent ceremonial ornament. Made from carved wood with turquoise and shell. Aztec, 1400-1521 CE.
Turquoise mine in Neyshabur, Iran.
The blue above is probably a blend of turquoise, chrysocolla, and azurite. Found in Arizona.