Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rock Review: Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise with Coral earrings on Etsy
Today’s featured gem, Turquoise, is one of the historically oldest mined gems in the world. It has been worn by many cultures over thousands of years in places like Turkey, Persia, Egypt and Mexico. It owes is name to the French who called it Turquoise since it was first brought to France from Turkey. A few other historical names for the stone can be found including Chalchihuitl in Aztec and Callais in Greek.
Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum that occurs over time when weathering, oxidation and percolating acidic solutions cause these minerals to chemically combine. The blue tones in Turquoise are a result of the presence of copper. Green and teal colors appear due either to dehydration or sometimes the presence of iron. One of the unique and beautiful properties of Turquoise is its trademark dark and somewhat shiny veins which are actually deposits of aluminum, pyrite and limonite. Turquoise is esteemed by many not only for it’s lovely robin’s egg blue color, but also for its waxy opaque luster which differs greatly from the abundance of glassy, faceted gems in today’s gem market and brings visual interest to a jewelry collection.
The American South West has long been known to be a major source of Turquoise in the world and the gem has become a staple of South West fashions. Other worldwide sources of the gem are found in the Middle East and in China. Many established Turquoise mines in the U.S. and abroad continue their operations today just as they have in decades past through seasonal, hand worked procedures that use little to no large scale machinery. Since the stone is so greatly loved across cultures and so carefully obtained, it’s likely that jewelry collectors will continue to hold Turquoise in high value for a few more millennia!

New Turquoise from Layne Designs:

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