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Monday, April 23, 2018

T is for Turquoise

Turquoise - pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Turquoise is an opaque green to blue mineral.  This mineral is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum.  It’s been known by many names but ended up with the name turquoise because its arrival in Europe in the 17th century was through Turkey from mines in Persia.

Turquoise is typically found in arid regions, suggesting climate plays a big part in its formation.

Turquoise - pics courtesy of Wikipedia

Turquoise was among the first gems ever mined.  The mining is done by hand in small scale operations.  It’s often discovered as a byproduct of large scale copper mining in the United States.  Copper mines are also found in Iran and on the Sanai Peninsula.  The southwest United States is a significant source of turquoise.  Sometimes in an attempt to meet demand, turquoise is treated or enhanced.  Sometimes these treatments also include  waxing or dyeing.

Even though turquoise was used in ancient times, it didn’t become significant until the 14th century following a decline in the Roman Catholic Churches influence which allowed the stone to be used in secular jewelry.

Turquoise - pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Turquoise was thought to change color with the wearers health and protect him or her from untoward forces.

Turquoise was widely used by the Aztecs, Pueblo, Navajo and Apache tribes.  They cherished turquoise as amulets.

Turquoise - pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Turquoise is fragile and sensitive to solvents and even perfume.  Care must be taken so as to avoid contact with body lotion, sunscreen and cosmetics.  It’s also best to keep turquoise away from direct sunlight, as it can fade with prolonged sun exposure.

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