Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue.
The substance has been known by many names, but the word turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an Old French word for “Turkish”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey, from the mines in historical Khorasan Province of Iran. Pliny the Elder referred to the mineral as callais, the Iranians named it “pirouzeh” and the Aztecs knew it as Teoxihuitl.
One of the first gems ever mined, turquoise delighted traders on the Silk Road, and is still associated with the Middle East. Apart from the exotic charm of its unbelievable rich colour, this association owes to the Persian Empire’s role as the premier source of the world’s turquoise for 2000 years. In present day Turkey, which the stone was most likely named after because of erroneous assumptions about the stone’s origins, turquoise can still be seen adorning the insides and outsides of mosques everywhere.
Crystal System – triclinic
Color – light blue – light green
Origin – Iran, Egypt, USA, China, Poland
Chakra – Throat
Zodiac sign – Sagittarius, Aquarius, Libra, Fish
Chinese Zodiac sign – Snake, Dog, Rat, Rabbit, Tiger
Element – Water, Air
Turquoise has been thought to aid the body’s healing process, centre the emotions, and provide physical protection from harm.