Turquoise is an opaque crystalline mineral composed chiefly of hydrated aluminum phosphate, and prized throughout he world as a gemstone. It has a hardness of 5 to 6, a specific gravity of 2.6 to 2.83, and, in the unpolished, shines with a feeble, waxy luster. The color ranges from blue and blue green to greenish gray, according to the various amounts of copper usually present.

The mineral has been valued for its ornamental properties since very ancient times and has been found in neckwear and bracelets recovered from old Egyptian tombs. The Aztec of Mexico commonly used turquoise for their fine, mosaic art, and introduced the stone to the surrounding areas, where it became known as chalchihuitl.

It occurs mostly in the form of kidney-shaped masses found in streams of igneous rocks; as incrustations on the surface of various slates; or as nodules in red sandstone. The sky-blue variety of turquoise, commonly referred to as robin's egg, is the from most desired for jewelry. When excessively exposed to sunlight or heat, this variety may become dehydrated and turn green. Principal deposits of finer, blue turquoise are located in Nishapur, Iran. Other varieties are found abundantly throughout Turkestan, Russia, the Sinai Peninsula, United Arab Republic, and Mexico. In the United States the mineral is worked extensively in the area of Santa Fe, New Mexico and in parts of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

When cut, the stones are usually egg-shaped or globular, the facets being low and convex. In this form, they are used today for numerous types of jewelry. The name turquoise is sometimes loosely applied to the occidental turquoise, bone turquoise, or odontolite, a fossil ivory colored blue by the action of copper solutions.

Magic & Myth

Sacred to both Native American and Oriental traditions, this stone helps to connect with spirit and brings the energy of the sky down to earth. It is helpful in expanding awareness while still maintaining practicality.

Turquoise moves the wearer toward integration and wholeness. Used on the throat, turquoise promotes communication and the ability to speak honestly, clearly and from the heart, and reminds us of our connection to earth and sky.

Ancient lore suggests that it also protects against environmental pollutants. In ancient times, turquoise was utilized to gain wealth. Wearing turquoise can speed the healing process. Lore also has it that the stone will change color when the owner is in danger.