The allure of Turquoise has spanned the globe for over 5,000 years. It was prized by the Egyptians and adorns one of the most treasured and recognizable archeological artifacts, King Tutankhamun's burial mask. The ancient Chinese carved it into elaborate sculptures which adorn graves dating back to 3000 BC. In Meso-America, the Aztec Chief's wore Turquoise beads as a mark of distinction and were even buried with a piece of the gemstone in their mouth. In 1519 AD thinking that the Spanish Conquistador Cortes was Queztacoatl, King Montezuma gave him Turquoise, the god's favorite gemstone. Turquoise was also used as a currency between many Native American Tribes.
With such a global impact, the mystical properties of Turquoise have trickled down through the millennia. It was once believed that Turquoise would change color to warn the owner of an impending illness. It was also thought that by affixing a piece of Turquoise to the bridle of a horse you could protect yourself and the horse from falls. The Apache would attach Turquoise to a hunter's bow to improve accuracy.
The name Turquoise is derived from the French term, pierre turques, meaning Turkish stone. This is due to the fact that Turkish traders introduced the gemstone to Europe in 1200 AD via the legendary Silk Road.
Found only in arid and barren regions of the globe it is quite rare and the vibrant blue color conjures images of the perfect summer sky. This beautiful gemstone owes its color to the presence of copper, which creates some of the most intense blue stones found in nature. It is relatively soft, with a Mohs scale rating ranging from 5 to 6, which allows Turquoise to be easily carved and shaped into cabochons and beads.
Also, check out the podcast episode the Gem Junkies dedicated to the blue gemstone:
Turquoise, It's good enough for Marie.
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