Gemstone Focus: Turquoise


This December birthstone has been used for millennia in jewellery. It was a favourite of Egyptian Pharoahs who often adorned themselves in it. And it has been carved it into beautful pieces of art in China for over 3000 years. As such turquoise has rich history with lots of lore attached to it.

It was once believed that wearing turquoise would ensure good health and wealth. It was also believed to protect the wearer from falling off of horses. In Native American traditions, the Apache believed you could find turquoise at the end of rainbow, while the Hopi believed turquoise was created when lizards ran over the earth.

Turquoise was often used in forget-me-not jewellery in the 17 and 18th century, often exchanged between lovers who were separated.

In addition to being one of December’s birthstones it is the wedding anniversary gemstone for the 11th anniversary.

Facts, Care, Value:

Turquoise is found around the world. Historically, it was mined in Iran which was known for striking bright blue stones sometimes referred to as “robin egg” blue. New Mexico, was a big producer in the US until the 1920’s and since then, Arizona is the major producer in the US. Today most turquoise is mined in China and America.

Much natural turquoise is found with veins or matrix running through it. Matrix is the rock material where the turquoise formed. It is a relatively soft gemstone sitting at 5-6 on the Mohs scale so it is susceptible to scratching. Protective settings are advisable.

Almost all turquoise except for the highest grades are stabilized by injecting or infusing it with wax or resin. This improves hardness and resilience in the stone. Some small pieces of turquoise may also be compacted together with a resin binder to make a matrix type turquoise. These are generally accepted provided they are disclosed. There are also numerous simulants for turquoise, most notably dyed Howlite.

Turquoise is generally found in abundance so it is relatively inexpensive. The main determining factors in its value is in the types of treatment it may have received. But in general prices range from $1 -$10 per carat, thus this lovely gemstone can be enjoyed by everyone.

Hope you enjoyed reading a little about turquoise!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *