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All About The Spiritual Gemstone Turquoise
What is Turquoise?
Turquoise is a very attractive greenish-blue gemstone that has been prized for centuries for its beautiful colour, healing properties and as a bringer of good luck and happiness. In technical terms, it is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium and high grade, gem quality turquoise is quite rare and valuable. It is found in the United States, China, the Sinai, Afghanistan, Chile, Australia, parts of Central Europe, Turkestan and Cornwall.
This beautiful blueish-green gemstone has been mined since ancient times, and the Ancient Egyptians mined for it extensively in the Sinai. Two of the most important of the mines in the ancient Sinai were Wadi Maghareh and Serabit el-Khadim, and there were also strong links from the turquoise mines to the cult of the Egyptian goddess of love and beauty, Hathor. In the United States, deposits of the gemstone in California and New Mexico were worked by pre-Columbian Native Americans, who used stone tools to gouge the precious turquoise from the rocks.
How Do You Value Turquoise?
So how do you determine the value of a turquoise? Like a lot of gemstones, it is valued by the depth of the colour of the stone and by its hardness. The most sought after colour ranges from deep sky blue to more greenish –blue hues. It is important that it is hard, for if it is soft and friable, the colour of the stone is likely to fade and not be able to withstand the day-to-day wear it would get when set in a piece of jewelry.
Sometimes there are black veins running through the gemstone that are known as ‘spiderweb matrix’. This ‘spiderweb’ matrix is valued in some parts of the world, such as the Far East and the Southwest United States, but is not viewed as favourably in others, where they prefer turquoise to be free of veins and totally unblemished.
As it is a phosphate mineral, it should never be exposed to hairspray, perfume or cosmetics if at all possible, because they can all damage the surface of the gemstone and cause discolouration. Put all of your cosmetics and perfume on before you put on your turquoise jewelry, and when you take it off clean it gently with a soft cloth and put them in a box on their own so that they are not damaged by any of the harder jewels in your collection.
Turquoise is frequently treated to improve both its colour and durability. Quite often the fact that the gemstone has been treated is not disclosed and only a professional gemmologist can test it to see what treatments it has been subjected to. The oldest treatment for turquoise, which goes back to ancient times, is lightly waxing and oiling the gemstone.
This process enhances the lustre and colour of the stone, but oiled and waxed turquoises can ‘sweat’ in the heat and they then can develop a white bloom over them as time goes on. A more modern treatment is to produce stones ‘bonded’ with plastic or water glass. Low grade turquoise that would otherwise be unsellable is impregnated with the water glass or plastic under pressure, which produces a wetting effect on the gemstone and makes it a lot tougher and therefore more useable.
Turquoise in Ancient Times
For many ancient peoples it was a symbol of their wealth, and turquoise ornaments and jewelry adorned the rulers of Ancient Egypt, Persia, the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, China and the Aztecs and the Olmecs. The Aztecs used this gemstone as an inlay when they created mosaic articles, such as ceremonial masks. The Navajo, Pueblo and Apaches tribes of North America used to wear turquoise as an amulet for protection, and believed that the wearing of this semi-precious stone ensured that an Indian warrior would never miss his aim with a bow and arrow when out hunting or fighting.
It is also a very spiritual stone, and is worn to open and strengthen the connection to the spirit world and to increase psychic sensitivity. It is said to boost creativity and serenity in the wearer. If you are given one as a gift by someone who loves you, this turquoise will protect you from bad luck and negative energy. During the Middle Ages in Europe, they thought that a turquoise would change colour if its owner was ill or in danger, with the gemstone reverting back to its original colour once the threat had passed.
It was also supposed to warn its wearer of poisoning, as it would become damp and discoloured if the wearer had been poisoned. It is said that King John of England knew that he had been fatally poisoned because of the changes that he saw in his turquoise gemstones.
Turquoise is the December Birthstone
It is regarded as the traditional birthstone for the month of December and the astrological sign of Sagittarius, and this birthstone is also associated with prosperity, good fortune, success and happiness. It is said to confer protection from disease, strength and the power to regenerate on those born in December. It is also the gemstone traditionally associated with the 11th wedding anniversary, so if you are approaching this anniversary and do not know what to give your beloved, why not give an anniversary gift of turquoise jewelry?
It is a gemstone that is believed to have many healing properties for the wearer and is thought to help with rheumatism, viral infections, gout, and stomach problems. Wearing turquoise is also said to be effective for helping to relieve medical conditions concerning the throat, teeth and lungs and is said to help with asthma and depression. This exquisite gemstone is said to increase growth, alleviate pain and acts as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifying gemstone. It is a semi-precious stone that should be worn over the solar plexus to gain optimum health benefits and this healing crystal works very well in conjunction with copper.
Native American Turquoise and Silver Jewelry
The very striking silver jewelry produced nowadays by the Navajo and other tribes in the south west of the US is of fairly recent origin and only started to be produced from around 1880. There are now many expert craftspeople in this region producing silver and turquoise jewelry. The jewelry is made in a variety of different styles, and there are pieces created in traditional Native American styles and in much more modern, chunkier styles. All types of silver and turquoise jewelry are made, and you can buy turquoise pendants, necklaces, bracelets, beads, watches, brooches and earrings.
Where To Find The Best Turquoise Jewelry
One of the best ways to find great turquoise jewelry is to go online, where you will be able to see superb pieces that have been produced in many different countries around the world. We usually expect to see turquoise set in gleaming sterling silver, but you can also find stones set in gold or even in more exotic metals like copper. Whether you prefer chunky jewelry or dainty jewelry, you are bound to find that perfect piece of turquoise jewelry. Remember, if you give turquoise jewelry as a gift with a loving heart, you are conferring good health and good fortune on your loved one or friend.
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