Turquoise is one of the oldest known gems. The Egyptians were mining turquoise in 3200 BC in the Sinai . The stone was thought to have powerful metaphysical properties by many ancient cultures. It was thought to promote prosperity and offer protection from evil.
The name turquoise means ATurkish stone@ after the trade route that brought the gem from the Eastern Mediterranean into Europe. Today the supply of turquoise is plentiful and the gem is used in cabochon cut for brooches, necklaces, rings and bracelets as well as carved figurines. The gem is also fashioned into beads for jewelry.
Turquoise is porous and should be kept away heat and household chemicals. It rates a 5 on the Moh=s Hardness Scale. The brighter and clearer blue the color, and the clearer, more even the texture the greater the value. Turquoise can also be pale blue to greenish blue or pale green and can contain narrow black, green or brown veins of other material sometimes referred to as matrix. Turquoise is commonly impregnated with paraffin to create or improve color and increase durability. This treatment has good stability.
Turquoise is the original birthstone for those born in the month of December. The faceted choice was added later and is blue zircon. The latest addition to the December birthstone list is tanzanite as an alternate choice to blue zircon. If you were born in the month of December, you have more choices then most of us as to what you want to call your birthstone. Or, better yet, don=t limit yourself to one - use all three!
The major mining sources for turquoise are US, Australia, Chile, China and Mexico.
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