Turquoise

“My first feeling was a wild desire to drive a stake in the sand and claim the place for myself. The beach was white as salt, and cut off from the world by a ring of steep hills that faced the sea. We were on the edge of a large bay and the water was that clear, turquoise color that you get with a white sand bottom. I had never seen such a place. I wanted to take off all my clothes and never wear them again.” 

― Hunter S. Thompson

What is Turquoise?

Turquoise is a mineral occurring in beautiful shades of blue, bluish green, green, and yellowish green. It has been treasured as a gemstone for thousands of years. The ancient people of Africa, Asia, South America, and North America made turquoise one of their preferred materials for producing gemstones.

The earliest record of turquoise used in jewellery is from Egypt. Turquoise has been found in royal burials over 6000 years old. Around 4000 years ago, miners in Persia produced a blue variety of turquoise with a "sky blue" or "robin's-egg blue" colour. And became popular through Asia and into Europe. This is the source of the colour "Persian Blue".

Turquoise is a copper-based mineral. The English language also use “turquoise” as the name of a slightly greenish blue colour that is so typical for high-quality turquoise.

Occurrence

Turquoise is usually found as an aggregate of microcrystals. When the microcrystals are packed closely together, the turquoise has a lower porosity, greater durability, and polishes to a higher lustre.

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Turquoise forms best in an arid climate, which determines the geography of turquoise sources. Most of the world's turquoise is currently produced in the southwestern United States, China, Chile, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico.

 

In these areas, rainfall permeates through soil and rock, dissolving small amounts of copper. When this water is later evaporated, the copper combines with aluminium and phosphorus to deposit tiny amounts of turquoise on the walls of subsurface fractures.

Turquoise can also replace the rock in contact with these waters. If the replacement is complete, a solid mass of turquoise will be formed.