Join us this Saturday evening as we travel around the world for the exotic turquoise stone, mined across the globe from Sleeping Beauty and Kingman in the USA along with sources from China and Mexico.
Turquoise is highly valued for its combination of ancient heritage and unforgettable colour, which can range from dull and grass-greens to a bright, medium-toned, sky blue. The traditional source for the top colour of turquoise is the Nishapur district of Iran (formerly known as Persia). Commonly turquoise of this colour is referred to as 'Persian blue', whether or not it was actually mined in Iran.
Sleeping Beauty turquoise is known for its robin's egg blue hues, whilst Kingman is known for its deep blue with matrix and lines. Mexican turquoise features more of a softer lake blue/green hue, and it is common to find some visible matrix, and even small spots of pyrite in some of the pieces.
Below we've put together a fascinating fact file about this gorgeous stone (pay attention – there will be a test later!)
- Turquoise is the oldest of December's birthstones, and also marks the 11th wedding anniversary
- Possibly the most famous turquoise can be seen in the inlay of Egyptian King Tutankhamen's funeral mask
- Turquoise tiles decorate the facade of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the portal of the St. Petersburg mosque
HISTORY & FOLKLORE
One of the world's most ancient gems, archaeological excavations revealed that the rulers of ancient Egypt adorned themselves with turquoise jewellery, and Chinese artisans were carving it more than 3000 years ago. It was also a ceremonial gem for Native American tribes in the southwestern US, who believed that turquoise attached to a bow or firearm increased a hunter's or warrior's accuracy.
Dating back as far as 4000 BC, turquoise buried in Ancient Egyptian tombs is among the world's oldest jewellery. The Ancient Egyptians called turquoise 'mefkat', which also means 'joy' and 'delight'.
The national gem of Tibet, turquoise has long represented health, good fortune, and protection from evil. The gem's name, which originated in the thirteenth century, comes from the French expression 'pierre tourques', meaning 'Turkish stone', alluding to the fact that the material probably first arrived in Europe from Turkish sources.
THE SCIENCE BIT
Turquoise deposits usually form in iron-rich limonite or sandstone. Limonite creates dark brown markings in turquoise, while sandstone creates tan markings. These markings are remnants of the host rock within the turquoise, and can resemble splotches or veins, which are known as matrix.
And now for the test…. pens at the ready…
Don't worry – just kidding! But do tune in this Saturday 23rd August at 8pm to learn more about the amazing places this mystical gemstone is found, and to find out more about our collection of turquoise jewellery from the experts themselves.