Where Glamour gets geeky
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One of the first gemstones to be mined, it has been prized through history for its intense color which varies from sky blue to green depending on the quantities of copper and iron present.
The weird and the wonderful
Sky-blue turquoise from Iran is considered the most desirable, although in Tibet a greener variety is preferred.
It was believed to warn its wearer of danger or illness by changing color – not highly improbable as due to its porous nature, when worn next to the skin, it can absorb oils and change color.
It was introduced from Persia to Europe through Turkey, hence its name which is derived from the word ‘Turkish’. It was the national gemstone of Persia, and was believed to bring good luck if the New Moon was reflected on a piece.
There is a turquoise embellished breast plate that belonged to the Egyptian Pharaoh Sesostris II (c.1840BC) currently in the Met, New York.
History in a nutshell
Beads dating from around 5000BC have been found in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).
Records show that Native Americans have worked with turquoise in the south-western states since 1000AD, and that it has been mined in Persia (Iran) and Egypt for the last 3000 years.
Prior to WWI, turquoise was Iran’s principal export, coming from nearly 100 mines across the country.
One of the oldest protection amulets, turquoise is thought to provide strength and peace, and a sensitivity to the spiritual world.