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3 Interesting Facts About Turquoise

Dana Seng

Posted on January 17 2022

Turquoise is December’s birthstone, along with tanzanite and zircon. The light blue, often veined stone enjoys a unique, lengthy, and varied history, and is used in a wide variety of jewelry. Take a minute to learn a few fun facts about turquoise before thinking about how to pair it with stackable diamond rings or white gold bangles for the holidays. 

Turquoise is the Oldest Stone in Humanity’s History

Hand-cut turquoise beads were found in modern-day Persia, or Iran, that date back to 5000 B.C. It is possibly the oldest stone used by humans in the planet’s history, with its name coming from the Greek word Turkois, which translates to “Turkish.” The stones were often found in Turkish bazaars, hence the name. 

It Is Believed to Hold Magical Properties

Turquoise has meant different things to different cultures. In Native American cultures, it is believed to hold magical powers, which is why it is so often used in jewelry making and found in artifacts. Native Americans also believed that if you looked down and noticed a crack in turquoise jewelry, such as a ring or bracelet, “the stone took it.” In other words, the stone took the blow you were supposed to get. The Navajo nation believed turquoise encouraged optimal weather for crops, and often “gave the stone to Mother Earth” after prayers. 

Other native cultures used turquoise exclusively for religious objects, including masks. The Aztecs utilized turquoise in this way, and anyone who wore the stone “casually” faced fatal consequences. 

Veins Are Called “Matrixes”

The black and gold veins running through some turquoise pieces are known as matrixes. Some collectors love these veins, while others only purchase “matrix-free” turquoise. The veins typically lower the stone’s value; however, buying turquoise with or without matrixes is often a matter of preference. Limonite content is responsible for the black markings and sandstone creates tan or goldish-tan markings. And while turquoise is often blue, it can also be green or greenish-blue. 

Find turquoise in many of the handcrafted accessories available from Dana Seng, your Los Angeles jewelry designer.

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