Turquoise is a soft, opaque gemstone, formed by volcanic rock reacting to copper deposits brought by water. Color ranges from blue-green - to yellow-green with grey, black or brown veining. Although most non-green turquoise these days is dyed.
Turquoise has been found in 5,000-year-old Egyptian tombs and the Tibetans used it as currency centuries ago. North Africa and the Middle East hold large deposits, but most turquoise today originates from Burma and is carved in China. Turquoise didnít reach Europe until the crusades when the name originated, meaning "Turkish stoneĒ.
Ancient doctors thought turquoise prevented injury in accidents and ground it into a powder to cure stomach disorders, internal bleeding, and insect bites. Turquoise has always been used to protect the wearer from danger, attract wealth, and warn as a talisman or good luck charm. Some believe it will fade when danger or illness is near, or a lover is unfaithful. Itís also said to protect against pollution and strengthen the body.
Turquoise is porous, so contact with liquids, oils or even perspiration should be avoided. Jewelry should be removed before washing. Turquoise is commonly impregnated with plastic, colorless oil or wax to improve color and increase durability. Untreated turquoise will eventually turn green. As genuine turquoise is expensive, reconstituted turquoise is common today. Crafted from real turquoise chips fused with other stones to cut the cost. Turquoise is the birthstone for December.