The History and Value of Turquoise
Turquoise, what is it? It is usually a mixture of different metals and minerals. Copper and aluminum are the two main metals. Other elements may vary and they create the matrix, color and stone color as well as the hardness of the stone. The matrix is the crack looking lines in the stone itself. Turquoise is one of the oldest types of gem stones in the world. No one really knows the actual time of discovery; it has been dated to the 3200s B.C.
Many different cultures throughout history have enjoyed the beauty and versatility of turquoise. Because it is found usually in arid or desert regions, many cultures had to trade with or conquer other cultures to enjoy its beauty. Turquoise was very highly valued by some people for it was believed to have healing properties as well as monetary value. People would grind turquoise into a powder and ingest it for a stomach ache. Many different cultures had varieties of beliefs. Some believe that wearing it would protect you from danger as well as give you a feeling of well-being.
Turquoise was used as a good luck talisman; some would adorn the harnesses of their horses and dogs to keep them safe. It was valued at the top of many cultures' list. Tibetans may have valued turquoise above gold. It's been said that every Tibetan possessed some form of turquoise throughout their life. China valued only jade above turquoise. Native Americans valued it above all else.
Pharaohs, Kings, Queens and Nobles were the first to wear turquoise in jewelry or adorned in their clothing. Egyptian tombs were filled with jewelry made with gold and turquoise. Aztec and Pre - Columbian Indians used turquoise in a lot of their jewelry. In this century True Natural Turquoise is very rare because of the popularity and demand of it throughout history. Turquoise is still mined today, but most of it is chips or dust that is enhanced in some way. It's still turquoise, just not the highest quality.
The highest quality turquoise is ready to be cut and polished right out of the ground. Where as the dust and chips has to be compressed and stabilized which makes it part man made and part natural and less valued. Even some actual stones must be stabilized because they are too soft to stay together. There are many different processes of enhancement. There are people who try to pass colored plastic off as real turquoise and it looks good so be careful. It can be so good that you wouldn't even realize it. So if some one tries to sale you a rare piece of turquoise cheap and it looks perfect, don't buy it with out a gemologist checking it out first. The rarest turquoise is coveted so if it's for sale it won't be cheap. However, you can get treated turquoise reasonably priced, which is real and almost as beautiful as the rare ones
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