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Beading How-To's


 Turquoise Gemstone Properties 




Turquoise, a stone ranging in color from blue to green to yellow, is filled with wonderful patterns of brown and black matrix that are composed mainly of copper deposits. Although turquoise has captivated man's imagination for centuries, no one is sure exactly when it was discovered. Prehistoric people used and prized it for its blue-green colors because carved pieces have been found in burial and archeological sites spanning the globe.

The beauty and history of turquoise is hard to match! Steeped in history and intrigue, it is truly a captivating stone. It has been used in religion, art, trade, treaty negotiations and of course as treasured jewelry to many kingdoms and peoples. Whether you study ancient Egyptians, Chinese Dynasties, Aztec Mythology or Native American people, it seems clear that turquoise has always been and always will be considered a stone of life, beauty, and good fortune.

Designing with Turquoise

The blue-green of turquoise has been traditionally combined with silver and red coral in southwestern jewelry. Turquoise, with it's a strong greenish hues, combines well with amber, sparkling Swarovski® crystal, dyed mountain ''jade,'' Hemalyke™ or serpentine. Textured beads also work well with turquoise: heishi shells, sunstone, labradorite and rainbow moonstone. For a look that really turns heads, try mixing it with contrasting colors, such as red coral or fire-orange carnelian for attention-grabbing style.

Chalk turquoise, another variety of turquoise, is available in bright fuchsia pink, lime green, and robin egg blue to further expand your designing options. For absolute elegance, use precious metal beads with pure Sleeping Beauty blue turquoise mined from Arizona.

The Power of the Stone

Turquoise is one of the official birthstones for the month of December, and is heralded as the stone of communication. It encourages enthusiasm, thus inspiring new projects and bringing to light undiscovered artistic abilities. Turquoise also provides understanding and encourages attention to detail while attracting prosperity and success.

The sprawling lines of coppery matrix provide a large amount of energy to its wearer. This may be one reason why the stone has long been prized as a powerful talisman with healing properties. It is believed that turquoise can help balance the blue throat chakra, enhancing the ability to communicate while increasing resistance to viruses, helping to relieve sore throats and allergies.

Geological Properties

Turquoise has a waxy luster. It is typically blue-green with brown/black veins of matrix running through it. Some turquoise is dyed to give it an evenly vivid color. Most turquoise is stabilized to improve overall strength and polish.

It is mined across the globe, and each location yields specific stone colors and characteristics ranging from the bright sky blue-matrix free Sleeping Beauty turquoise from Arizona to the rough, organic yellow colors and heavy matrix mined from Africa.

Chalk turquoise is a form of natural turquoise that has a white chalk-like consistency. It is dyed pleasing colors and stabilized to produce beads that are hard enough to use in jewelry.
Mineral InformationCopper containing basic aluminum phosphate
Chemical CompositionCuAl6(I(OH)2/PO4)4.4H2O
ColorSky blue, blue-green, green
Hardness5-6
Specific Gravity2.60-2.80
Refractive Index1.61-1.65

Proper Care

Turquoise is a hydrous compound of copper and aluminum, so it loses color when it loses water. To keep your turquoise from becoming dehydrated, it is a good idea to water it, as you would your houseplants, with pure saline water periodically to revive or maintain color. (If salty ocean mist makes the statue of liberty, which is made of solid copper, turn green, it will do the same for your turquoise.)

Turquoise is porous, so chemicals can damage it. Use only pure water and a soft cloth to wipe it clean, and you can clean your turquoise frequently without causing damage. The natural oil of your skin is good for turquoise, and it will naturally polish it when you wear it. If it is set in silver, wearing if often will also keep the silver from tarnishing. Silver polish will damage the surface of turquoise.

Don't store turquoise with harder gemstones or other materials that might rub against it and cause damage. Turquoise can fade in sunlight, excessive sweat, chlorine bleach and dishwater.

Additional Information

To learn more about turquoise and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

For turquoise jewelry design ideas, visit the Gallery of Designs.

For the most up-to-date fashion and color forecasts, visit Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Fashion Trends.

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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All products sold by Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® are not intended for use by children 14 years of age and under.

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