Turquoise

Azure sky, robin’s egg blue: Vivid shades of turquoise define the color that’s named after this gem.

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BIRTHSTONES &
ANNIVERSARIES

Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for the month of December and the gem of the 11th anniversary.

 

ABOUT TURQUOISE

Turquoise is found in only a few places on earth: dry and barren regions where acidic, copper-rich groundwater seeps downward and reacts with minerals that contain phosphorus and aluminum. The result of this sedimentary process is a porous, semitranslucent to opaque compound of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate.


WHY WE LOVE THIS GEMSTONE

4,000 BC

Turquoise buried in Ancient Egyptian tombs is among the world’s oldest jewelry.

MEFKAT

Ancient Egyptians called turquoise “mefkat,” which also means “joy” and “delight.”

1519

Montezuma, thinking Cortes was Quetzalcoatl, gave him the god’s favorite gem: turquoise.

 

SPIDERWEB

The spiderweb of veins that appear in turquoise are matrix: evidence of the surrounding rock.

LEGACY

A legacy of turquoise appreciation spans the globe, from ancient Egypt to Mesoamerica to China.

COPPER

Turquoise is colored by copper, which creates some of the most vivid blues and greens in gems.


QUALITY FACTORS

Turquoise is judged on its color, texture, and the absence of matrix.

CUTAlthough turquoise is usually cut into beads and cabochons, it can also be carved.

CUTAlthough turquoise is usually cut into beads and cabochons, it can also be carved.

COLOR The even blue color of this cabochon would be called Persian blue in the trade.

COLOR
The even blue color of this cabochon would be called Persian blue in the trade.

CLARITY These free-form turquoise cabochons show a typical matrix pattern.

CLARITY
These free-form turquoise cabochons show a typical matrix pattern.

CARAT WEIGHT Cutters work around large areas of matrix to yield pieces of evenly colored turquoise. 

CARAT WEIGHT
Cutters work around large areas of matrix to yield pieces of evenly colored turquoise.