Turquoise is derived from the French word TURQUOISE meaning TURKISH STONE, because this sacred stone was first introduced to Europe via Turkey.

Turquoise is a sky-blue or blue-green and apple-green translucent to opaque basic aluminum phosphate that contains copper. However, it is generally waxy to sub-vitreous and is usually opaque.

Turquoise has a hardness ranging from 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale. It has a weak, green-yellow, light-blue fluorescence.

For centuries, turquoise has been a sacred stone for many ancient civilizations and cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, the Mesoamericans, Persians, Mesopotamians, the Incas, people of the Indus Valley and ancient Chinese.

The ancient Egyptians used turquoise as an amulet for good luck and for protection against illnesses, demons and misfortune. The death mask of King Tutankhamun was studded with turquoise. One of the most important deities of Egyptian pantheon was Goddess Hathor. She was called the Lady of Turquoise, Mistress of Turquoise and Lady of Turquoise Country.

Turquoise was incredibly valued by the Aztecs, the ancient Mexican civilisation. They called this stone Chalchihuitl meaning a “precious stone.” It was used to make ornate masks dedicated to their gods, the inlaid skulls, shields, knife handles, mirrors and other relics of utmost importance and spiritual historical value like the skull representing the god Tezcatlipoca, the creator god of both the Aztecs and Toltecs.

Like the Aztecs, the Pueblo, Navajo and Apache nations of North America cherished turquoise as a powerful charm stone. Turquoise was used to enhance their hunting skills and was set in the arrows of the archer as it was believed that it could aim with deadly precision at its intended target.

Turquoise is highly prized by Tibetans for its alleged healing properties. It is said to promote fertility, wellbeing and prosperity and till today, it is still used to release pain from the body.

Turquoise has been put at the third eye of buddha statues, denoting the prophetic insight of this sacred stone.

The dome of the Shah Mosque which is located in Isfahan, Iran, is resplendent in turquoise mosaic tiles. It offers a stunning view from miles away when the sun reflects the glorious profusion of this heaven on earth color.

Other gemstones that look similar to turquoise include Chrysocolla, Variscite and Smithsonite. Nonetheless, turquoise has that unique sky-blue, blue-green and apple green color and waxy to matt luster that can be identified from these other gemstones. Its hardness of 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale also identifies it from other gemstones and from imitations or synthetic materials. For example, Variscite is typically greener than Turquoise. Turquoise is harder than Chrysocolla and has a waxy or sub-vitreous luster, whereas chrysocolla has a glass-like luster.

When turquoise comes mixed with malachite or chrysocolla it has a blue and green mottled appearance.

Turqouise found in the United States does not contain aluminum, but it contains iron instead. It is a mixture of Turquoise and Chalcosiderite and has a greenish color appearance.

Turquoise often comes with speckled veins of brown, dark-grey or black which can be sparse or dense. Turquoise that contains veins is referred to as "turquoise matrix". A pure, flawless blue turquoise is rarely found. And when found, it is highly valued.

The most popular color of turquoise is sky-blue (also called "robin's egg blue" or "Persian blue"), followed by blue-green or apple-green.

Translucent turquoise is also rare and therefore, the most desirable.

Nonetheless, there is a turquoise that comes with veins that is much loved, such as the Spider Web Turquoise " (also called "cobweb turquoise matrix"). This particular turquoise has a lovely web-like patterns.

Because of turquoise hardness, it is mostly cut en cabochon and it is also carved into ornamental objects and used for inlays. Spherical turquoise beads, tumbled pieces of turquoise and turquoise chips are also very common in turquoise jewelry.

Turquoise sometimes is impregnated with polymers, wax or plastic to enhance the color and harden its surface. Oil or paraffin, colors or copper salt are also used to enhance turquoise color. Imitation turquoise is made from dyeing Chalcedony or Howlite. Glass, porcelain and plastic are glued with powdered turquoise to make imitation turquoise gemstones.

Turquoise imitations are "Neolite" (also known as "Reese turquoise") which has a dark matrix, "Neo turquoise" is another imitation with a dark matrix; and finally, another imitation is called "Viennese turquoise".

Varieties and trade names of turquoise include:

Eilat Stone - A greenish-blue mixture of chrysocolla, turquoise and malachite or other copper minerals. This particular stone can be found in the copper mines near Eilat, Israel.

Kingman Turquoise – comes from the Mineral Park Mine, near Kingman, Arizona. It has a good color.

Navajo Turquoise - comes from the South West of the United States and with brown or black veins.

Persian Turquoise - Iranian turquoise of high quality that tends to be pure sky-blue in color.

Though turquoise is most distinguished by its blue-green color, the rarest and most prized comes in white and brown (also known as the White Buffalo Turquoise). It is typically found in arid regions in the desert Southwest of the United States and in Iran where turquoise is called "pērōzah" which means "victory."

Turquoise has a unique ability to change colours. Due to this, it was used in prophecy and divination purposes. It was also used as a diagnostic tool for the physical health condition of the person wearing it. The English Poet John Donne describes this accurately in his poem from “An Anatomy of the World: The First Anniversary” lines 343-344:

"As a compassionate turquoise that doth tell
By looking pale the wearer is not well."

In many cultures of the Old and New Worlds, turquoise has been esteemed as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune and health.

It is one of the best healing stones in the world. It creates a connection between Mother Earth and the Spirit World. It promotes an energetic flow of love and happiness. This flow of energy has a therapeutic benefit in inducing tranquility and calm.

Legends say that turquoise reflects an abundance of positive energy and love by the light of the new moon.

It has been used since ancient times as a talisman, amulet and as a sacred stone. The ancient Egyptians, Mesoamericans, Native Americans, Tibetans, Persians, and Mohammedan believed that turquoise held supernatural powers.

For example, many believed that turquoise was a protective stone, keeping the wearer away from harm. It was also believed that it was a good luck stone, giver of a good long life.

In feng shui, turquoise carries water energy.

It is a known fact that if exposed to heat of 250 degree Celsius, the beautiful blue color of turquoise will turn dull green. Also, color deterioration can happen if you expose your turquoise to direct sunlight, perspiration, oil, perfume, detergent or other chemicals. Avoid exposing your turquoise to bleach or sulphuric acid, hairspray, or similar cosmetic products.

To clean your precious turquoise simply use a soft cloth.

Turquoise deposits can be found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania and in the United States. However, the best quality turquoise comes from Northeast Iran.