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The History of Turquoise

Turquoise, the "fallen skystone", "gem of the centuries", is indigenous to the Americas,
Egypt, ancient Persia (Iran), Tibet and China. Throughout human history, the stone has been revered and admired for its beauty and reputed spiritual life-enhancing qualities. The oldest known piece of jewelry, a turquoise bracelet, was found on the wrist of a 7000 year-old mummified Egyptian queen.

Turquoise has been known by this name since the French purchased the "turkey stone"
from Turkish traders, never realizing that the turquoise was mined in Persia and later traded to
the Turks.

Sinai Turquoise History

Since at least the First Dynasty (3000 B.C.E.) and possibly before, turquoise was used by the Egyptians and was mined by them in the Sinai Peninsula, called "Country of Turquoise" by the native Monitu. There are six mines in the region, all on the southwest coast of the peninsula, covering an area of some 650 square kilometers. The two most important of these mines from an historical perspective are Serabit el-Khadim and Wadi Maghareh, believed to be among the oldest of known mines. The former mine is situated about four kilometers from an ancient temple dedicated to Hathor.

Iran History

For at least two thousand years, the region once known as Persia has remained the most important source of turquoise, for it is here that fine material is most consistently recovered. This "perfect color" deposit that is blue naturally and turns green when heated is limited to a mine in Neyshabur,Iran. Iranian turquoise has been mined and traded abroad for centuries, and was probably the source of the first material to reach Europe.

China Turquoise History

China has been a minor source of turquoise for three thousand years or more. Gem-quality material, in the form of compact nodules, is found in the fractured, silicified limestone of Yunxian and Zhushan, Hubei province. Additionally, Marco Polo reported turquoise found in present-day Sichun.

United States Turquoise History

The oldest mine of any kind on the North American continent, the Cerrillos turquoise mine just
south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, dates back at least 2000 years. Native American Pueblo peoples dug deep into the stony ground using antlers and stone mauls to bring up the precious turquoise, a true labor of love.

To the Pueblos and the Navajos, turquoise is sacred, takes its color from the sky, and
symbolizes the supreme, life-giving and healing power of the Creator.Originally, indigenous peoples of the Southwest carved turquoise into beads or animal fetishes or overlaid it onto wood, bone, or shell using such fixatives as beeswax or piñon pine pitch.

The Spanish introduced silver mining, smelting, and smithing technology into the Southwest
in the sixteenth century. Combining that new knowledge of silver with the turquoise stone, the Native Americans created an industry of beauty.

Around 1920, Turquoise Jewelry became popular in western United States. Tourists coming to see the Grand Canyon and the Southwest bought Turquoise Jewelry from the Navajo Indians and brought it home as souveniers. By the 1940's, it had become very popular, mainly in the western United States and soon after throughout the country.

General Turquoise Information:

There is a real lot to learn about Turquoise. Turquoise is one of the most popular gemstones on earth and it has been for centuries. Therefor, a lot of information, history, and lore is available on this gem. Some of the Turquoise Information out there is false or has been skued, so we find it is best to read information from many sources and take the matching Turquoise Facts from all sources to properly understand the Turquoise information you are looking for.

Grades & Quality | Healing Beliefs | Physical Properties | Spiritual Beliefs | Symbolism
USGS History |
General Information | Mineral Testing

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