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Turquoise has been valued by mankind as ornamentation for thousands of years. Prized by pharaohs and Aztec royalty alike, this blue-green semiprecious gem was originally found in the dry, arid regions of the Middle-East. For hundreds of years, deep blue Persian turquoise was the standard against which all others were measured.

In the 1800Ős, turquoise was "discovered" by settlers out West in the United States, though it had been used for many hundreds of years by the indigenous people of the Southwest and Mexico. These deposits, found in places like Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada challenged the highest quality turquoise from Persia.

Turquoise is created when ground water percolates through aluminous rock in the presence of copper. This is why turquoise is frequently found near copper producing areas. Chemically, turquoise is a "hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum." Try that one out at an upcoming Christmas party and watch your audiencesŐ eyes glaze over...

Traditionally, the more blue and flawless the stone, the more highly it was prized. Over the past half century or so, however, there has been increased demand for stones that are not perfectly flawless blue. Turquoise matrix, that is turquoise with veins of other stone or metal inside, are now sought after because they tend to have their own character. Those veins within turquoise, by the way, are made up of minerals like sandstone or limonite.

Turquoise varies in color from brown and yellow to sky blue. In Tibet and other Asian producing countries, green is more desirous than blue shades. In the contemporary jewelry market, there is room for all shades of this beautiful stone.

The past year and a half has seen a tremendous resurgence in the popularity of a stone that most recently had been favored by Western enthusiasts and flower children. For those interested in the healing powers of stones, turquoise is said to be the master healer. It protects against environmental pollutants, strengthens the body, guards against disease and improves the absorption of nutrients.

Most of the silver jewelry we sell comes in several stone choices. We have a great selection of turquoise items that can be found here.

(This article written by Mike McGinnis and published originally on indiasilver.com. We allow republication provided the piece is copied in its entirety with links and attribution.)

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Updated 2/14/06
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