Turquoise (TER-kwoyz) gets its name from the French turqueise, meaning “Turkish”, as it was originally brought to Europe from a Turkish source. The color turquoise is named after this stone, but in actuality there is some variation in the color of turquoise. Bluer tones come from the presence of copper and green tones from the presence of iron. The most desirable color is a robin-egg blue, followed by a blue-green, with the apple-green tones being the least desirable. Nearly all turquoise has dark brown veins in it; pure blue turquoise is exceedingly rare.

Some people dye howlite or magnesite to resemble turquoise; however, it is fairly easy to distinguish these. Magnesite’s lines appear more like a pattern of connected cracks, and the lines in howlite are naturally grey, so they do not take on the brownish tone found in natural turquoise. If one compares turquoise to the dyed stones side by side, they are unlikely to have trouble differentiating them in the future. Sometimes chrysocolla can look similar to turquoise, but chrysocolla has a vitreous (or glassy) luster while turquoise is matte or waxy.

It has a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6 and a triclinic crystal structure.

It is the alternate birthstone for December (the main one being tanzanite).

Location: The best quality turquoise is mined in Iran, but there are also sources in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania and the United States.

Properties: Turquoise guides the wearer to notice their own disparate aspects and integrate them. It brings wholeness and heightened personal truth, and improves communication of that truth. We often become dis-integrated because we reject certain aspects of ourselves, deeming them undesirable; turquoise carries the wisdom that all aspects are part of the divine, that there are no intrinsically “bad” traits, and this knowledge loosens our grip on our self-judgements; this in turn allows us to accept all of ourselves, and this is how we come to integrate these parts we artificially separate. Being a strong throat chakra stone, it brings the additional skill of sharing these insights with others and spreading self-acceptance.

Some attest that turquoise can be used to treat practically any physical ailment, especially in improving absorption of nutrients and their circulation in the blood, which in turn improves muscular regeneration and function.

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