I've collected a lot of stones over the years. Some are just plain old rocks I picked up because they were pretty; others were purchased small semi-precious stones, often in the shapes of eggs, hearts, apples and whatnot. If you are one of our graduates, you've used some of these in class as part of our palpation exercises.
I've also worn some semi-precious stone jewelry from time-to-time, mainly turquoise because it is one of my "birthstones" and the one I liked best. However, it was not until I began working on this series of articles about healing stones and crystals that I learned about all the legends and folklore behind turquoise.
Our research tells us that there are more legends and folklore about turquoise than any other stone and it was highly regarded by many ancient civilizations. The finest turquoise was said to come from Persia and commanded a very high price; thus "Persian turquoise" became the quality standard.
Today turquoise is mined in Egypt, Tibet, China, Africa, the United States and other countries. Some research into the history of turquoise tells us that the United States is currently the world's largest producer of turquoise and some of the finest quality turquoise now comes from U.S. mines and easily meets the standard of "Persian turquoise." Other sites tell us that many of the turquoise mines in the U.S. are "played-out" and are closed. In any event, one of the most famous mines still in production in the United States is the Kingman mine in Arizona. For more information about turquoise mines in the U.S. you can visit: http://www.silversun-sf.com/turquoise_info/ajax.htm
Turquoise is a mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum. It has a hardness of 5-6 on the Mohs scale and comes primarily in colors of sky blue, blue-green, green. Other colors include lesser quality browns, greens, and white. "Chalk turquoise" can be found in pink, lavender, and other colors as well, but these are most often dyed.
High quality untreated turquoise commands extremely high prices and is mainly purchased by collectors and producers of high quality "fine" jewelry. Much of the turquoise used in more economically priced jewelry is softer material, a bit lower in quality and is often "stabilized", usually with resin or wax. The stabilization process hardens the stone, increasing its durability and making it suitable for use in jewelry pieces. Stabilized turquoise is still "real" turquoise, however where known, a dealer should note whether their turquoise is "natural" or "stabilized." Often you may see advertisements for turquoise jewelry that say the turquoise is "natural stabilized," meaning that it is real turquoise that has been treated to harden the stone.
Legend abounds regarding turquoise. This beautiful stone is credited with many protective and healing properties and was considered a sacred stone by many Native Americans who used it in all healing work and for protection. In many cultures turquoise is believed to bring serenity, wisdom, strength, and protection from traumatic injuries. Turquoise was also believed to protect one from falls, especially from horses. For this reason, as well as for its beauty, turquoise is often seen as a popular adornment on horse tack, including saddles and bridles.
Turquoise is thought to possess significant healing properties and is often counted as a master healing stone. Its use is believed to benefit the entire body and it is considered especially useful with problems affecting the skeletal, respiratory and immune systems. In Chakra work, turquoise is said to beneficial for use on all chakras, especially the 5th chakra which is considered the center of creativity, communication and serenity.
Turquoise is also a peace and harmonizing stone that helps to decrease nervousness, tension and stress. It is also believed to strengthen ones courage and personal power, fostering empathy, sensitivity and positive thinking. Many people believe that turquoise is a stone of friendship and will enhance love, loyalty and communication.
As a healing stone, turquoise can be worn as jewelry, or it can be carried in pocket, purse or medicine bag. When carrying turquoise in your pocket or medicine bag as a healing stone, it is recommended that it be kept wrapped in natural cloth, suede or leather to protect it from scratches or damage from other stones.
The information above is just a fraction of the information and legend surrounding turquoise. For those who wish to pursue further reading, there are a number of websites and books that go into greater depth regarding the stone. Regardless of what we may believe, one thought seems to hold true for all. That is, aside from the folklore and legend, it is very likely the primary reason turquoise has become a popular adornment is its significant beauty and brilliant coloring.