“As turquoise shone bluely like a robin’s egg, greenly like a tropical shallows, through centuries, through millennia, this ornamental gemstone whose finest grades are still treasured, had many English spellings. But one French form won out, la pierre turquoise – The Turkish Stone.” That’s how Bill Casselman has portrayed turquoise in his book ~ Word Stash. He further describes the stone as one of the several gems that sounds as a mellow word of dulcet resonance.
The Turquoise Lure
The color inherits the calmness of the blue, growth of the green and energy of the yellow becoming a winching shade. It carries a sweet feminism along with a sophisticated feel. This hue has a magical property of healing the mind and soul. Its often associated with wisdom, serenity, wholeness, vision, emotional balance, good luck, spiritualism, friendship, love, joy, tranquility, patience, sixth sense, and loyalty. But then again, yes the turquoise shade needs to be used in appropriate amounts… too much can lead one to become egocentric, fussy and over analytical while too little of the color can make one go cranky, paranoid, sneaky, confused and secretive.
The Turquoise Past
The stone has seen the rise and fall of kingdoms and civilizations, traveled through centuries making its mark in history. Many ancient civilizations considered turquoise as a protection amulet which made it a popular protective shield for ancient warriors headed out into battle. If we turn back the pages of history, we can see the stone often being linked to the ancient Egypt, Persian and Native American Civilizations.
Ancient Egyptian Turquoise
The ancient Egyptians believed certain crystals could ward off nightmares, increase vitality and boost psychic potential. They associated turquoise to Hather, the goddess of joy, music, dance and motherhood. She was also the goddess of miners and hence was often referred to as the Mistress of Turquoise. The stone found its existence over 7000 years ago in the mines of Sinai. Since then, it has been highly coveted as a sacred stone with metaphysical powers.
Egyptian Turquoise was used by healers, worn by Pharaohs and important people from that early period in world history. Due to its religious linkage, the masks and coffins of the deceased, especially those of the Pharaohs, were embedded with turquoise. Everything from the broad collar necklaces to bracelets to a simple ring had a tint of turquoise in it. And if that was not enough, turquoise was even crushed into fine powder and used as an eye shadow, so as to compliment the elaborate turquoise jewellery.
Ancient Persian Turquoise
The finest quality of turquoise is said to come from the mines of Persia (modern Iran). The Persian turquoise dates back to the 10th century and was used as a barter product. The gem was initially referred to as the robin’s egg because of its blue color and later was called turquoise meaning Turkish Stone as in the earlier days it was exported to Europe from the Persian mines via Turkey. The Persians divided turquoise into three classes. Fine ring stones were called Anqushtari, the ones with intermediate quality were called Barkhaneh and those that were pale, greenish or with spots were called Arabi.
The Persians believed that wearing the stone around the neck or wrist could protect the wearer from unnatural death. They held a strong notion that if the gem changed its color, then the wearer was doomed with evil. The reflection of new moon on the stone bought luck and guarded against all evil. Some also were of the opinion that looking at the stone could sharpen eyesight and placing it on an inflamed eye was considered to be a cure. The ancients reckoned on that turquoise indicated its owner’s health, turning pale at the time of illness and losing color at the time of death.
The Ancient American Turquoise
As compared to the Persian Turquoise, which was just a celestial blue stone with no matrix, the American turquoise has black/brown veins caused by a lack of iron and little vanadium. The stone has been associated with superstitions since its origins and the native Americans were not behind in this league. They considered turquoise as the shaman’s stone.
Traditional Native Americans, including the Aztecs and Mayans, associated it with a mode to communicate with spirits who further were believed to help in bringing good fortune and healing the sick. Turquoise was considered as an aid for strength and security at work. For some it was the rain at the end of the rainbow, while for others it was the protector against storms. The famous dream catcher of the Ojibwe, later adopted by many North American artists, often features a turquoise “spider” as shown in the image below.
The Turquoise Present
This very skystone has swimmingly made its way into today’s era. From the gemstone that was once worn by kings and queens, it is now easily available across markets. Shunning away the superstitions, the stone has made a place in astrology becoming the planetary stone of the Aquarian. It is mostly recognized as a perfect gift for the 11th anniversary. Today, the stone is commonly tagged to the Tibetan Jewellery.
Turquoise is one of the most enshrined jewel in Tibet. It is given to a new born and is believed to protect him/her against all odds. Both men and women wear turquoise jewellery as earrings, finger rings, belt-buckles, head dresses, pendants and so on, frequently set in gold or silver with coral and other precious gemstones. A single piece of turquoise is sometimes worn as an earring, attached only by a length of string. A rosary of turquoise beads is often offered to goddesses but never bestowed as gifts to the lamas.
Be it the ancient era or the modern today, it is still believed that turquoise carries with it a good luck and wards off all evil. As said in an Arabic proverb ~ “A turquoise given by a loving hand, carries with it happiness and good fortune.”
The Turquoise References
Ancient Egyptian Jewellery. (n.d.). Retrieved from Gem Rock Auctions: https://www.gemrockauctions.com/learn/did-you-know/ancient-egyptian-jewellery
Ancient Egyptian Jewellery. (n.d.). Retrieved from Gem Select: https://www.gemselect.com/other-info/ancient-egyptian-gemstone-jewelry.php
Ancient Egyptian Turquoise: The Riches of Hathor’s Mines. (n.d.). Retrieved from T.Skies: https://tskies.com/ancient-egyptian-turquoise-the-riches-of-hathors-mines/
Casselman, B. (n.d.). Word Stash. In B. Casselman.
Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color Turquoise. (n.d.). Retrieved from BournCreative: https://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-turquoise/
History of Turquoise Mines. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.historyofturquoisemines.com/persian-turquoise-mines/
Interesting Tibetan women’s headdress. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tibettravel.org/tibetan-people/tibetan-womens-headdress.html
KLIMCZAK, N. (2016, April 9). Hathor, the Turquoise Goddess Near the Nile. Retrieved from Ancient Origins: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/hathor-turquoise-goddess-near-nile-005684
Native American Jewellery. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bohemiandiesel.com/bohemian-blog/photography/jewelry/%E2%98%85-the-fallen-skystone-%E2%98%85/
Persian Jewellery from 11th century. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://awalimofstormhold.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/persian-jewelry-from-the-11th-century/
Persian Turquoise Mines. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.turquoise-museum.com/persianturquoisemines.htm
Tibetan Jewellery images. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.co.in/search?q=tibetan+turquoise+jewellery&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-hYStiqvZAhXML48KHTGpAPEQ7AkIUQ&biw=1366&bih=613#imgrc=FzBA6oe6CBzZfM:
Turquoise. (n.d.). Retrieved from Color Psychology: https://www.colorpsychology.org/blue/turquoise/