Perhaps, the Turquoise is the most interesting gem with the point of view of its value in the jewelry world. Each of us know that it is the only opaque stone inside the whole mineral kingdom, however, it still classified as a semi precious stone. But our predecessors had esteemed this gem in a much higher degree than in our time. It was indeed a precious stone of the ancients.
History, Origin & Significance of Turquoise
Recent Egyptian excavations proved that the Turquoise was obtained in Egypt prior to the 1st dynasty of the Pharaohs. The first mentions of the Turquoise have been discovered during the decryption of the ancient Egyptian’s hieroglyphs, where the word “mascot” signified “the Turquoise.”
Moreover, numerous of the cliffs, which are surround the Turquoise’s mines of Egypt were painted with this word. In addition, the word “mascot” signifying the name of known to us gemstone is meet in the Egyptian papyruses.
Later, this gemstone was mentioned by Aristotle and Theophrastus. But, subsequently, Dioscorides doubted in the descriptions provided by his predecessors and concluded that the Turquoise, mentioned by Aristotle and Theophrastus probably was a Lapis-Lazuli and not the indeed Turquoise.
Subsequent Arabian writers of XIII century attributed the properties, described by Aristotle and Theophrastus to Turquoise, while it was indeed the Lapis-Lazuli, due to the facts that, the ancients considered the Turquoise as the variety of Lapis-Lazuli.
Later, Pliny the Elder described the gemstone called “callais” in his “Natural History.” Many debates were established concerning this term, but, soon, the scientists and mineralogists admitted that the “callais” of Pliny was the term, signified the “green stone” and probably one of them was indeed the Turquoise.
In the IX, the Turquoise was mentioned in the Tibet treatises. Later it appears in Arabic literature of X century, where was described by the traveler al-Beruni. But the most reliable Arabian source, where this gemstone was mentioned was entitled “Nozhat Namah Ellaiy.” This manuscript was written in the XI century and translated only in 1304. Although, Albertus Magnus mentioned it before, given the fact, that he lived in the period of 1193 — 1280.
Marco Polo also mentioned this gemstone, moreover, he pointed to the place, where the Turquoise was obtained in the middle of the XIII century. It were the Province of Kerman in Persia and Caindu in China.
The first development of the Chinese Turquoise mines were established about 1366. The work started in Nishapur, Kerman, and Siang-yang – the provinces of China.
Yet in 1300-1400 the Turquoise came in vogue in the Arabian world. Turquoise jewelry was chiefly worn by women. This gemstone estimation was inferior only to Emerald in that time.
Later, in XV century the Turquoise was mentioned in Hindu treatises and in 1502, Italian writer mentioning this gemstone in his work entitled “The mirror of stones.”
Shortly afterwards, followed the discovery of America, the Spanish writers begin to mention the Turquoise in their treatises. The stone, which they called “chalchihuitl” was highly prized by the Aztecs. After, some curious masks, containing the Turquoise were delivered in the Europe. Thus, the Turquoise came in Europe and in the near future came into vogue.
Later all the varieties of the Turquoise were separated into two parts, so-called “Oriental” and “Occidental.” Also, it has been suggested in the account of the organic origin of Turquoise. It was affirmed that the Turquoise represents actually the copper-stained bones and teeth of certain animals.
The Value of the Turquoise
With regard to “Oriental” and “Occidental,” the Oriental one is more valuable. If we consider these specimens of natural origin, such as the stones being fossil teeth or of mineral origin, then we have to mention that during of whole XIX were debates in the account of this question.
As a result of these debates, the scientists & mineralogists concluded – to distinguish the “bone Turquoise” and “true Turquoise,” whereupon was appeared such new gemstone as Odontolite.
Thus, the most valuable, are the stones obtained in Meshed (modern Mashhad – second city in Iran by population). Next in rank are any of Oriental Turquoises, especially these, obtained in Tibet. All other turquoises are inferior in quality and color. The most valuable color has a sky-blue tint. Unfortunately, the turquoises of green color are commonly widespread in the nature, therefore they are pretty cheap.
Magical and Healing properties attributed to the Turquoise
The Turquoise was endowed of supernatural properties and features since the ancient times. This gemstone, thanks to its color symbolized both the blue Sky and the Green Water for the ancients. The blue color was especially significant to our predecessors. Today, the Turmaline is a symbol of October.
In the Near East the Turquoise symbolized paramount of health and success. We can find the proof of this fact in a Persian manuscript dated to the XI century, where the Turquoise signified victory and fortune.
Teifascite, states that this gemstone helps to cure poor eyesight, whereas Aristotle affirm that the Turquoise can aware its wearer against the danger of being killed, therefore this stone can’t be borrowed of a killed person.
Muliammed Ibn Mansur stated that one look at the Turquoise early in the morning will attract the fortune during the whole day.
Another feature attributed to the Turquoise was described as an ability to destroy any poison and protects against evil intentions, moreover, this gemstone also cures all diseases of the head and the heart and can restore natural vision to those who are almost blind at night. The Turquoise also treats ulcers inside the stomach, different swellings and hernia.