This stone and its iconic color are inseparable. This perfect marriage has led to the color and the stone being immensely popular in many cultures. When you say turquoise, people think of the stone and the color right away.
Everyone is familiar with turquoise. It is most commonly associated with religion. This is primarily due to the fact that the Aztec and Mayans considered the stone sacred and had used it in their rituals and put it in their jewelry. They did not react kindly to people taking the stone from the native mines. It was also considered sacred in Egypt, and Tutankhamun's mask bears the stone. The stone is also mentioned as being one of the stones on the Breastplate of Aaron. And finally, some mosques have an abundance of turquoise in their design. The most notable examples are the St. Petersburg Mosque and the Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif. The religious aspects of the stone cannot be ignored, simply.
Due to how old the stone is and its significance, it has become the subject of many myths, legends, and stories. For one, the stone became related to horses for some reason. The stone was said to protect horses from any harm caused from it drinking cold water when it is hot or overworked. Another states, instead, that the horse would have far greater endurance, meaning the horse could not be overworked at all. Turquoise could also protect horseback riders from a nasty fall, should they, for some reason, be taken off the horse. It is possible that mounted warriors carried the stone into battle if they feared being dismounted. Some also argue that such beliefs arose from the Middle East, where it may have been believed that the stone could make the horse more stable. In any case, if a rider would be taken off the horse, the damage would instead manifest on the stone. This is reflected in a story regarding Anselmus de Boodt, who had supposedly fallen off his horse in an accident. The worried de Boodt examined himself for any damage, only to find that he was actually fine, and so was his horse. Later, de Boodt found that his turquoise became fragmented.
Turquoise could also change weather, according to some old myths, seemingly regarding the Greeks, Romans, and some Arab groups. The stone would react and change color according to change in weather. Supposedly, some Southwestern Native American groups would use the stone to encourage rainfall. They would also use it to enhance their accuracy with a bow. Another myth related to the stone changing color is more grim. The stone supposedly would change if the wearer is about to be harmed. Another story was related to a woman who could supposedly restore it to full beauty. Finally, de Boot's turquoise was originally quite dull, but when it was gifted to him by his father, it gradually restored its gorgeous color. With this many hue-shifting anecdotes tied to the stone, it does make one wonder. Well, there is no smoke without fire, as they say. And surprisingly, turquoise is capable of changing color!
Lustre: Sub-Vitreous, Resinous, Waxy, Dull, Earthy
Crystal System: Triclinic
Etymology: From French, turquois, meaning Turkish. This comes from the fact that many Europeans got access to the stone from trade with Turkey.
Location: Nevada, Afghanistan, Chile, Africa, China, and Germany.
Turquoise has seen use by many people for various reasons. Many use it for protection, finding success, and encouraging prosperity.
This stone's history is rich and surrounded with plenty of unique and interesting stories. People have worked it into decoration, jewelry, and simply just carry the stone with them. The stone's history is entrenched in the divine and the sacred, always offering some form of protection to those who wear it.
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Kozminsky, Isidore. The Magic and Science of Jewels and Stones. New York, The Knickerbocker Press, 1922.
Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1913.