Turquoise is one of the of the first gemstones to be mined and has long been prized for its intense colors, which vary greatly from sky blue to green, depending on the quantities of iron and copper found in it.
Even though turquoise is found around the world, the right type of minerals must be in just the right place for millions of years for it to be formed.
Turquoise deposits usually form in iron-rich limonite or sandstone. Limonite creates dark brown markings in turquoise, while sandstone creates tan markings. These can resemble splotches or veins and are called matrix.
Turquoise is relatively soft, so it’s ideal for carving. Artists in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas choose turquoise as a medium for carved jewelry and art objects. It’s often fashioned into talismans with Native American significance, such as bird and animal carvings, called fetishes.
Turquoise's history as a spiritual stone goes back over 7500 years. Whereas Egyptians prized Turquoise as a Life Stone, Native Americans believed the stone brought protection to a rider upon a horse, and great protection in general. Turquoise was also highly revered in Tibet, where a stone was carried throughout one’s entire life and the material was exchanged as currency, the finest stones being more valuable than gold.
Turquoise is still a very highly prized gemstone nowadays and the birthstone of the month of December.
Pictured below are just a few varieties mined in the USA: Tyron, King man, Nevada and Number 8.
One of the two varieties of turquoise that we use for the inlay of our pieces is Tyron, which has a saturated blue color and black matrix.
Another traditional source of Turquoise mining is the middle eastern region comprised by modern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, where the other type of turquoise we use is mined. This variety is called Blue Hills Turquoise and has a lighter, more lavender tone and less dense matrix.
In addition, places like Mexico, Tibet and the US (specially the state of Nevada) are home to a wide range of varieties.