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Gemstone Crystal System Density Hardness Refractive index Treatments
Turquoise triclinic 2.73 5.0-6.0 1.610-1.650 dying, sealing


Turquoise, blues and greens

Sensitive to temperature: above 250 degrees C, a loss of water leads to a dull green color


Well known deposits occur in Persia, Sinai Peninsula, China, Chile, Egypt, Turkey, Mesoamerica (Arizona).


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Turquoise is a hydrous copper aluminum silicate, that occurs in microcrystalline nodules. Today, most turquoise has been "color stabilized", meaning it has been impregnated with wax, plastic resins, or sodium silicate, often with dye added. The use of turquoise dates back to 3000 B.C.- 4000 the Sinai. It was the primary holy stone for Native Americans living in the Southwestern United States. Every Navajo carried a "personal" piece of turquoise. Middle Eastern tradition claimed that turquoise prevented accidents, especially falling. It was a talisman for horsemen, to keep them from falling off the horse. This belief carried over to Europe, evolving into the belief that if one did fall, no bones would be broken.

turquoise medallion
Médaillon, Tibet, turquoises, lapis-lazuli et pâte de verre. Musée Guimet, Paris.