The name Turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone,” because the trade routes that brought Turquoise to Europe from the mines in central Asia went through Turkey, and Venetian merchants often purchased the stone in Turkish bazaars.
Turquoise was one of the first gemstones ever mined, perhaps dating back to 6000 BC, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
For thousands of years, Turquoise has been considered in many cultures as a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality.
Among the Ancient Egyptians, Persians and Chinese, Aztecs and Incas of South America, and Native North Americans, Turquoise was a sacred adornment for power, luck, and protection.
The death mask of Tutankhamun was studded with Turquoise, as were the mosaic masks dedicated to the gods, the fabulous inlaid skulls, shields and power statues of Moctezuma, the last ruler of the Aztecs.
For nearly a thousand years, Native Americans have mined and fashioned Turquoise, using it to guard their burial sites. Indian priests wore it in ceremonies when calling upon the great spirit of the sky. Many honoured Turquoise as the universal stone, believing their minds would become one with the universe when wearing it.
Because of its ability to change colour, Turquoise was used in prophesy or divining.
The Apaches believed that if a man could go to the end of a rainbow after a storm and search in the damp earth, he would find a Turquoise. One of its supposed powers was to aid the warrior or hunter in the accuracy of his aim.
The Zuñi, Native Americans of New Mexico, believed that Turquoise could protect them from demons.
In the past people believed that Turquoise protected the wearer against danger, falling from horseback and falling buildings. It also protected against approaching disaster by breaking into several pieces.
Turquoise was believed to have the ability to tell the time, counting the hours by striking the side of a glass when suspended within it.
According to Hindu mystics, an increase in wealth and protection from evil was assured after gazing at the moon on the first day after new-moon and then looking at a Turquoise stone.
Persians say that looking at the moon reflected on Turquoise will bring good fortune and protection from evil.
Turquoise symbolises optimism, well-being and sweetness.