Turquoise is a distinctive blue to green copper mineral. The name means ‘Turkish stone’ from the French expression ‘pierre tourques’ as the trade route that bought it to Europe was historically through Turkey. Long before it reached Europe, the Egyptians loved wearing turquoise in jewellery, so much so that turquoise deposits in Sinai were already depleted by 2000BC.
Turquoise is an opaque, polycrystalline material that often contains patches or veins of the host rock known as ‘matrix’ material. Turquoise is used both in jewellery and as an ornamental material, in carvings and mosaics. It is the birthstone for December, and is sourced from Iran, Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania and the USA.