native gem of the ancients


Turquoise Origin & Physical Properties

Turquoise is an opaque mineral with blue to olive green color tones, classified as a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum. It has one of the oldest histories of use as a gemstone, and was a valuable commodity throughout the old world and Asia. The modern name for the mineral Turquoise, originated from the French term for ‘Turkish’ which was ’turquois’. This came into use because Turkish traders brought the mineral to Europe for trade after acquiring the valuable stone from the mines of Khorasan in Persia. Indeed, its color and importance as a gemstone was so great, that it has entered the modern lexicon as an adjective for the color Turquoise.

Turquoise is a cryptocrystalline mineral and very rarely forms into developed crystals. The properties of the mineral’s hardness, density and porosity vary greatly from one stone to the next. Its color is also highly variable, ranging from powder blue to sky blue, bluish green to olive green. Higher content of copper in its chemical structure causes a stronger blue, while increased iron content results in a more olive green color. Turquoise often includes black or brown veins or patches of its host rock. When the black matrix is not heavily included in its make up, it lends a distinctive character to the stone. The most  valuable Turquoise in the world comes from mines in Arizona and New Mexico and is often called ’Sleeping Beauty’ Turquoise, named after one of the premier mines in the area. Arizona Turquoise often has a bright sky blue color and very little matrix inclusions.

Turquoise nearly always forms in massive rock form and all of the world’s important localities are semi to very arid in climate. In these areas, rainfall slowly carried deposits of copper into the ground beneath the surface. As the water evaporated, the copper bonded with aluminum and phosphorus. If the conditions were optimal, the new mineral Turquoise can completely replace the matrix or host rock and leave masses of the nearly formed Turquoise deposits.

Important historical localities for Turquoise include the mines of antiquity in Iran which date back at least 2000 years and the Sinai peninsula in Egypt which was mined by the ancient Egyptians going back to at least 3000 B.C. The ancient Chinese were also mining turquoise for over 3000 years from the Hubei province. Locations in Tibet and Nepal have been mined extensively for millennia and many historical Turquoise artifacts have been discovered in the ancient Indus Valley. The southwest of the United States was and still remains an important source for Turquoise since the time of Native Americans who mined the stone extensively. Arizona is currently the most important source for valuable Turquoise today.

Category Properties

Chemical Composition

CuAl(PO)(OH) • 4HO

Mohs Hardness 



Waxy to subvitreous

Specific Gravity


Refractive Index

1.61 – 1.65



Crystal System



Subtranslucent to opaque


Turquoise, Blue, Blue-Green, Green


U.S., Mexico, Iran, Chile, China, and Tibet


Throat (5th)




Earth, Air

Metaphysical Effects

Positivity, Empathy, wisdom, happiness, intuition 

Turquoise Healing & Metaphysical Properties

Turquoise History & Mythology

Egyptian ancient artifact carved Turquoise stone History & Mythology