Turquoise History


Turquoise jewelry has been found interred with a 7,500 hundred-year-old Egyptian mummy. Turquoise beads from at least 5000 B.C. were traced back to Mesopotamia, the name for ancient Iraq. The Americas started mining it probably a millennium ago, and it has been uncovered in burial sites all the way from Argentina to the American Southwest.

 Its name is said to have come about by the mistaken belief that it came from Turkey, or perhaps, the Persian word, firouze. Either way, its name has come to mean a particular sky blue color that is most popular in turquoise jewelry and is December's alternate birthstone

Supposedly it was a white trader who first suggested to the Navajos that they might make carvings on turquoise. Whatever the origin of the practice, it has endured to this day. The turquoise was generally believed to shield individuals from snakebite, poison, eye disease, and falls. It was thought to impart power to its owner, and to invoke rain for the crops.

The turquoise was revered among the Native Americas. The Navajo claimed turquoise was a piece of sky fallen to earth, the Apache believed it aided warriors and hunters to aim more accurately, the Zuni thought it protected them from demons and the Aztecs reserved it for their gods, forbidding mere mortals to wear it. Even today, the polished beauty of a turquoise carving evokes a mystical response from people.