Saturday, June 8, 2024

What is the crystal turquoise used for?

Turquoise, with its captivating blue-green hue, has been treasured for thousands of years. This remarkable gemstone has a rich history, distinctive physical properties, and a variety of uses, ranging from jewelry to metaphysical practices. In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of turquoise, providing a comprehensive guide to its historical significance, physical properties, metaphysical uses, applications in jewelry and ornamentation, care instructions, methods of identification and selection, and its symbolism and meaning.


Historical Significance

Turquoise has been esteemed by many cultures throughout history. The earliest known use of turquoise dates back to ancient Egypt, around 3000 BCE. The Egyptians highly valued turquoise, using it to adorn everything from jewelry to ceremonial objects. The famous burial mask of Tutankhamun, for example, is inlaid with turquoise, highlighting its importance in ancient Egyptian culture.


In Persia (modern-day Iran), turquoise was considered a symbol of protection and was often worn to ward off the evil eye. Persian turquoise mines have been a source of high-quality stones for centuries, and the gem was so highly regarded that the region’s name, “Persian turquoise,” is still synonymous with some of the finest quality turquoise available today.

Native American tribes, particularly in the Southwestern United States, have a long history of using turquoise in their art and culture. For the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni tribes, turquoise is a sacred stone, symbolizing sky and water, and is used in rituals, jewelry, and as a protective amulet. Turquoise has also played a significant role in trade among these tribes, highlighting its value and importance.

Physical Properties

Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O. This unique composition is what gives turquoise its distinct blue to green coloration, depending on the relative amounts of copper and iron within the stone.


Turquoise ranges in color from sky blue to green. The most prized color is an intense, medium blue, often referred to as “Persian blue.” Greenish hues are due to the presence of iron, while copper contributes to the blue coloration.

Hardness and Durability

On the Mohs scale of hardness, turquoise ranks between 5 and 6, making it relatively soft compared to other gemstones. This means it can be scratched or damaged if not handled with care. Despite its relative softness, turquoise is quite durable and can be used in various types of jewelry and ornamental pieces.

Luster and Transparency

Turquoise typically exhibits a waxy to subvitreous luster and is usually opaque. Some high-quality stones may display a slightly translucent quality at the edges. The surface can range from smooth and polished to more textured and rugged, depending on the cut and finish.

Veining and Matrix

One of the distinctive features of turquoise is its veining or matrix. The matrix is the remnant of the host rock in which the turquoise formed. This can appear as black, brown, or tan web-like patterns across the surface of the stone, adding to its unique character and appeal.

Metaphysical Uses

Turquoise has long been associated with various metaphysical properties and is considered a powerful stone in many spiritual and healing practices.

Healing Properties

Turquoise is believed to have numerous healing properties. It is said to promote overall well-being by aiding in the detoxification of the body, strengthening the immune system, and alleviating pain and inflammation. Many people wear turquoise to help with respiratory issues, throat problems, and to support the health of the nervous system.

Emotional and Spiritual Benefits

Emotionally, turquoise is thought to stabilize mood swings, promote inner calm, and enhance communication. It is often used to encourage honesty and clear thinking, making it a popular stone for those seeking to improve their interpersonal relationships and public speaking abilities.

Spiritually, turquoise is regarded as a protective stone that can dispel negative energy and bring good fortune. It is also used in meditation to enhance intuition and connect with higher spiritual planes.

Jewelry and Ornamentation

Turquoise’s striking appearance and historical significance make it a popular choice for jewelry and decorative objects.

Types of Turquoise Jewelry

Turquoise is used in a wide variety of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pendants. It can be set in silver or gold, although silver is more traditional, especially in Native American jewelry. The stone may be polished to a smooth finish or left in a more natural, rough state, depending on the desired aesthetic.

Cultural Jewelry

In Native American culture, turquoise is often used in intricate inlay and beaded designs. Zuni jewelry, for example, is renowned for its intricate stone inlay work, often featuring turquoise. Navajo jewelry typically incorporates larger, bold turquoise stones set in heavy silver, showcasing the stone’s natural beauty.

Ornamental Uses

Beyond jewelry, turquoise is also used in various decorative objects. It can be found in carvings, mosaics, and even as inlays in furniture and home décor items. In many cultures, turquoise-adorned objects are given as gifts to symbolize friendship, protection, and good fortune.

Care Instructions

Given its relative softness and porosity, turquoise requires special care to maintain its beauty and durability.


To clean turquoise, use a soft, damp cloth and gently wipe the surface. Avoid using harsh chemicals, ultrasonic cleaners, or steam cleaning, as these can damage the stone. Mild soap can be used, but be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry the stone completely.


Store turquoise jewelry separately from harder gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to keep turquoise pieces in a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box. Avoid exposure to prolonged sunlight, extreme temperatures, and chemicals, as these can cause the stone to discolor or become brittle.

See Also: Can turquoise stick to magnets?


Turquoise is sensitive to oils, perfumes, and cosmetics, so it’s advisable to put on turquoise jewelry after applying any beauty products. Remove turquoise rings before engaging in activities that could subject the stone to impact or harsh conditions.

Identification and Selection

Choosing high-quality turquoise involves understanding its various grades and characteristics.

Natural vs. Treated Turquoise

Natural turquoise has not been altered or enhanced in any way, except for cutting and polishing. Treated turquoise, on the other hand, may be stabilized, dyed, or reconstituted to improve its appearance and durability. Stabilized turquoise has been infused with a resin to enhance its color and hardness, making it more suitable for use in jewelry.

Quality Indicators

When selecting turquoise, consider the color, matrix, and overall appearance. High-quality turquoise typically has a uniform, vibrant color with minimal veining. However, some collectors and designers prefer stones with distinctive matrix patterns, which can add character and uniqueness to the piece.

Sourcing and Authenticity

Authenticity is crucial when purchasing turquoise. Some sellers may offer imitation stones made of plastic, dyed howlite, or other materials. To ensure authenticity, buy from reputable dealers who provide information about the stone’s origin and any treatments it may have undergone.

Symbolism and Meaning

Turquoise carries deep symbolic meaning across various cultures and traditions.

Protection and Good Fortune

In many cultures, turquoise is regarded as a protective stone. Ancient warriors often wore turquoise amulets to safeguard themselves in battle, and travelers carried it to protect against accidents and theft. Today, many people wear turquoise jewelry or keep turquoise stones in their homes to attract good fortune and positive energy.

Spiritual and Emotional Balance

Turquoise is also associated with spiritual and emotional balance. It is believed to align and balance the chakras, particularly the throat chakra, which governs communication and self-expression. By promoting clarity and calm, turquoise helps individuals navigate their emotional landscape and fosters a sense of peace and serenity.

Connection to Nature

The blue-green color of turquoise is reminiscent of the sky and water, symbolizing a deep connection to nature. For Native American tribes, turquoise represents the life-giving elements of the earth, making it a sacred stone used in rituals and ceremonies to honor the natural world.


Turquoise is a gemstone that transcends time and culture, offering a unique blend of historical significance, physical beauty, and metaphysical properties. Whether you are drawn to it for its vibrant color, its spiritual benefits, or its storied past, turquoise remains a beloved and versatile stone. By understanding its various aspects, from care instructions to symbolism, you can fully appreciate the depth and beauty of turquoise, ensuring that it continues to be cherished for generations to come.

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