(A turquoise-set and enamelled gold necklace, North India, 19th century; image courtesy of Pinterest.)
Turquoise is as exquisite a visual treat as the word itself sounds coming out of one’s mouth. It occurs in the colours ranging from gorgeous blue to hues of green and what it has in common with precious metals gold, silver and copper are that it is one of the few precious elements that are wildly popular through their colours. Hence the colour it occurs in becomes the name it is known by; Turquoise.
(A large turquoise-ground ‘Bajixiang’ Cloisonne-Imitation Vase; image courtesy of Sotheby’s.)
History suggests that light was first shown on this precious mineral when it was brought to Europe from Turkey sometime in the 17th Century and it was around then that it was christened the turquoise, French for “Turkish”. The turquoise comes from Persia which is why it is also sometimes referred to as Persian blue.
It is an opaque mineral which is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium. Rare and prized for being a fine find in nature, Turquoise has been used as an ornament for ages, other than a prized gemstone of which jewellery is made, it is used in inlay, in pottery and in sculpture as well.
More on Turquoise in the next post!