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A Guide to Turquoise: Meaning, Properties and Everyday Uses

Written by: Jessica Kramer

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Time to read 8 min

turquoise crystal

Introduction


Turquoise is an ancient and mystical stone that has been prized for its striking blue-green color and unique properties since prehistoric times. The name of the stone dates to the 16th century and comes from the French expression Pierre tourques or Turkish stone, as the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey. However, turquoise has been mined and traded by various cultures for over 6,000 years.

Turquoise deposits have been found in South and Central America, China, Tibet, Egypt, and Persia. Native Americans have treasured the stone for its amuletic powers and healing benefits. The vibrant blue stones were associated with the sky, and turquoise jewelry adorned kings, shamans, and warriors alike. It was also highly esteemed in ancient Persian, Egyptian, and Chinese civilizations. Its allure has spanned continents and cultures.

Its distinct color ranges from sky blue to bluish green and is caused by the presence of copper. No two stones are alike—the stone occurs in various hues with unique black, brown, or white matrix patterns. These organic veins and spots, called the matrix, make each turquoise totally unique. The most valued peace is an intense robin’s egg blue with little matrix. Its striking color and natural variations give the stone an exotic, earthy beauty unlike any other gemstone.

Meaning and Symbolism


Often called a "fallen sky stone", it evokes a sense of wisdom, truth and understanding.

For many ancient civilizations, turquoise represented the power of life and regeneration. The Aztecs attributed it to Quetzalcoatl, the god of sky, while Native Americans viewed it as a holy stone that connected the mortal and the divine. Tribes like the Apache believed turquoise helped warriors and hunters avoid harm, granting them protection and accuracy.

In the East, it was closely associated with spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. Tibetan monks adorned turquoise beads believing it cleared the mind, purified thoughts and enhanced meditation. Chinese artists and healers used the "stone of heaven" to promote balance and growth.

Across religions and cultures, turquoise symbolized the sacred and sublime. Modern mystics and crystal practitioners continue to harness its spiritual attributes for clarity, guidance and transcendence. It remains highly prized for awakening wisdom and expanding consciousness.

Turquoise Healing properties


Turquoise is renowned for its healing energy that can benefit the mind, body and spirit. Here are some of the main healing properties associated with this stone:

  • Respiratory System - Turquoise is believed to benefit the respiratory system by clearing blockages and calming inflammation. It may alleviate asthma, bronchitis, coughs and sore throats.

  • Immune System - This stone is thought to stimulate and strengthen the immune system. It could help the body fight infections and prevent illness.

  • Cardiovascular System - Turquoise may aid in regulating blood pressure, heart rate and circulation. It is considered a heart chakra stone that promotes overall cardiovascular health.

  • Anxiety and Depression - Its calming energy can ease feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. It brings inner peace, emotional balance and stability.

  • Mood Swings - This stone is known for its stabilizing effect that can level out mood swings, irritability and emotional turbulence. It promotes inner calm and tranquility.

  • Emotional Healing - Turquoise assists in processing old emotions and trauma. It allows for the free flow of thoughts and feelings for clearing and healing.

  • Spiritual Insight - This stone opens the mind to new perspectives, enhances inner wisdom and nurtures personal growth. It brings clarity to realize one's highest truth.

turquoise

Everyday uses


Turquoise is more than just a beautiful ornamental stone. When incorporated into daily life, it can have transformative effects on mood, mindset, and manifestation abilities. Here are some suggestions for harnessing the power of turquoise energy:

  • Wear turquoise jewelry - Necklaces, bracelets, rings, and other accessories allow for ongoing contact with the stone throughout the day. Having it near the throat chakra aids communication. Near the heart, it promotes emotional healing. On the fingers, it boosts creativity and manifestation.

  • Place turquoise in spaces - Putting stones in places where you spend a lot of time enhances the energy of that environment. Turquoise encourages calm, relaxed moods and an openness to new ideas. Use it in rooms for meditation, creative work, or gatherings with friends and family.

  • Meditate with turquoise - Holding the stone during meditation amplifies its ability to promote insight, guidance, and manifestation. Focus on the desired goal while visualizing the vibrant blue color. Feel it activating the third eye and throat chakras. Trust intuitive messages received during this process.

By integrating turquoise into everyday living, its uplifting and empowering qualities become an integral part of the lifestyle. A little goes a long way when working with this highly spiritual stone.

Protection and cleansing


Turquoise is known for its protective qualities and ability to shield the wearer from negative energies, malintentions, and psychic attacks. Its vibrant blue color emits a positive vibration that creates an energetic barrier around the physical and emotional body.

As a stone of purification, it helps to cleanse and clear accumulated energetic debris within the aura and environment. It can transmute dense heavier energies into lighter vibrations. However, as a porous stone, turquoise absorbs negative energies easily and needs to be cleansed regularly to maintain its potency.

There are several simple methods to effectively cleanse turquoise:

  • Expose the stone to sunlight or moonlight. The light rays will help burn away any accumulated negativity.

  • Hold the stone under running water or soak in a bowl of water overnight. Imagine the water washing away impurities.

  • Use the sound vibrations of a ringing bell or tuning fork held close to the stone. Sound clears stagnant energies.

  • Place with crystal clusters such as amethyst or quartz which amplify the stone’s cleansing capacity.

  • Visualization of white or blue light surrounding the stone will also restore its positive charge.

Regular cleansing keeps the stone vibrant, restores its protective powers, and helps you benefit from its shielding qualities for spiritual wellbeing.

Choosing turquoise


When selecting a turquoise stone, the quality and color are the most important factors. Look for a vivid sky blue hue, this indicates good quality. 

The matrix, or webbing, is crucial - high quality stones feature a uniform, spiderweb-like matrix. This is formed by the host rock surrounding the crystals as they develop. 

The ideal stone has a striking robin's egg blue color, a fine spiderweb matrix, and a polished, undamaged surface, showcasing the exceptional quality that makes this gem treasured worldwide.

However, the most important factor in gem shopping is to find a stone that you love! While the following factors are great indicators of what the masses seek, be sure to find a stone that resonates with you.


Caring for turquoise


This gemstone is relatively fragile and requires basic care to maintain its best appearance. Here are some tips for handling and caring for your jewelry or tumbled stones:

  • Store the gemstone in a soft cloth pouch or box, away from harder stones that could scratch it. Keeping pieces separate prevents them from knocking against each other.

  • Avoid exposing it to chemicals, perfumes, and other liquids including water. Chemicals can discolor or damage the stone.

  • Protect it from prolonged exposure to sunlight or extreme heat, both of which can cause fading and dehydration over time. Take off turquoise jewelry before swimming, exercising, showering, etc.

  • Gently clean the gemstone as needed with a soft toothbrush or jewelry polishing cloth to remove oils and dirt buildup. Do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners on turquoise. Use mild soap only if absolutely necessary.

  • Pat dry after cleansing to prevent spotting. Be gentle when handling to prevent abrasion or fracturing of the stone.

  • Consider removing jewelry when doing manual work or activities that could scratch or fracture the stone. Turquoise has a Mohs hardness rating of 5-6, so it can be fragile.

  • Store and display out of direct sunlight to retain its color vibrancy. Keeping turquoise in a closed box is ideal for protection.

With some basic care and maintenance, your gemstone pieces can retain their natural beauty for many years. Handle this delicate stone gently and it will continue to showcase its distinctive color.

turquoise

Buying guide


When purchasing turquoise, it's important to understand the differences between natural and treated stones, and to buy from reputable dealers.

Natural vs Treated Turquoise

  • Natural stone has not been altered other than cutting and polishing. It retains its inherent properties and value.

  • Treated stone has been stabilized with resin, dye, or other chemicals to improve color and durability. This lowers value.

  • High quality natural stone has vivid robin's egg blue color with no matrix (webbing).

  • Lower grades show more matrix, chalkiness, paler color.

  • Uniform color and webbing indicates treatment.

Price Ranges

  • Top grade natural stone can cost $1000+ per carat.

  • Average quality turquoise ranges from $50 to $500 per carat.

  • Low grade and treated stone can cost less than $10 per carat.

  • Larger stones over 5 carats command higher premiums.

  • Cabochons and rounded, symmetrical stones also cost more.

Questions to Ask Dealers

  • Is this stone natural or treated? Can you provide a lab certificate?

  • Where was it mined originally? How was it processed?

  • Do you offer any guarantees on authenticity or refunds?

  • Can I examine the turquoise under magnification to check quality?

  • Are you a member of any gemology associations that affirm ethical business practices?

  • Avoid dealers who seem uncertain, vague or unwilling to address these key questions. Go with sellers who welcome inquiries and take pride sharing their expertise.

Conclusion


The most meaningful takeaways about turquoise are its abilities to uplift mood, calm the mind, and protect against negative energy. It resonates with the throat chakra and can help us express ourselves clearly and confidently. For healing, it is known to aid the immune system, respiratory system, bones, and mental clarity.

In everyday life, this versatile stone can be worn as jewelry, placed in sacred spaces, used in meditation, or infused into water. Its serene color invites feelings of happiness, wisdom, and inner tranquility. With proper cleansing and charging, its potency can be maintained for continued impact.

Turquoise represents wisdom, friendship, and luck. It opens us to new possibilities and higher states of being. If you feel drawn to this revered stone, don't hesitate to begin your own journey of working with its ancient power and exploring its transformative potential. Discover for yourself the magic that turquoise can bring into your life.

Further Resources


There are many great resources available to continue your exploration of turquoise. Here are some recommendations:

Books

  • The Book of Stones: Who They Are and What They Teach by Robert Simmons - An in-depth guide to the metaphysical properties of different gemstones including turquoise.

  • Turquoise: Masterpiece of Nature by Joe Dan Lowry - A visual celebration of turquoise covering its scientific properties, history, and cultural significance.

  • American Turquoise: Rediscovering a Native American Gemstone by Douglas B. Ball - Traces turquoise's use and trade routes throughout Native American history.