Turquoise has been used in jewelry for longer than any other stone. It has been found on ancient Egyptian mummies. Arizona and New Mexico are major sources of turquoise and the gem has been prized by Native Americans for hundreds of years. Mining is simple as most turquoise is deposited at or near the surface and its vivid color makes it easy to find.
Throughout history, turquoise has been used for jewelry and adornments of all kinds. However, it went out of fashion somewhat in the latter half of the 20th century, probably because most young women of the time could remember their grandmothers wearing it. Today though it is becoming as popular as it ever was and modern jewelry designers are now creating some stunning pendants, bracelets, rings and turquoise earrings.
The name turquoise came originally from the French meaning Turkish as hundreds of years ago the stone found its way to Europe via Turkey, although the best turquoise was from Persia (Iran) and good uniform color stones are still often referred to as Persian turquoise. Now the name is applied to the color as well as the stone itself which can actually found in different variations from a bright blue, through the various shades of turquoise blue to an apple green or grey green. The color is produced by copper and in contrast to most gemstones, turquoise is opaque.
Turquoise looks particularly striking with yellow gold as it is a warm blue. This combination was favored by Queen Victoria who is known to have given gifts of gold jewelry set with turquoise stones. Natural inclusions in turquoise are often a brownish gold color and this also blends well with a yellow gold setting. However beware a regular mottled look to the inclusions as created or reconstituted turquoise is frequently made to look like this. That is not to say that buying simulated turquoise is always a bad idea as many pieces of very attractive costume jewelry are now made with this.
Many of the modern jewelry designs for turquoise earrings set the stone in sterling silver. This has the double benefit of reducing the price of the earrings as silver is cheaper than gold, and also adding to their appeal for young women who tend to prefer white metal over yellow. The trend for funky geometric designs incorporates turquoise and sterling silver in triangular, square and circular drop earrings which will certainly appeal to the fashion conscious woman.
Turquoise is the birthstone for December and its rich shades tone well with the darker clothes that tend to be worn in winter. The vibrant blue stands out against black, brown and navy and is a particularly stunning combination with deep reds, burgundy and purple. Coffee brown with turquoise is a fashionable color combination in home décor. However, turquoise does not sit happily with many other gemstones. It is very rare indeed to find a pair of diamond and turquoise earrings for example although pearls do go with it rather well.