Turquoise is an opaque gemstone with rich color variations from green and greenish blue to bright sky blue shades. Turquoise has been an important gemstone in many cultures for thousands of years. The name turquoise is said to have originated when was gem was first brought to Europe by traders from Asia Minor, even though the traders were not necessarily of Turkish origin. Most likely Turquoise from that time came from mines in Egypt, not Turkey. Today important deposits are also found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, China, Tibet, Israel, United States and Mexico. Historically, the Aztecs mined turquoise in an area now known as New Mexico and a significant amount of fine Turquoise still comes from Arizona, California and Nevada.
Throughout history Turquoise has been considered a precious stone by ancient Egyptian, Persian, and other Eastern cultures. In the ancient Persian myth, the sky-blue gemstones were earlier worn round the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death. If they changed color, the wearer was thought to have reason to fear the approach of doom. The Aztecs and other Mesoamerican peoples valued Turquoise very highly; Aztecs and many Native American cultures cherished turquoise for its healing and protective power, and it's power to attract beneficial spirits. It is extremely prized in Tibet, where it is considered more valuable than gold, and is sometimes worn one’s entire life as a dowry heirloom.
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