Turquoise Meaning

Crystal Healing, Mineralogy, and History

Published January 2015  •  Updated March 2024  •  Read Time: 10 minutes
Turquoise can be blue, green, or somewhere in between.  Most of the Turquoise you see in jewelry and in tumbled stones has been stabilized.  This is because untreated can be soft like chalk and crumble easily.  Some nuggets are sturdy enough to not require stabilization, but those little gems are rare.  Turquoise has been sought after for thousands of years for its beauty and healing properties.  According to Native American tribes in the southwest, the blue stones have a ‘male energy’ that evokes Father Sky, while the green ones have ‘female energy’ and Mother Earth.  Regardless of the hue, it is an incredible stone for peace and balance.

Turquoise

Turquoise Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Turquoise is a stone of great wisdom. It enhances communication between this world and the spiritual worlds. It has a purifying essence and protects us from negative outside influences. Turquoise sends a cool refreshing energy into us when we feel spiritually tired and need to be nourished and restored to our selves. It balances and aligns the chakras and meridians, as well as our male and female energies. Turquoise helps us to express our Truth clearly and confidently, while also being open to new ideas. Turquoise invites us to continually learn and grow, becoming steadily more masterful over the course of our lives. It encourages compassion, generosity, and kindness towards all beings. Bright blue stones are thought to have ‘male’ energy and evoke the expansive sky, while green ones are thought to have ‘female’ energy and evoke the rich Earth.

Metaphysical Properties Turquoise
Chakra Throat
Element Storm and Wind
Numerology 1
Zodiac Scorpio, Sagittarius and Pisces

Emotional Healing Properties

Turquoise is an exquisite balancing stone for the emotions, helping us to feel peaceful and at ease. It reduces stress and gives us fresh energy to tackle any challenges we may be facing. Turquoise gently dissolves any impulses for self-sabotage and martyrdom, instead inviting us to seek out elegant solutions to any problems we might have and to act in accordance with our Highest Good. Turquoise encourages self-forgiveness, acceptance, and love. It helps us to let go of regret and to be open to receiving love from others. Turquoise also helps us to forgive others for their transgressions, and be more understanding of the bigger picture. Blue stones are particularly good for being able to communicate openly and honestly about difficult emotional topics.  Green ones encourages us to speak for the heart and be honest and sincere, especially when discussing emotionally sensitive topics.

Mental Healing Properties

Turquoise reveals how our own actions have influenced events in our lives, showing us that in many ways we are ‘masters of our own fate’. Turquoise encourages both intuition and logic, helping us to have clearer foresight about future events so we can adjust our present course accordingly. It inspires creativity and enables us to work for long periods of time peacefully. Turquoise encourages us to take care of ourselves, physically and emotionally, so that we don’t work ourselves into an exhaustion and so we can continue to work and give of ourselves in a way that is healthy and satisfying. Blue stones, in particular, encourages the mind to stay focused on a single important task and do it well.  Green stones reminds us to move forward steadily and surely, rather than frantically rushing. It asks us to give ourselves time to grow and our projects time to bear fruit.

Physical Healing Properties

Turquoise is recommended when everything feels like too much. It helps us to calm down when our sensory perceptions feel too acute or when physical pain feels more dramatic than it normally would be. Turquoise encourages us to relax, to take a few deep breaths and to act sensibly to sooth our body and flustered nerves. For example, we might need to have a glass of water, get in a warm bath, go for a walk or distract ourselves with some easy entertainment. Turquoise is a fantastic talisman when we are dealing with diseases that scare or stress us out. It is also a great talisman when we are dealing with inflammation, auto-immune disorders, stress-headaches and sensory problems, especially those related to eye-sight.

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Turquoise Mineralogy

Where does Turquoise come from?

High quality Turquoise is most famously found in Mexico, Iran and the United States.  It is also found in several other countries including Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.  Experts can sometimes pinpoint the deposit simply by looking at the color.  For example, Sleeping Beauty is mined in Arizona and is famous for its bright robin’s egg blue coloring which is very pure and has almost no matrix.

Mining and Treatments

Turquoise is a rare and highly desirable gemstone.  Most mining operations are small scale, worked by hand with little to no mechanization.  It  is often mined as a byproduct of small-scale and industrial Copper mines.  The politics and financial relationship between the primary mineral and secondary minerals is subject to change over time.  For example, the owners of the Copper mine on Sleeping Beauty peak used to allow small-scale miners to legal gather the blue stone.  There was a disagreement and the mine owners decided to discontinue this arrangement.  As a result, any new Turquoise found in the mine is simply grounded up and tossed aside in pursuit of Copper.  As a result, Sleeping Beauty has become increasingly rare and valuable.

Turquoise Placeholder
Turquoise

There is a great deal of fake and cheap Turquoise on the market.  Most of it is dyed Magnesite, plastic, or glass.  The most convincing form is the the dyed Magnesite with its dark veins of matrix.  Sometimes low-quality Turquoise is dyed or even ground up and then reconstituted to bring out a more uniform color.

Natural Turquoise stone is rarely uniform in color and is typically fairly expensive.  Most of the time, the stone is lightly waxed/oiled to bring out the color and luster of the stone.  The majority of gems are stabilized, since this mineral is so soft in its natural form, but occasionally nuggets are found that don’t require stabilization.

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Mineral Family

Turquoise is a phosphate family.  Phosphate minerals all contain Phosphorus and Oxygen in a 1:4 ratio (written as PO4), which are then combined with various other elements to create unique minerals.  It can be blue or green.  The blue variety gets its color because of inclusions of copper and aluminum.  The green variety has more zinc and iron.

Turquoise’s energy works well with its family – other Phosphate minerals.  Try it in combination with Apatite, Lazulite, Trolleite, Variscite, and Vanadinite.

Turquoise Formation and Crystal Associates

Turquoise forms in arid desert regions, during the weathering and oxidation process of pre-existing minerals.  For Turquoise to form, the right combination of minerals has to be in an area, exposed to the elements.  Turquoise requires a combination of Copper-sulfide materials (which typically is found in minerals like: Azurite, Chalcopyrite, or Malachite), Aluminum minerals (typically Feldspar minerals like Fuchsite), and Phosphorus (typically from Apatite).  Turquoise usually fills or encrusts cavities and veins in igneous rocks.  Generally, it appears at a relatively shallow depth of less than 20 meters (66 feet).

Turquoise’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Chrysocolla and Pyrite.

Mineralogy Blue Turquoise
Chemical Formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8 4H2
Cleavage Good
Color Blue
Crystal System Triclinic
Form/Habit Massive
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness – Mohs Scale 5-6
Luminescence Blueish-white (long wave)
Luster Waxy to dull
Mineral Family Phosphates
Specific Gravity 2.6-2.8
Streak White to green
Transparency Opaque

History of Turquoise

Turquoise has been beloved for thousands of years in multiple locations around the world.  As a result, it has some of the very oldest traditions of any healing stone.  The name comes from the French phrase, pierre turquoise, or “Turkish Stone”.  During the Medieval period, the Turks were responsible for introducing Persian  and Central Asian Turquoise into Europe, via Venetian merchants.  Persian Turquoise is considered to be some of the finest in the world.

The earliest known Turquoise jewelry dates back to the very dawn of civilization.  Four bracelets made of Gold, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, and Amethyst were found in the First Dynasty tomb of Pharaoh Djer and his Queen Nakhtneith (c.3300 BCE).  The bracelets were found on a mummified arm, presumed to be female, and often regarded as the Queen’s.  They are often incorrectly attribute to a “Queen Zar (5500 BCE).”  Presumably this error is because Pharaoh Djar’s name is sometimes translated as Zar, and while Egyptian history dates back about 5000 years from today, royal history began in the 3000 BCE.   The bracelets are now in the Cairo Museum.

The Sinai Turquoise mine was one of the most extensively documented and organized mining operations of the ancient world.  It produced a more blue-green, rather than the sky-blue hues found in Persia or Central Asia.  Egyptian records dating as far back as the reign of Pharaoh Semerkhet (c.2961 BCE), describe the Sinai Turquoise mine as requiring thousands of laborers.  The Turquoise extracted was used to make jewelry and ornaments ranging from weapon hilts to amulets, and was sometimes even used to decorate royal thrones.  According to Egyptian papyri records, Turquoise was connected to numerous deities, including Amun and Isis, and was a particularly valuable amulet for protecting and healing the eyes.

Arab, Persian, and Turkish writers have often included passages about Turquoise in medical treatises.  It was believed to offer general protection and healing, particular for the eyes, as well as staving off everything from sunstroke to epilepsy, and from scorpion stings to the ‘evil eye’.  Small beads have been used on bridles and have been woven into horse and camel manes since time untold, to protect them from the harsh desert sun and to give them vigor and energy for long journeys.  This belief that Turquoise protects horses and riders was transported to Europe around the 17th century and continues to be believed by many equestrians worldwide.  The stone is particularly thought to protect both rider and horse from injuries caused by a fall.  While the Sinai mines have long since played out, similar mines in Iran and Afghanistan still actively produce beautiful stones.  Persian and Afghani Turquoise was widely traded throughout the Eurasian continent, as far west as Europe and east into India and Nepal.  Today, Turquoise is the national gemstone of Iran.  Turquoise from this region has a very even sky-blue color, and is slightly harder than North American Turquoise, which ranges from sky-blue to green.  Modern gem lore in Iran states that the gem brings good luck, and if the color changes it is a warning of either danger or infidelity.  Turquoise can, in fact, change color because it is a porous mineral.  When worn regularly it can absorb oils from the body which, over time, can change the color of the stone.

Persian Turquoise Tiara

The Persian Turquoise Tiara (Princess Margaret, UK)

In Nepal, Turquoise is widely used for jewelry and decorations, along with Red Coral.  Turquoise is believed to hold both spiritual and protective qualities and was used in a variety of ceremonies.  For example, in traditional Tibetan marriage ceremonies, it is affixed to an arrow and carried on the back of the bride, to protect her and ensure that she is guided forward in a manner that will best serve her and her family.

Mesoamerican Turquoise was mined as early as 200 CE and used by the Mayans and the Aztecs for decorative and spiritual purposes.   Highly-polished chips were used to create marvelous mosaics.  The Aztec mosaics are particularly impressive and consist of many thousands of stones.  These mosaics encrusted shields, helmets, jewelry, cult statues, and elaborate masks.  The gem was valued so highly that the most important Aztec deity, the solar god, Xiuhlecuhtli, name translates to “Lord of Turquoise”.  The Aztec buried their dead with a small bead of Turquoise in their mouth, so that they would have a gift for the gods when the deceased arrived in the afterlife.

Archaeological evidence shows that Native American tribes have been mining Turquoise in the American Southwest for at least a millennium, if not far longer.  As in other cultures, the stone was used for decorations and shamanic purposes, as well as being a valuable trade good.  Southwestern tribes, particularly the Navajo, Zuni, Apache, Hopi, and Pueblo peoples consider Turquoise to be a protective stone and one that bestows ‘goodness’ on its owner.  Bright blue stone is believed to be ‘male’ and is associated with Father Sky, while green ones are ‘female’ and represents Mother Earth.  Historically, Blue Turquoise was given to boys and used to decorate their cradle boards to help them grow into strong warriors.  Turquoise of both colors were considered essential components to the Medicine Bag of any great healer or shaman.

Navajo shamans famously used Turquoise in rain making ceremonies, by throwing the stone into a swift-moving river, or else holding it under running water. Turquoise is also tied to prayer sticks and is said to give shamans the ability to control and command the winds.  Today, many Southwestern tribes use the stone for cloud-bursting and as decorations on rainmaking sticks.  According to Apache lore, the most powerful Turquoise can be found at the end of a rainbow, where the ground is still moist from rain.  Such stones should be affixed to rifles or arrows, and will increase accuracy in hunting and warfare.  After his first successful hunt, a native boy is often given beads in celebration of his prowess.

To many Southwestern tribes, Turquoise is the most valuable gemstone of all and hardly any ceremony can be performed without it.  Small fetishes are carved out of, or decorated with, Turquoise and added to medicine bag bundles.  The bundles should not be touched by anyone other than the owner, and are carried for protection and good luck.  Turquoise can also be used in love spells, to attract both men and women and make them faithful to their lover.

Additional References:

  1. Turquoise, mindat.org
  2. Bracelet (curator’s comments) https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA35528

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2024-03-07T10:01:13-10:00

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About the Author:

Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology, and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.
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