Turquoise is a mineral composed of copper and aluminium. Turquoise was used by the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs as a decorative stone and a jewellery gemstone. King Tutankhamun's burial mask and tomb was inlaid with turquoise. It is still used in jewellery today; it can be cut and set in beautiful expensive jewellery or polished for a more tribal or ethnic look. Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for December alongside Tanzanite.
The colour turquoise is named after the gemstone, it is the only gemstone where this is the case. Turquoise is a sky-blue, blue green colour, but often has brown, dark grey or black veins running through it. Pure blue turquoise is very rare.
Turquoise of the highest quality is sourced from Northeast Iran. Other deposits are found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania and the USA.
Turquoise is sensitive to heat, it should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight in order to prevent discolouration. Avoid contact with perfume, hair spray, creams and any other household products, which could cause the gemstone to turn a dull green. Most turquoise jewellery can be cleaned using mild soapy water however some dyed stones may discolour. Test on a small area of stone. Be sure to remove any soapy residue. Store your turquoise jewellery separately in a soft cloth pouch to avoid damage and scratching from other jewellery.