Turquoise Symbolism – a Brief History and Some Interesting Facts

Posted by Tony Otteson on

You indeed love your Apache Blue Turquoise ring, but there’s so much about turquoise symbolism that will make you love it more.

From Afghanistan to the Zuni Pueblo, people all over the world have revered turquoise as a good luck stone for several centuries. Blue as a robin’s egg or the summer sky, this soft stone has inspired many historic mystical associations. There is a saying in Ancient Persian:

To escape evil and attain the good fortune, one must see the reflection of the New Moon either on the face of a beloved friend, a copy of the Koran, or a turquoise.

Turquoise is perhaps the most ancient gemstone in human history; it's the talisman of success, power, and protection. People have heard all the praises about turquoise but may not know its brief history and cultural facts that cross different tribes and people through the ancient history of humans. In this blog post, you are going to read about the Turquoise symbolism and some interesting historical and cultural facts about it.

Aztec Turquoise Symbolism

Bernal Diaz Del Castillo, a Spanish historian, and conquistador stated that the Aztecs of Mexico valued chalchihuitl, or commonly known as turquoise, more than the Spaniards valued emerald and gold. One account relates how the Emperor Montezuma and the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado played games of chance. Alvarado received gold upon winning but paid chalchihuitl if he lost.

The Aztecs believed the god Quetzalcoatl taught them the art of polishing and cutting turquoise. Their chiefs wore long strings of Candelaria Turquoise beads as a symbol of distinction. In the temple of the great goddess Matlalcueye, the Aztecs presented the offerings of this stone. When they buried respectable persons, they placed fragments of Turquoise stone in their mouths.

The Aztecs and many other Meso-American cultures created mosaics of turquoise, shell, and garnet. They also made robust masks of wood and turquoise. This art was still duly practiced in Guatemala as late as 1892.

Native American Southwest and Turquoise Symbolism

The Apache highly valued duklij, (Turquoise) for its magical, talismanic properties. They carved beads, amulets, pendants, and fetishes from this valuable stone. If Apache shamans didn’t initially possess this stone, they wouldn’t receive due respect from their tribes. One popular belief connected to the turquoises and rainbows, according to them, is if you could find the end of a rainbow formed after a storm, mining the damp earth would yield a Turquoise.

The Navaho used coral and crushed turquoise to make sacred sand mandalas for summoning rain.

A Zuni legend relates the ancient story of a Turquoise Man and Salt Woman. The story goes something like; they felt they were not respected enough, so they moved far away from the people. Turquoise Man said, “His flesh was only given out to women for sexual favors.” (Guess he wasn’t bothered for being used as money). The Zuni held an annual pilgrimage to reclaim salt from the sacred lake where Salt Woman once hid.

In New Mexico at Pueblo de Los Muertos, a sea shell coated with pitch and inset with apache blue turquoise and garnets was found. They had the form of a toad, a sacred symbol for the Zuni.

Facts about Turquoise

Whether used as a protective or decorative or amulet, a rain bringer, or a horse protector, turquoise has been cherished by people of all the natives everywhere. The bluestone with the liveliness of the sunny sky has always been a foremost symbol of hope. Here are a few more interesting facts about the beauty itself.

Turquoise is the only gemstone that has a color named after it

The vibrant appearance of pure Candelaria Turquoise is so pleasing to the eye that it has been ordained as an official color in itself - a privilege that no other gemstone in the world enjoys to this day. It's instantly recognizable and absolutely versatile to be the kind of accessory that goes with every look.

Turquoise is the gemstone for 11th marriage anniversary

As much as singles love Turquoise, it is the official stone for the couples delightfully cherishing their 11years of togetherness. For others looking for wedding themes, Turquoise is a great benefit. Imagine having a wedding-themed with the classic white bridal dress with Turquoise sparkling jewelry, beautiful, no?

Turquoise comes in a vast range of colors

The Himalayan ground, where Turquoise is found by Tibetan miners, has a distinctive greenish color, which makes Tibetan Turquoise famous and highly desirable across the world. On the other hand, the gemstones that are found in Egyptian and Persian mines are much bluer in color, with less obvious veining on the surface when they are shaped and cut for jewelry making. The variations in veining and color occur because of the differently varied levels of aluminum and copper present in the water that flows through the giant rocks in which it is formed.

Tibetan and Nepalese people call it the ‘Sky Stone’

Turquoise in apache blue has been admired by people in the Himalayas for thousands of years thanks to the belief that it came from the sacred heavens above. Its eye-catching bluish-green color is believed to bring protection and hope to everyone who carries it on their person. This is the reason why children in Tibet have gifted the gemstone in their early years of birth to keep them safe on their journey through life.

Turquoise can change color

According to the ancient beliefs, Turquoise changes color based on the likelihood of awaiting danger to the person wearing or carrying it; it was believed to be a legitimate way of knowing when to seek cover or protection or to bring some change in your life.

From the Ancient Egyptians to the Persians to the Native Americans, Turquoise’s striking blue hue with rich varieties of black and brown veining - also known as the matrix - has caught the eye of many lovers of high-quality gemstones. In fact, its visual appeal is so charming that it has been a foremost source of many spiritual belief systems through many eras.

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