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The Turquoise

by Julie MIALET 06 Feb 2022

The stone of the pharaohs in present day ...

Turquoise is a hydrated copper aluminum phosphate.
Its color can vary from sky blue to green. The most popular turquoises are those of an azure blue color, with the least black veins possible (due to copper).
Turquoise can alter with time and oxidation, they change color and become darker and greener. We then speak of dead or extinct turquoises.

Ring, Turquoise, Sapphires, Diamonds, Boucheron, Circa 1980


Turquoise has been known since antiquity.

During the Egyptian civilization, it adorned, with lapis lazuli and carnelian, the crowns and pectorals of the pharaohs. In Persia it was used as currency and for Aztecs it represented a piece of sky fallen on Earth. Turquoise was imported in France during the Crusades.


The name of this stone is the result of an error that remains with us today. Indeed, the term turquoise comes from Turkey which was at the time, the transit country (and which was wrongly thought to be the producing country) for the turquoise trade between Europe and Persia (the real producing country). The term turquoise entered the French (and English) languages and became by extension the name designating the color of this gem.

Turquoise brooch, diamonds, pearls, 18th century

Ring, Turquoises, diamonds, yellow gold, Cartier, circa 1960


Pierre Sterlé set, yellow gold, turquoise and diamonds, circa 1950


Turquoises mines have been exploited for almost 3000 years. The oldest deposits are those in Iran near the city of Nishapur and in Egypt in the Sinai region.
Today Iran remains the main producing country, however new mines have emerged: in Mexico and in the West of the United States (Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, California, etc.).
Turquoise is found in arid areas, near copper mines.

Pineapple set and brooch signed Sterlé



Turquoise is very popular, it's found on many jewels, often cast in silver and at low prices, these stones having little value. On the other hand, very beautiful stones are also used for High Jewelry pieces.

Ring (tourmalines, sapphires, diamonds, turquoises), Earrings (turquoises, diamonds), Brooch (turquoises, diamonds, lapis lazuli) Signed Van Cleef & Arpels


Warning : We often hear about dead turquoise when it is green in color (or even apple green). Turquoise is a mineral, therefore it cannot "die". Turquoise is, remember, a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, so it is just dehydrated.

Turquoise being a porous and fragile stone, it is frequently impregnated with resin, which will stabilize it and facilitate the work of the lapidary.

It will also be less sensitive to chemicals and external aggressions (sun, cream, etc.).

If you are interested in turquoise, do not hesitate to discover what Les Pierres de Julie offers in store…

We are also available for any free expertise of your turquoise jewelry, for this you can send an email with your photos to

Whether you're interested in buying a piece of jewellery or a stone, a free jewelry appraisal or jewelry resale, Pierres de Julie welcomes you to its Parisian boutique in the Village Suisse, a stone's throw from the Ecole Militaire and the Esplanade des Invalides.

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