Where Does Turquoise Come From?

turquoise image by Maxim Petrichuk from Fotolia.com

Turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones known. In ancient times it was an important stone used in many cultures across the world. The word turquoise comes from one of two sources. The first source is the French word, Turquie, meaning Turkey since this location sat on the trade route between Persia and Europe. Today, turquoise is mainly used in jewelry and rough stones.


Turquoise is easily identified. The gemstone itself is a bright blue, close to the color of a robin's egg. Found only near copper deposits, turquoise is made in rocks containing aluminum ions. Once water is introduced to the base rock, a reaction takes place and the turquoise stone is formed. It is because of these chemical reactions that turquoise often has copper or aluminum veins running throughout the stone.


The earliest mentions of the stone come from ancient Egyptians who began mining the gemstones about 8,000 years ago. The Persian empire, now present-day Iran, mined turquoise. Persian turquoise was known for a long time to be the pinnacle of the mined turquoise. Native tribes in the southwestern United States and Mexico also found and mined this stone to use in jewelry and decoration. Today a majority of turquoise is mined in the southwestern U.S. and Iran.

Meanings and Uses

Turquoise has long been referred to as a sacred stone by many cultures. Native Americans in the southwestern United States believed this stone was a gift from the gods. While people today still believe in the energy of the turquoise, the stone is generally now used for jewelry and decorative adornments and decoration.