Turquoise has always enjoyed a reasonable degree of popularity throughout history. Undoubtedly its various properties have played a great part in this. Among the types of Turquoise stones, we can mention the Tree and the A’jami Turquoises. One of the most prominent characteristics of the Turquoise stone is its attractive color, which can range from sky blue to dark blue and which affects the price considerably.
History of Turquoise
Turquoise is one of the oldest stones in the world and has a long history. Due to its attractive color, this stone has been significant and used by humans from at least the sixth and fifth millennia BC,. Archaeological excavations have c. 3000 BC the rulers of ancient Egypt used this beautiful gem for adornment, spells or burying with their mummies. As a result, its limited reserves in Egypt were soon depleted.
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the famous 17th century gem merchant and traveler, writes:
“Piroozeh exists only in Iran and is obtained from 2 mines. One of these two ancient lodes is called Sakhreh, it is located 3 days from Mashhad to the northwest, near a large city called Neishabour, and the other, which is called No-Sakhreh (New-Sakhreh), is 5 days away from it. The stones obtained from the No-Sakhreh are inferior in terms of material and their color is bluish-white and many of them can be bought at a low price. But the Shah of Iran has restricted the extraction of Turquoise from the old Sakhreh for many years and no one has the right to exploit it.”
The Iranians called this stone “Piroozeh” meaning victory, then the Arabs Arabicised the word and called it “Firoozah“.
Narrations About Turquoise Stone
Also in a narration (Hadith) Ali ibn Mahziar says:
I entered upon Hazrat Musa ibn Ja’far (AS) and saw a Turquoise ring on his hand with the engraving: (Lillahil Mulk) I continued to stare at it. The Imam said: Why do you look at it so much? This is the stone that Gabriel brought as a gift to the Prophet (PBUH) from Paradise, and the Prophet (PBUH) gave it to Ali (AS), do you know its name? I said it is Turquoise. He said, “This is its Persian name. What is its Arabic name?” I said that I don’t know, he said: It is Al-Zafar (victory).
In English, Turquoise means Turkish stone (derived from the French word Pierre Turquoise) and it is rooted in the historical fact that in the past Iran and other Middle Eastern nations exported this stone to Europe via Turkey. And everyone thought that this stone was mined in Turkey.
Yet in Turkey itself this stone was called “Fayruz” and the extraction of its best types from one of the earliest Turquoise mines in the world located in Iran’s Neishabour went back three thousand years. This stone was considered a valuable ornamental stone in Europe in the fourteenth century. After the decline of the Roman Catholic Church, people were allowed to use it to make jewelry.
In Iran, for many centuries Turquoise has been widely used to decorate objects, mosques and the interior and exterior of many important buildings. This Iranian method of construction later found its way to the Indian subcontinent, and Turquoise ended up being used in the construction of the famous Taj Mahal palace as well. Its color was considered a symbol of God’s paradise on earth. Archaeological excavations in the Central Asian region show that Iranian Turquoise has been found in the graves of the wealthy people in this region. In the Caucasus region too they have found Iranian Turquoise.
One of the most important archaeological findings is in northeastern Iran in the Burj hill area around the historic Neishabour mine and concerns the skeleton of a 45-year-old woman who was found with a perforated turquoise near her waist. Experiments show that the skeleton dates back to 4360 BC!
Throughout history, egg-shaped beads of Iranian turquoise have been used to make jewelry and decorate objects. It is said that due to the lack of processing technology, this precious stone is now exported raw from Iranian mines to Turkey and after cutting and processing, is offered to the world as Turkish Turquoise, and countries such as China, India and Italy are also trying to establish themselves as the center of trade for this beautiful mineral.The highest quality turquoise and the most important turquoise mines in Iran