Bet you never knew this! Turquoise is a French term meaning Turkish stone, from the phrase “pierre turquoise”, where “pierre” directly translates to “stone.”
You must think then, that turquoise came from Turkey. Although it was indeed traded in Turkey, the items bought and sold came from the Sinai Peninsula or Alimersai Mountain in Persia (now Iran), which has been mining Turquoise since 5,000 BC. The turquoise which first arrived in Europe was probably obtained in Turkish bazaars by Venetian traders. In Persian, Turquoise is known as “Firouzeh”, meaning victorious and it is the national gemstone of Iran to this day.
Historically, Persian Turquoise came to describe the fine robin’s-egg or celestial blue color stone with no visible matrix—meaning that the stone lacked the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States. These veins in the gemstone are caused by a lack of iron and little vanadium. Turquoise that lacks this matrix was and is considered the most admired type of turquoise.
By: Suraya Sidek