Turquoise jewelry has enjoyed popularity for thousands of years, having a history as rich as its unmistakable color. Not only was it a favorite of ancient royalty, but it was also the first gem to be named a December birthstone. Keep reading to discover facts, styling options, and care tips for this aquatic beauty.

Eight Facts About Turquoise

  • Turquoise stone is formed in dry areas when it rains. The water dissolves copper in the soil and rocks it comes into contact with and combines with aluminum, phosphorus, iron and chrome.
  • The dark, brownish spider web pattern that you see on some turquoise is called matrix and is part of the host rock.
  • Turquoise might be the first stone that was ever mined, with evidence that it was mined back in Ancient Egypt before 4000 BC. 
  • The gem was popular with rulers of the ancient Aztecs, Egyptians, Persians and Chinese.
  • Today, most turquoise deposits are in the U.S., and the gem is most well-known for its use in Native American jewelry.
  • It is the traditional gift for spouses on their 11th wedding anniversary, representing communication and mutual understanding.
  • Turquoise is the only gemstone to officially have a color named after it.
  • It is one of the December birthstones, along with tanzanite, topaz and zircon.

The Symbolism of Turquoise

A trio of turquoise rings in three different colors
Featuring: Southwest Style Jewelry by JTV

Many of the powers and meanings attached to turquoise can also be traced far back into history. The stone is associated with wisdom and tranquility and is also believed to protect and bring good luck to its wearers. 

Considering how much history turquoise has seen around the world, it is easy to see how it became connected to wisdom. How could you not feel a sense of tranquility from gazing at the gem’s blues and greens that evoke the peace of nature?

Colors of Turquoise

Blue Turquoise

A blue turquoise ring
Featuring: Rachel Roy Jewelry by JTV

Blue is the most beloved shade of turquoise. Although all types of turquoise can have matrix webbing, these beautiful and completely unique markings are most visible in the rich, desert sky-blue variety. 

Green Turquoise

A pair of green turquoise earrings
Featuring: Rachel Roy Jewelry by JTV

Mohave Turquoise

Mojave, also known as Mohave turquoise, is what you’re probably looking at if you’ve ever seen turquoise that is more than one color, or a color other than blue or green. These colors are not naturally occurring, rather, they are dyed and fused together with bronze. However, this has no impact on how pretty the stones are! 

How to Style Turquoise Jewelry

You can wear turquoise gems that still have their rugged, organic surface or ones that have been polished smooth. Having the option allows for you to assume a range of styles to suit different occasions. One of our brands that carries a versatile collection of turquoise accessories is Rachel Roy Jewelry.

Since turquoise jewelry is such a bright, statement-making piece, the stone pairs well with clothing in muted, neutral colors. Brown, white and black are always a safe bet and allow your gorgeous gems to be the star. For example, some turquoise set in silver against the backdrop of a black dress creates an effect that is eye-catching but not overwhelming. 

However, if you are interested in styling turquoise with color, there are several flattering combinations. Pale pink and coral add a feminine softness to the bold, organic look of turquoise. Yellow, gold and orange provide interesting contrasts that evoke the aesthetic of the desert.

You can also lean into turquoise’s Southwestern heritage and embrace a more maximalist look by styling it with leather, denim, a wide-brimmed hat and detailed silver metalwork. Or, for a more subtle variation, you can shop JTV’s Southwest Style collection featuring a variety of turquoise accessories.

A woman modeling turquoise jewelry
Featuring: Rachel Roy Jewelry

Turquoise Gemstone Care and Maintenance

This stone only scores 5-6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale and it is very porous - meaning that liquids can easily seep inside it. You’ll want to wear and handle it with caution to keep the color looking its best. 

To clean your turquoise, just use a soft cloth that has been dampened with lukewarm, mild soap water. Avoid any kinds of oil, colored fluid and household chemicals, as well as steam cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners. These will all be too rough on the soft turquoise gem and/or damage the color. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Turquoise Gemstone

What is the spiritual meaning of turquoise?

Turquoise is believed by some to provide wisdom, tranquility, protection and good luck.

What is the rarest color of turquoise?

Bisebee turquoise is one of the rarest turquoise shades. It has a distinctly darker blue color and chocolate brown matrix. Another extremely rare type is called Lander Blue Spider Web turquoise. This kind is characterized by a medium blue color that is almost entirely covered in black matrix.

Is turquoise rare?

All types of turquoise are becoming more rare, as less of it is being found or actively searched for during mining. Completely natural turquoise, in particular, is valuable because most specimens today have been altered to enhance their color and/or fragile quality. 

Kennedee Ford contributed to this article.

Erin McIntyre

Erin thinks that turquoise is one of the gems with the most fascinating histories, and as someone who loves green, the lesser-known green variety is a cool bonus. 

Read more about Erin on her author page

Erin McIntyre