Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue.
Colour is as variable as the mineral's other properties, ranging from white to a powder blue to a sky blue, and from a blue-green to a yellowish green. The blue is attributed to idiochromatic copper while the green may be the result of either iron impurities (replacing aluminium) or dehydration. Despite its low hardness relative to other gems, turquoise takes a good polish.
The substance has been known by many names, but the word turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an Old French word for "Turkish", because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey, from the mines in historical Khorasan Province of Iran.
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