THE GOLD OF THAT LAND: Biblical Minerals & Rocks  


66.     turquoise

Greek: huakinthos, derived from the Greek kuanos, deep blue. (The modern term "cyan blue" comes from the same root, although it denotes a greenish-blue.) A gem of hyacinthine or deep blue color. Revelation 21:20.


    Turquoise is a hydrated copper-aluminum phosphate [CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8.2H2O] which usually occurs in association with other copper minerals as opaque, cryptocrystalline masses in veins and stringers that cut altered volcanic rocks. Copper gives turquoise its hues, which vary from green and greenish blue to blue. Today’s preference is a clear, pale sky-blue, but a more greenish color due to the presence of iron was once more popular. Turquoise has a waxy luster and usually has dark veins and traceries of impurities.

Historical Background:

    Turquoise from the Sinai peninsula reached Neolithic Jericho by trade early in the eighth millennium BC. The ancient Egyptians prized turquoise, lapis lazuli, and carnelian above other gems, and turquoise honored the beauty of Hathor, queen of heaven and the stars and goddess of joy and music. The Egyptians mined turquoise and malachite intermittently during winter months near Serabit el Kadem in the southwest Sinai peninsula as early as the middle of the fourth millennium BC. Turquoise in the Wadi Maghara occurs as fissure fillings and seams in fractured sandstones. Descending copper-bearing solutions precipitated their minerals when they met impermeable layers.  The Egyptians used turquoise or mfkzt as beads, scarabs, and inlays in jewelry from Predynastic times onward, and they carved it into a variety of ornamental and ceremonial objects.

    The word turquoise comes directly from the French word for "Turkish" or Turkish stone."


Hurlbut, 1952, op. cit.; 307-308.

Lucas & Harris, op. cit., 404-405.

Pittman, op. cit.; 1589-1603.

Pogue, J.E., 1915. The Turquois. National Academy of Science Memoirs; 12-2: 1-206.

Ralph, Jolyon, 1993-2004.

Schumann, op. cit.; 170-171.

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