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Dear Bead Customer,

You have received this newsletter because you opted during a past purchase, but should you wish to be taken off the mailing list, just click the link at the bottom. This month's theme is turquoise and how to make turquoise jewelry. Scroll down, or click one of the links below on the html version to go to a certain section. If you have any suggestions for the future, please e-mail me at

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History of Turquoise
What is Turquoise?
Turquoise's Softness How to tell the Best Turquoise
Natural, Stabilized, or Reconstituted turquoise - what do I buy?
Color Enhancement
How to make Turquoise Jewelry
Turquoise Mirth & Myth
10% off Offer
For our exclusive turquoise store section click here

History of Turquoise
Turquoise jewelry is as popular this year as it was in ancient times. In fact it's hot! Its brilliant sky-blue is an all-time favorite never going out of fashion.

In many cultures of both the Old and New World turquoise has for thousands of years been a holy stone, a good-luck-charm or talisman. A "people's gemstone". In Egypt, turquoise has been found in 5,000-year-old tombs. In the ancient Persian Kingdom it was originally worn around the neck or on the hand to protect against unnatural death. If the stones changed color, it warned of danger. Today it is found that turquoise changes color due to light, UV, dust, or even the ph-value of skin. Some believe it will fade if a lover is unfaithful and protect against pollution and strengthen the body.

In earlier times turquoise was thought responsible for the material wealth of its wearer. Persian philosopher Al Kazwini wrote "The hand wearing a turquoise and using it as a sealing stone will never be poor." Turquoise decorated turbans to protect the wearer from evil, often set in a border of pearls. Others used it as a talisman on daggers, scimitars or horses. The ancient Aztecs in Northern Peru put turquoise on their ceremonial masks believing it to be holy. The North American Indians thought that the gemstone with the color of the sky has a direct connection between the sky and the lakes. The gemstone came to Europe only during the time of the crusades. Bringing its name "Turquoise", meaning "Turkish stone". However, it was not until Victorian time was it fashionable for Europeans to wear the stone.

What is Turquoise?
Turquoise is a copper aluminum phosphate, softer than quartz. Usually found in arid or desert regions. Where the native rocks have been altered through the intrusion of different stone from volcanic or other thermal influence. The hydrothermal alteration is created by magma from deep in the earth being forced to the surface through fractures which eventually change the original rocks. Turquoise occurs naturally in these regions where there is a lot of copper, ranging from a sky-blue color to grey-green. However, only quality turquoise shows the real turquoise color, a pale blue to blue-green. The blue color is caused by copper, while the green is iron or chromium. Most turquoise has vivid regular veining of brown, light grey or black, called spider webs. Usually found in other rock as encrustations, veins or as nodules or nuggets. The most famous occurrences are in China, Iran, USA, Mexico, Israel and Afghanistan.

Turquoise's Softness
Turquoise is quite soft and its color can fade - so today even top quality stone is waxed with a hardening treatment. It is put through a process called stabilization in which liquid plastic is absorbed through every pore of the stone, making it sturdier and more stable. The deeper turquoise is mined, the softer it will be. Softness also explains why turquoise is usually used in jewelry as nuggets, and rarely facetted. Turquoise should be protected from cosmetics, heat and bright daylight. The gemstone does not really appreciate sunbathing. It is recommended to clean it from time to time after wearing with a soft cloth.

How to tell the Best Turquoise
The best turquoise is like a piece of sky in your hands & a clear light blue. This color is highly appreciated, with or without the regular spider web veins. The quality decreases with more green and irregularities in the spider web. The ancients preferred blue turquoise because it would not change color - King Tut's treasures include this type that appears unchanged today. Turquoise's spider veins are an added-value in modern times. In the past, highly-prized things had purity and clarity. But today we can create perfection with machines, so we tend to value natural imperfections. It has been said that turquoise will make you feel happy and relaxed, because it combines the light blue of the sky with the invigorating green of the seas.

The Tibetans valued turquoise well above gold. Every Tibetan wore a piece of turquoise and it was even used for currency in many areas of Tibet. However, the true value of turquoise is in its beauty. Buy at the level you can afford, and what you see as attractive. There's no stone like turquoise, and rarely are two pieces alike. Interestingly its value will increase to the individual who wears it - it becomes a part of you.

Soon turquoise will be scarce. China, being the main supplier today, has four or five turquoise-producing regions. However, the Chinese extract huge quantities and many mines in other countries have already been depleted. High-grade turquoise is already hard to find, with not enough to satisfy the market. It is actually much rarer than diamonds or other stones like lapis. The price must increase. At one time in history superior specimens were valued by weight, more than gold. But for the time being there is still a good supply of medium-grade turquoise in China.

Natural, Stabilized, or Reconstituted Turquoise - what do I buy?
Most naturally mined turquoise is too soft for general use, is very porous, and untreated will eventually turn green: so stabilization is usual. This process does not alter the turquoise, just makes it usable for jewelry. However, to cut costs, many turquoises are reconstituted today. This means real turquoise chips are fused with other stones for economy. Reconstituted turquoise allows more diversity of jewelry design. For example, necklaces of tiny turquoise beads now can be made and tiny inlay is possible. Colors will not change because the pores are sealed. Also when making heishi beads, too much turquoise is wasted in the grinding and the resultant bead if natural turquoise will be fragile. In all, there are many verities of natural and treated turquoise on the market today. How do I choose? Ask yourself what thrill are you looking for? Are you in it for the history? The lore? The color? The natural stone? As a casual ornament? Once you identify how you want to participate in turquoise, you can go about educating yourself in that direction.

Color Enhancement
Color enhancement has existed for thousands of years. In ancient times it was common to enhance turquoise by submerge it in animal or vegetable oil. This formed a luster that lasted a long time, but with oil stains appearing when worn. Today some stabilized turquoise is "color shot" or "color stabilized". Color stabilized infers that it is the natural color which is "stabilized." This is untrue, as color has been added. However, this is not so bad, as jewelry making is art and color enhancement can improve the appearance. Like most things, at the end of the day, the more you pay, the more natural the stone will be.

Turquoise's Myths
At all times turquoise was worn as protection to ward off the influence of evil. In former times protecting riders and horses from accidental falls, it is nowadays warn by aviators, flight staff, and those at risk to traveling accidents. Wearing Turquoise is also recommended against depression. The bright and happy color supposedly brings self-confidence to subdued personalities - and is also popular as a token of friendship, bringing faithfulness and stability to relationships.

Ancient doctors exploited the stone's medicinal potential. It was thought to prevent blindness and treat cataracts by placing perfect stones over the eyes. It was ground into a powder and rubbed on or ingested to cure stomach disorders, internal bleeding, ailments of the hip, bites and stings. Turquoise's color could forecast good or bad, predict the weather and influence dreams. It was good for nearly every ailment including insanity. As a talisman to protect it was used in nearly every culture. Turquoise has been believed to confer foresight and fade when illness or danger is near. Aztecs and Egyptians considered it a symbol of prosperity. In India, a turquoise ring on the little finger and to look at the stone after seeing the new moon was a way to great wealth.

Turquoise is the gemstone for December & 11th the wedding anniversary.

How to make a matching Turquoise Necklace & Earrings
To make a simple turquoise choker necklace you will need one strand of turquoise beads, a bag of tiny spacers, flexible beading wire .014 or .015 the same color as your spacers and a similar color clasp. Cut the wire to about 22-inches. String a round spacer, a clasp bead, a spacer, and half the clasp. Crimp the crimp bead. String a spacer followed by a turquoise bead, then another spacer, and so on until the necklace is within 1-inch of the end of the wire. End with a spacer and the remaining half clasp. Tighten, crimp the crimp bead and trim the excess wire. For the matching earrings use the same turquoise beads. Push a headpin through the beads, attach to the hook ring and coil round to form a loop at the end.

Next month we will include a little about Nigel, who writes all this stuff - an Englishman living in China

Special 10% Offer!
Sample our beads with 10% discount in our MrBead bead store, just key in "turquoise" at the checkout (without the inverted commas) and click "Redeem Coupon".

Offer valid until the end of June only - so act now! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.

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