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Turquoise from China

China Turquoise

Hubei - Dragon Skin - Blue Ridge - China Mountain

There is evidence of turquoise use in China dating at least as far back as 1700 BC as evidenced by a bronze plaque with turquoise overlay from the Erlitou culture site in Menan Province displayed at the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. Although some turquoise was mined in China in ancient times, more commonly is was acquired in trade with Mongols, Persians, and Turks. Mostly the Chinese used turquoise for carvings and other art. Jade has been the preferred stone for jewelry in Chinese culture.
The Tibetans, on the other hand, have preferred turquoise to any other gemstone and virtually every Tibetan possesses some turquoise. Believed to bring good luck, it is worn set in rings and bracelets, as beads in necklaces, and as adornment directly on hats and other clothing. Domestic animals such as horses wear necklaces of felt with turquoise sewn on.
Today China has mines that produce a great deal of turquoise. Northwest of Shanghai is the Ma'ashan turquoise mine, and the Hubei Province produces turquoise in colors reminiscent of the now closed mines in Nevada. This turquoise ranges in color from sky blue to spring green as well. Today there are no known producing mines.
Chinese turquoise has usually been stabilized, meaning a clear epoxy has been applied to the surface to harden the stone before setting. A side effect of the process is that stabilized stone is less likely to absorb lotions and body oils, which may change the color of the stone over time.
Turquoise from mines in China accounts for about 80% of the stone on the U.S. market today, due to the scarcity of American turquoise. Only a handful of turquoise mines in the American southwest are commercially operating.

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