Iranian or Persian
Persian turquoise comes from a number of mines
in modern day Iran. The stones from all mines
show a great color variation. Many mines were
worked around Nishapur, 225 miles east of the
southern end of the Caspian Sea, close to old
caravan routes. Firm evidence exists that these
mines were heavily worked beginning in the 10th
century, but there is also evidence that some
of the mines near the surface may have been exploited
as early as 2100 B.C.
The Persians divided turquoise into three
classes. Fine ring stones were called Anqushtari.
Stones of intermediate quality were called Barkhaneh.
Stones that were pale, greenish, or with spots
from the matrix were called Arabi. Traditionally,
brilliant blue stones with no matrix were preferred
in the Middle East. You could say this was the
original Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. Today, Persian
turquoise in a variety of shades and matrices
can be found in jewelry and appreciated for its
classic beauty. These stones adorn some wonderful
men's turquoise bracelets, pendants, rings, and
Throughout the centuries, the intense sky-blue
Iranian turquoise, known as Persian turquoise,
has been the most sought after. This is a clear,
even blue color with no evidence of green, nor
any signs of black veins. As recently as the 70s,
top-quality turquoise was fetching prices of $2,000
for a 15x20mm piece. Hard to believe?
Did you know that no English gentleman of
the 17th century was regarded as well dressed
or well adorned unless he wore jewelry of turquoise?
This stone was so highly valued that all 79 of
the emeralds in the crown that Napoleon I gave
his consort Empress Marie Louise were replaced
with Persian turquoise cabochons.