Persian or Iranian
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.
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.