We have spent many years in Nepal, trekking in its wild and beautiful mountains, staying with its wonderfully friendly people, and absorbing their culture. Long ago we visited Ladakh, the high and dry cold country in northern India, populated by people of Tibetan origin with their incredible head-dresses. Later we went to Tibet, another even higher and drier country, its hardy inhabitants strung with necklaces and earrings of turquoise. In Iran we have seen the beautiful mosques of turquoise blue, and of course we have heard of the Native American Indians, though we have not directly experienced their culture face-to-face.
But never once in all our experiences have we thought to question, why turquoise? Why is this stone so precious to them? What is it madeof? When was it discovered? Where is it found? How is it mined and processed?
Our research for this book proved to be a fascinating quest. Stories and legends abound. Its mystical and medicinal properties may have no logical substance, but even a sceptical European had to admit, from his own personal experiences, that most of the tales he had heard appeared to be true! And if nowadays people can recover from illness by unknowingly taking a placebo, why should a turquoise amulet not have a similar effect, or a string around the neck? If it makes you feel better, it certainly won't do you any harm.
Turquoise has been used by human beings almost since time began, and we have attempted to present a summary of its history and geography, as well as its uses in several countries around the world.
We hope the result will prove that things are never quite what they seem; turquoise may appear to be a simple stone but in fact its story is full of twists and turns, just like the queen ant of King SrongtsenGampo!
With its striking greenish blue colour, turquoise is perhaps one of the most intriguing gemstones. Al-though not a highly valued precious stone in monetary terms, turquoise is a much sought-after gem-stone amongst many of the world's races. It has a long history of use by ancient tribal peoples, for its talismanic and medicinal properties, as well as being an indicator of family prosperity.
In many cultures it has gained, and indeed still retains, mystical and spiritual qualities. In places such as Nepal, Tibet and Tibetan communities in exile, in particular, it is prized for these qualities. In Egypt, amongst native North American Indians and in Iran, it is valued for its religious and decorative merit and has been extensively used throughout those cultures in so many ways. Turquoise appears in legends from around the globe.
Its financial value today may be less than that of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and some other transparent shiny precious stones, but its spiritual and mystical value among traditional tribal people is unsurpassed.
This pocket book gives you some of the main facts, features and details about turquoise.
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