How Turquoise Forms

Turquoise is not a primary element like iron, copper, silver, etc.  Rather, it is a secondary element formed over time as a result of minerals that accumulate in the planet’s crust through two processes,  weathering and oxidation.  Turquoise usually occurs as encrustation in cracks or as nuggets.

As water moves through porous rock, minerals are dissolved, such as copper, aluminum and iron.  Often these minerals come from other secondary elements; copper might come from azurite, for example.

Over eons of time, these minerals accumulate in pores, cracks and crevices to form deposits of the material we know as “turquoise.”  Oxidation of other minerals present at the site contribute to turquoise formation.

The color of the stone can vary depending on the amount of iron and other minerals present.  Since turquoise forms in other rocks, it often veined with other minerals to create a beautiful matrix.

Most turquoise forms in drier climate, and often in rock formations that originated from volcanic activity; such formations are conducive to turquoise because they have high levels of iron oxides.

The process of formation can differ from region to region, and even from different locations in the same region, leading to unique turquoise appearances. For this reason, turquoise is often named after the mine from which it came.  An example is “Sleeping Beauty Turquoise,” which come