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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue.
The substance has been known by many names but the word turquoise, which dates to the 17th century was derived from the French language turques, because it was first brought to Europe from Turkey from the mines in Persia.Pliny referred to the mineral as callais and the Aztecs knew it as chalchihuitl.
In many cultures of the Old and New Worlds, this gemstone has been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune or a talisman. It really does have the right to be called a 'gemstone of the peoples'. The oldest evidence for this claim was found in Ancient Egypt, where grave furnishings with turquoise inlay were discovered, dating from approximately 3000 BC. In the ancient Persian Empire, the sky-blue gemstones were earlier worn round the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death. If they changed colour, the wearer was thought to have reason to fear the approach of doom. Meanwhile, it has been discovered that the turquoise certainly can change colour, but that this is not necessarily a sign of impending danger. The change can be caused by the light, or by a chemical reaction brought about by cosmetics, dust or the acidity of the skin
Not only in Islam, but also in many other religions, prayer beads have played an important role. In the past, the most sought after rosaries or tesbih, as Muslim rosaries are called, were made by Istanbul craftsmen and sold to buyers throughout the world. They were made from almost every imaginable material.
The best tesbih makers became famous for their skill at carving the beads. Drilling the holes through them is one of the most difficult parts, the finer the hole, the more skill being required. Tesbih beads are made using a small lathe, simple but. Although the best tesbih have beads of equal size, some have beads graduated in size, threaded from largest to smallest. In the past they were always strung on silk thread, but today nylon thread dyed to the correct colour is sometimes used instead. In Ottoman times rock crystal beads were preferred in summer for their coolness to the touch, and for the play of light diffracted by the facets. These had silver tassels.
Not only Muslims, but Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindu Brahmanists use prayer beads. Catholic rosaries with 64 beads and a crucifix are part of the clerical garb. Although Islamic prayer beads usually have either 99 or 33 beads, mystic sects sometimes used 500 or 1000 bead tesbih with very large beads.
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