Updated: Sep 1
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Our tour of colors and their importance in the world of art, crafting, and interior design continues this month with one of the more mysterious colors in the history of art, Turquoise. The mineral dates back to 3,000 BC, having been first mined by the Egyptians and used on various burial furnishings.
This blue-green color has been known by many names over the year - Chalchihuitl by the Aztecs and Callais by the Romans. Its modern name originates from the 1600s and the French word ‘turques’ because they imported it from Turkey.
The range of its natural colors, from sky blue through to almost sage green has made it a natural one to be included in all forms of art over the years. For early civilizations, it was easy to craft it into scenes and ideas people understood and were familiar with - sea, land, and sky.
Various ancient cultures believed the gemstone was a bringer of good fortune. For example, the Ancient Persians wore Turquoise around their necks in various forms to ward off evil spirits and prevent unnatural death. In Turkey, the name for Turquoise is actually ‘Fayruz’, which translates as ‘lucky stone’.
The color arrived in Europe via the Silk Road, whilst it was introduced into the US by being naturally mined by Native Americans in the Southwest.
A Calming Mixture of Colors
As predominantly a combination of green and blue, Turquoise retains a lot of attributes of both, meaning it can deliver a feeling of both cool and calmness. Within interior design, the color is popular for bathrooms, and you will find it used often in spas and other places of calm.
It is closely associated with feelings of refreshing energy; it generates a serene sense in a room and is very much considered spiritual. For some the color has healing abilities, affecting the mind and body. It is believed to work as an anti-inflammatory and also help with things like public speaking due to helping with calmness.
All of this plays into the role of Turquoise as something to be utilized in places where serenity and relaxation are important. This is utilized in decoration and artwork; both can change a room and make it a place where people want to relax.
Turquoise does also include yellow in its hues, so whilst its peaceful essence is often attributed to the blue undertones and green provides its more encouraging energy, the yellow elements provide an uplifting spirit. It’s the combination of all three that makes it such a popular color perfect for combating stress.
Its calming and spiritual properties also make Turquoise a popular color within many religions and is frequently seen in the architecture and design of mosques, both as a color and gemstone, particularly in places like Russia, Central Asia, and Iran.
Shakespeare even refers to Turquoise, the gemstone, in The Merchant of Venice. Shylock receives it from his wife before a long journey and it has long been considered in England as a symbol of everlasting love.
Room For Turquoise
Turquoise is used to calm nerves and control strong emotions, building a good nervous system and leading to an increased chance of stress-free living. For these reasons, it is a good idea to utilize Turquoise inspired artwork, as well as decorating, in rooms like
Home studies - mindful and stress-free working. Some also say that it is ideal for dealing with writers' block!
Conference rooms - putting clients in good spirits and promoting strong leadership
Bedrooms - Helping to get a good night's sleep
Another reason it’s believed to be good in these rooms is ideas that come from color psychology. Here it is stated that Turquoise can both heal and control emotions, meaning that people can achieve emotional stability.
The color is popular in furniture, particularly for kitchens and bathrooms, whilst it is often seen in linens and glassware around the house.
You’ll find Turquoise used a lot as a substitute for blue when painting water into artwork with its fine and almost waxy texture. The color can remind people of swimming pools and is said to be the perfect match to the beautiful colors of the Caribbean Sea.
Due to its history as a gemstone, Turquoise has always been associated with jewelry and the finer side of life. It was one of the first gemstones mined for the specific purpose of being
used as a luxury item in jewelry and statues and has been the choice of rulers from Ancient Egypt through to the Aztecs.
The ultimate proof of its importance comes from the death mask of Tutankhamun, such an important artifact in Egyptian history laden with turquoise jewelry.
As a result, Turquoise is considered by many to be a very refined color that can
convey elegance and also seem very expensive. For that reason, it’s popular in a lot of the higher-end offices and hotels around the world, seen in a lot of interior designs of expensive buildings.
When used in paintings, aside from the obvious use when painting seascapes, the addition of Turquoise gives off an air of class and exclusivity that many desire and is popular in boardrooms around the world.
Variations And Compliments
One of the reasons Turquoise is such a popular choice with interior designers and crafters is the variety of shades and tints within the color range. Teal, Aquamarine, and Ultramarine are just a few examples of the colors that can be utilized.
With it being such a natural color, both in terms of origin and feel, it pairs well with other natural colors, neutral tones, darker shades of blue and complements wood extremely well. If you are looking at complementary colors on the opposite spectrum of the color wheel, coral or tangerine would be good examples to try.
When combined with wood, interior designers will often use Turquoise as an accent color on a strong white background. Also, if it’s used subtly then Turquoise can fit well into a scheme that incorporates mustard yellow, some might see it as a combination from old Mexico.
Finally, never be afraid to use gold in a Turquoise dominated room, for example, a gold-framed picture or edging on some furniture will look good and give the room an extravagant and glamorous feel.
As a final word on Turquoise and why it is so popular in many elements of art as a positive color, in the Orient, it is seen as a protector against evil which led to the phrase:
“Given by a loving hand, it brings with it happiness and good fortune”
If you’d like to add a bit of good fortune to your life, then I have examples of Turquoise based artworks in my shop for you to view.
Until next time, stay calm, and may you have good fortune! Thanks for reading!
Do you want to know the story behind the color silver?
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