Turquoise may be a cool color, but it's currently one of the hottest colors in both fashion and interior design, and its recurring appearance on fashion-show runways recently secures its trendy status for at least another season.
But what's the history of this color, and how does it tie in to the precious stone of the same name? For many Americans, the word instantly conjures images of iconic silver Native American jewelry inlaid with the unique stone. But have you ever wondered why the name sounds French, and which was named “turquoise” first – the color or the stone? The answer is: the stone.
The mineral turquoise, which has been known by many other names, has been mined across the globe: in Iran (formerly Persia), the Southwestern United States, the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and – to a lesser extent – China. But the name derives from the French language; probably from turquois, which means “Turkish”, since French traders first obtained the gemstone (probably of Persian or Sinai origin) from Turkish bazaars in the 16th century. There's also a possibility the name came from turquin, which means “dark blue.” Eventually the word came to describe the color of high-quality turquoise stone.
Now the color turquoise is a mainstay of both interior decorating and fashion, even when it's not a blazing-hot trend, as it is at the moment. Turquoise can enhance traditional Southwestern themes, or lend youthful, funky, soothing or refreshing details to a room, depending on the tint and companion colors used with it. The versatile blue-green hue pairs surprisingly well with many colors, with delightful results: Recently, designs are popping up using turquoise in combination with lime green, purple and chocolate brown, to name just a few.
In terms of color psychology, turquoise – because it sits on the color scale between blue and green – radiates the peace, calm and tranquility of blue; the balance and growth of green; and the uplifting energy of yellow. Turquoise is thought to enhance the ability to focus and concentrate, assisting with clear thinking and decision-making, and the development of good organizational skills. It is also thought to have a calming influence, helping to heal the emotions and restore depleted energies.