Gemstones of Turkey
There are 6 semi-precious gemstones in Turkey that are the most significant in terms of abundance and authenticity. These include smoky quartz, blue chalcedony, chrysoprase (aka Şenkaya emerald), diaspore (aka sultanite/zultanite), sepiolite (aka meerschaum/Eskişehirstone), and jet (aka Oltustone).
Zultanite is a rare and more recently surfaced gemstone that is only found in Turkey and has become one of the most popular stones of the millennium for its colour-changing properties. It is named by Murat Akgun in honour of the 36 sultans who ruled the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia in the late 13th century.
It is the world’s rarest type of diaspore – a mineral named after the word diaspora, which in Greek means to scatter, in reference to the way the gemstone sparkles and reflects light. Considered to be 10 times as rare as diamonds, zultanite has only ever been found from one source: the Ilbir Mountains of Milas, located in Turkey’s Aegean province of Muğla. Generally a yellowish-green gemstone, it can transform into a reddish-pink colour in incandescent light and even reach hues of purple in mixed lighting, and can also possess the cat’s eye effect. Its healing properties are lesser-known due to it only having been discovered in the past few years.
It is the oldest trade material from Anatolia of Turkey and has been used in jewellery for thousands of years. The name “chalcedony” is the original “Kalsedon,” which comes from the name of an ancient Anatolian port named Kalkedon. The name is still used today for any related materials with the same chemical composition.
While chalcedony, which includes the varieties of agate and carnelian, can be found in a number of provinces throughout Turkey, including Ankara, Bursa, Çanakkale, Ordu, Rize and Tokat, the blue chalcedony hailing from Eskişehir’s Sarıcakaya region is definitely a much rarer find. The gem has historically been used as jewellery and stamps dating back thousands of years. The highly coveted blue chalcedony comes in greyish to purple-blue hues and is believed to relieve hostility and irritability and to promote feelings of kindness and compassion. It is also believed to have played a good part in blood circulation, memory and speech. Also, believed to be beneficial to both lawyers and singers, who need to utilise their power of verbal expression.
(Blue Chalcedony- Gemstone of Turkey)
Pink Tourmaline is another gemstone primarily sourced in Turkey’s Yozgat province but also found in the Aydın and Çanakkale provinces. Known as the “rainbow stone,” it can have a variety of different hues ranging from pink to green. It is generally agreed that traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colours. Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows. Some pink and yellow tourmalines might owe their hues to colour centres caused by radiation, which can be natural or laboratory-induced.
It is believed to help break addictions and increase focus and also said tourmaline can release lingering emotional pain and destructive feelings and generate sentiments of confidence and trust.
(Pink tourmaline Turkish Gemstone)
Turkish Purple Jade
It has jadeite and other minerals including quartz, orthoclase, epidote, chloritoid and phlogopite which give the stone that purple look. This stone is also known as Turkish lavender jade as shade purple colour do vary from deep purple to lavender and is an only relatively new gemstone in that mining did not start till 1980 in Turkey
This rare variety of lavender and purple-coloured jade comes from Turkey’s Bursa province. Also referred to as turkiyenite, this unique form of jadeite, aka imperial jade, is among the rarest in the world and is therefore extremely hard to come by. It has long been believed that jade eliminates toxins from the body, calms the nerves and cardiac system, and boosts the immune system. By keeping the wearer of this gem from harm, it is also said to bring the wearer good luck, love and even money.
(Turkish purple jade - Gemstone of Turkey)
Obsidian was so named from its resemblance to a stone found in Ethiopia by Obsius. It is a naturally occurring volcanic glass. It is usually an opaque black or grey but may be yellow, red, greenish-brown. It can be found in its black and brown variations throughout Turkey, in both central and eastern Anatolia as well as in the Aegean region. While Kars is best known for sourcing the obsidian we are most familiar with, Turkey also harbours the more rarely seen green obsidian in the craters of Mt. Nemrut in Eastern Anatolia, while red obsidian can be found in Rize’s Ikizdere region.
Obsidian may have an iridescent sheen caused by inclusions It was used in antiquity for amulets and necklaces. Considered to be a protective stone, obsidian shields against both internal and external negativity and is believed to release tension and mental distress.
(Obsidian Turkey Stone)
It is a common rock formation, consisting of chalcedony and quartz as its primary components with a wide variety of colours. Agates are primarily formed within volcanic and metamorphic rocks. Decorative uses of agates are known to date back to Ancient Greece and are used most commonly as decorations or jewellery.
Turkey has a number of variations, including tree agate and tube agate. The most famous agate in Turkey is çubuk agate, which comes from the district of the same name in Ankara. The colours reflected in the gem depend on the trace materials but can range from transparent to white, yellow, green, red, brown and even black. Believed to calm the nerves and help with sleep disorders, çubuk agate is also said to relieve fevers and to transform negativity.
(Agate - Gemstone of Turkey)
Oltu stone is a variation of jet, which comes from the town of Oltu in Erzurum Province. A jet is a type of lignite, and although it is derived from wood that has altered under extreme pressure. Beds of this organic substance are 70–80 cm in thickness. Extraction is done by digging narrow tunnels and shafts below ground. There are around 600 quarries in the region. It is a very dense mineral-like substance of the nature of coal that does not demonstrate crystallinity. It generally comes in black, but can also be velvet-black, blackish brown, grey or greenish. Oltu stone's most interesting characteristic is its softness when excavated. It only begins to harden when exposed to the air. For this reason, it can be carved very easily.
These black gems are regularly used in making the Turkish “tespih” prayer beads as well as jewellery and have been used in decorative items since the Bronze Age. It is considered to be a gemstone with healing properties to help ease headaches, migraine pain and mood swings and alleviate depression.
(Oltu Stone - Turkish gemstone)