Tamiya Corporation

Tamiya Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of plastic model kits, radio controlled cars, battery- and solar-powered educational models, sailboat models, acrylic model paints, and various modelling tools and supplies. The company was founded by Shunsaku Tamiya in Shizuoka, Japan in 1958. The company has gained a reputation among hobbyists of producing models of outstanding quality and accurate scale detail.

Product lines

Radio-controlled cars

  • The Sand Scorcher and Rough Rider, released in 1979 and credited as the first radio controlled cars to feature a proper off-road suspension.
  • The original Blackfoot monster truck kit and its variations, first released in 1986 and credited with much of the hobby's growth.
  • The Clodbuster 1/10th scale radio-controlled monster truck released in 1987 as the first Tamiya R/C monster truck with two drive motors, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. The Clodbuster virtually spawned an aftermarket industry of its own which catered to those who wished to modify their models.
  • The TXT-1 1/10 scale radio control monster truck released in 2002. This truck, which is still in production, was designed as a factory response to aftermarket Clodbuster upgrades. Cantillever suspension, four wheel drive, and multilink suspension allow for the massive axle articulation featured in third party kits such as the Clodzilla series. The new truck dispensed with the Clod's four wheel steering, although the TXT includes provisions for making this upgrade. Tamiya engineers attended actual USHRA monster truck events in order to improve the scale appearance of the TXT and duplicate full-size suspension designs.
  • The Bruiser 1/10th scale radio controlled pickup truck. Released in 1985, it had a working three-speed transmission which could be shifted via radio control, a high-torque RS-750SH motor and ultra-realistic Toyota Hilux body with camper shell and interior detail. The aluminum frame, suspension, drive axle and steering were patterned after their full-sized counterparts. This complex and expensive model has since become one of the most collectable of all Tamiya R/C's.
  • The TRF414 radio controlled car; holder of the 2002-04 1/10th scale touring car world champion title.
  • The TRF415, holder of the 2005 1/10th scale radio controlled touring car world champion title.
  • The Hornet, a radio controlled buggy first released in 1984. It would go on to become one of the most popular R/C kits of all time and has recently been re-released.

Radio-controlled trucks and trailers

Tamiya is also known to make scale 1/14 radio controlled trucks, these are exceptions left, all build-it-yourself kits. Compared to the Scale 1/16 Wedico trucks, the 1/14 rigs are better copy's of the real rigs, as Tamiya uses ABS body shells instead of the alloy and sheet metal Wedico uses. Resulting a better detailing and scale "look" . The current truck range are the following rigs:

  • King Hauler
  • Globeliner
  • Mercedes 1838LS
  • Mercedes 1850L
  • Volvo FH12 globetrotter
  • Ford Aeromax
  • Knight Hauler
  • this list does not contain any special chrome versions, made in limited edition

The truck range also includes some trailers:

  • Flatbed trailer
  • Box trailer
  • Tank trailer (liquid transport)
  • Pole trailer (wood/tree transport)

The German division/importer also brought out a trailer of there own, a semi-low loader. But, to be fully correct, it is not 100% Tamiya, as it is not from Tamiya Japan.

Radio-controlled tanks (1/16 scale)

Tamiya's radio controlled tanks have options such as sound, light and optional parts to depict different variants.

  • M4 Sherman 105mm
  • Leopard A4
  • Flakpanzer Gepard
  • German Tiger II, Production Turret
  • German Tiger II - Porsche Turret
  • Tiger I Early Production
  • M26 Pershing
  • Leopard 2A6

The Leopard A4 and Flakpanzer Gepard are no longer produced; updated versions of the others have some technical and cosmetic innovations over the original models.

Track racing cars

  • The Mini 4WD and Dangun-Racer series, which are small (1/32nd scale), single-motor, free-operating electric models designed to run in competition on a special, deeply channeled track.

Static-display scale models

  • The "Military Miniatures" (MM) series of military vehicle scale models, which established 1/35 scale as the worldwide standard for the military vehicle genre.
  • Their line of static model aircraft, mostly of 1/48th scale, are widely considered to be state-of-the-art. Most of their 1/72 scale aircraft, however, are repackaged Italeri kits. Tamiya is also one of the few manufacturers of 1/100th scale aircraft.

Facilities

Tamiya has several large regional divisions, notably in the Aliso Viejo, California home of "Tamiya USA," the North, Central and South American branch responsible for many of the company's racing developments. Tamiya USA also features a world-class racing facility which is the site of several world championship events. An assembly plant is located in the Philippines and Germany is the home of "Tamiya Europe's" operations.


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An assembly plant is located in the Philippines and Germany is the home of "Tamiya Europe's" operations. After use, turquoise should be gently cleaned with a soft cloth to avoid a build up of residue, and should be stored in its own box to avoid scratching by harder gems. Tamiya USA also features a world-class racing facility which is the site of several world championship events. Care should therefore be taken when wearing such jewels: cosmetics, including sunscreen and hairspray, should be applied before putting on turquoise jewellery, and they should not be worn to a beach or other sun-bathed environment. Tamiya has several large regional divisions, notably in the Aliso Viejo, California home of "Tamiya USA," the North, Central and South American branch responsible for many of the company's racing developments. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may also discolour or dehydrate turquoise. The Leopard A4 and Flakpanzer Gepard are no longer produced; updated versions of the others have some technical and cosmetic innovations over the original models. Being a phosphate mineral, turquoise is inherently fragile and sensitive to solvents; perfume and other cosmetics will attack the finish and may alter the colour of turquoise gems, as will skin oils.

Tamiya's radio controlled tanks have options such as sound, light and optional parts to depict different variants. Bonded and "reconstituted" material is worth considerably less. But, to be fully correct, it is not 100% Tamiya, as it is not from Tamiya Japan. All other factors being equal, untreated turquoise will always command a higher price. The German division/importer also brought out a trailer of there own, a semi-low loader. Controversy exists as to whether some of these treatments should be acceptable, but one can be more or less forgiven universally: This is the light waxing or oiling applied to most gem turquoise to improve its colour and lustre; if the material is of high quality to begin with, very little of the wax or oil is absorbed and the turquoise therefore does not "rely" on this impermanent treatment for its beauty. The truck range also includes some trailers:. Turquoise is treated in many different ways, some more permanent and radical than others.

The current truck range are the following rigs:. Like coral and other opaque gems, turquoise is commonly sold at a price according to its physical size in millimetres rather than carat weight. Resulting a better detailing and scale "look" . Calibrated stones—that is, stones adhering to standard jewellery setting measurements—may also be more sought after. Compared to the Scale 1/16 Wedico trucks, the 1/14 rigs are better copy's of the real rigs, as Tamiya uses ABS body shells instead of the alloy and sheet metal Wedico uses. Uniformity of colour is desired, and in finished pieces the quality of workmanship is also a factor; this includes the quality of the polish and the symmetry of the stone. Tamiya is also known to make scale 1/14 radio controlled trucks, these are exceptions left, all build-it-yourself kits. Such material is sometimes described as "spiderweb matrix"; it is most valued in the Southwest United States and Far East, but is not highly appreciated in the Near East where unblemished and vein-free material is ideal (regardless of how complimentary the veining may be).

. The mother rock or matrix in which turquoise is found can often be seen as splotches or a network of brown or black veins running through the stone in a netted pattern; this veining may add value to the stone if the result is complimentary, but such a result is uncommon. The company has gained a reputation among hobbyists of producing models of outstanding quality and accurate scale detail. Whatever the colour, turquoise should not be excessively soft or chalky; even if treated, such lesser material (to which most turquoise belongs) is liable to fade or discolour over time and will not hold up to normal use in jewellery. The company was founded by Shunsaku Tamiya in Shizuoka, Japan in 1958. In Tibet, however, a greener blue is said to be preferred. Tamiya Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of plastic model kits, radio controlled cars, battery- and solar-powered educational models, sailboat models, acrylic model paints, and various modelling tools and supplies. Richness of colour is the chief determiner of value in turquoise; generally speaking, the most desirable is a strong sky to "robin's egg" blue (in reference to the eggs of the American Robin); value decreases with the increase of green hue, lightening of colour, and mottling.

Tamiya is also one of the few manufacturers of 1/100th scale aircraft. For example, the use of a heated probe applied to an inconspicuous spot will reveal oil, wax, or plastic treatment with certainty. Most of their 1/72 scale aircraft, however, are repackaged Italeri kits. As is so often with gems, full disclosure is frequently not given; it is therefore left to gemmologists to detect these treatments in suspect stones, using a variety of testing methods—some of which are necessarily destructive. Their line of static model aircraft, mostly of 1/48th scale, are widely considered to be state-of-the-art. Doublets, like the aforementioned treatments, are legal provided they are disclosed to the customer before sale. The "Military Miniatures" (MM) series of military vehicle scale models, which established 1/35 scale as the worldwide standard for the military vehicle genre. Some turquoise is cut with the mother rock serving as a base; these are usually not considered doublets but may have an intrinsic value lower than that of "whole" stones.

The Mini 4WD and Dangun-Racer series, which are small (1/32nd scale), single-motor, free-operating electric models designed to run in competition on a special, deeply channeled track. These are termed doublets and can be very deceptive in certain jewellery setting styles (such as closed back and bevel settings). Leopard 2A6. As the finer turquoise is often found as thin seams, it may be glued to a base of stronger foreign material as a means of reinforcement. M26 Pershing. This process claims to use only medium grade material at a minimum, leaving the turquoise harder and with a better colour and lustre. Tiger I Early Production. Zachery.

German Tiger II - Porsche Turret. Another treatment—the details of which remain undisclosed—is the so-called Zachery process, named after its developer, electrical engineer and turquoise trader James E. German Tiger II, Production Turret. Much (if not all) of this "reconstituted" material is likely a complete fabrication (with no natural components), or may have foreign filler material added to it (see Imitations section). Flakpanzer Gepard. Perhaps the most radical of treatments is "reconstitution", wherein supposedly fragments of fine material too small to be used singly are powdered and then bonded to form a solid mass. Leopard A4. Dyes have also been used to darken the veins of turquoise.

M4 Sherman 105mm. (With some skill, oil and wax treatments can be restored.) Likewise, the use of Prussian blue and other dyes—often in conjunction with bonding treatments—to enhance (that is, make uniform or completely change) colour is regarded as fraudulent by purists—especially since some dyes may fade or rub off on the wearer. Pole trailer (wood/tree transport). Oiled and waxed stones are also prone to "sweating" under even gentle heat or if exposed to too much sun, and they may develop a white surface film or bloom over time. Tank trailer (liquid transport). The majority of American material is now treated in this manner; although it is a costly process requiring many months to complete, without impregnation most American mining operations would be unprofitable. Box trailer. The epoxy binding technique was first developed in the 1950s and has been attributed to Colbaugh Processing of Arizona, a company that still operates today.

Flatbed trailer. Plastic and water glass are technologically superior to oil and wax in that the former treatment are far more permanent and stable, and can be applied to material too friable for oil or wax to be of sufficient help; such material is termed "bonded" or "stabilized" turquoise. this list does not contain any special chrome versions, made in limited edition. Conversely, the later development of pressure impregnation of otherwise unsaleable chalky American material by epoxy and plastics (such as polystyrene) and water glass—also producing a wetting effect in addition to improving durability—are rejected by some as too radical an alteration. Knight Hauler. Historically, light waxing and oiling were the first treatments to be used (since ancient times), providing a wetting effect (thereby enhancing the colour and lustre); this treatment is more or less acceptable by tradition, and because such material is usually of a higher grade to begin with. Ford Aeromax. Turquoise is treated to enhance both its colour and durability (i.e., increased hardness and decreased porosity).

Volvo FH12 globetrotter. Even material used in authentic Native American and Tibetan jewellery is often fake or, at best, heavily treated. Mercedes 1850L. Imitation turquoise is so prevalent that it likely outnumbers real turquoise by a wide margin. Mercedes 1838LS. Differences in specific gravity, refractive index, light absorption (as evident in a material's absorption spectrum), and other physical and optical properties are also considered as means of separation. Globeliner. Some destructive tests may, however, be necessary; for example, the application of diluted hydrochloric acid will cause the carbonates odontolite and magnesite to effervesce and howlite to turn green, while a heated probe may give rise to the acrid smell so indicative of plastic.

King Hauler. Staining between grain boundaries may be visible in dyed imitations. It would go on to become one of the most popular R/C kits of all time and has recently been re-released. Glass and plastic will have a much greater translucency, with bubbles or flow lines often visible just below the surface. The Hornet, a radio controlled buggy first released in 1984. These fakes are detected by gemmologists using a number of tests, relying primarily on non-destructive, close examination of surface structure under magnification; a featureless, pale blue background peppered by flecks or spots of whitish material is the typical surface appearance of natural turquoise, while manufactured imitations will appear radically different in both colour (usually a uniform dark blue) and texture (usually granular or sugary). The TRF415, holder of the 2005 1/10th scale radio controlled touring car world champion title. While rarely encountered today, odontolite was once mined in large quantities—specifically for its use as a substitute for turquoise—in southern France.

The TRF414 radio controlled car; holder of the 2002-04 1/10th scale touring car world champion title. Other natural materials occasionally confused with or used in lieu of turquoise include: variscite; faustite; chrysocolla (especially when impregnating quartz); lazulite; smithsonite; hemimorphite; wardite; and a fossil bone or tooth called odontolite or "bone turquoise", coloured blue naturally by the mineral vivianite. This complex and expensive model has since become one of the most collectable of all Tamiya R/C's. Dyed chalcedony, jasper, and marble is less common, and much less convincing. The aluminum frame, suspension, drive axle and steering were patterned after their full-sized counterparts. The most common imitation of turquoise encountered today is dyed howlite and magnesite, both white in their natural states, and the former also having natural (and convincing) black veining similar to that of turquoise. Released in 1985, it had a working three-speed transmission which could be shifted via radio control, a high-torque RS-750SH motor and ultra-realistic Toyota Hilux body with camper shell and interior detail. Gilson turquoise is made in both a uniform colour and with black "spiderweb matrix" veining not unlike the natural Nevada material.

The Bruiser 1/10th scale radio controlled pickup truck. Most of these products differ markedly from natural turquoise in both physical and chemical properties, but in 1972 Pierre Gilson introduced one fairly close to a true synthetic (it does differ in chemical composition owing to a binder used, meaning it is best described as a simulant rather than a synthetic). Tamiya engineers attended actual USHRA monster truck events in order to improve the scale appearance of the TXT and duplicate full-size suspension designs. Later glass and enamel were also used, and in modern times more sophisticated ceramics, porcelain, plastics, and various assembled, pressed, bonded, and sintered products (composed of various copper and aluminium compounds) have been developed: examples of the latter include "Viennese turquoise", made from precipitated aluminium phosphate coloured by copper oleate; and "neolith", a mixture of bayerite and copper phosphate. The new truck dispensed with the Clod's four wheel steering, although the TXT includes provisions for making this upgrade. The Egyptians were apparently the first to produce an artificial imitation of turquoise, in the glazed earthenware product faience. Cantillever suspension, four wheel drive, and multilink suspension allow for the massive axle articulation featured in third party kits such as the Clodzilla series. Scholars also disagree as to which tribes each stone is meant to represent.

This truck, which is still in production, was designed as a factory response to aftermarket Clodbuster upgrades. Of the four stones in the third row, the first and second have been translated to be turquoise by various scholars; others disagree, however, translating the stones to be jacinth (zircon) and agate respectively [3]. The TXT-1 1/10 scale radio control monster truck released in 2002. Attached to the ephod, the breastplate was adorned with twelve gemstones set in gold and arranged in four rows, each stone engraved with the name of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The Clodbuster virtually spawned an aftermarket industry of its own which catered to those who wished to modify their models. Turquoise may have significance in Judeo-Christian scripture: In the Book of Exodus, the construction of a "breastplate of judgment" is described as part of the priestly vestments of Aaron (Exodus 28:15–30). The Clodbuster 1/10th scale radio-controlled monster truck released in 1987 as the first Tamiya R/C monster truck with two drive motors, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. In Western culture, turquoise is also the traditional birthstone for those born in the month of December.

The original Blackfoot monster truck kit and its variations, first released in 1986 and credited with much of the hobby's growth. While strong sky blues remain superior in value, mottled green and yellowish material is popular with artisans. The Sand Scorcher and Rough Rider, released in 1979 and credited as the first radio controlled cars to feature a proper off-road suspension. Lesser material may be carved into fetishes, such as those crafted by the Zuni. In contemporary Western use, turquoise is most often encountered cut en cabochon in silver rings, bracelets, often in the Native American style, or as tumbled or roughly hewn beads in chunky necklaces. 1810, was a staple of Egyptian Revival pieces.

Turquoise, already favoured for its pastel shades since c. These excavations, including that of Tutankhamun's tomb, created great public interest in the western world, subsequently influencing jewellery, architecture, and art of the time. The French conducted archaeological excavations of Egypt from the mid-19th-century through the early 20th. (A similar blue ceramic has been recovered from Bronze Age burial sites in the British Isles.).

Turquoise, associated with the goddess Hathor, was so liked by the Ancient Egyptians that it became (arguably) the first gemstone to be imitated, the fair semblance created by an artificial glazed ceramic product known as faience. Set in gold, the gem was fashioned into beads, used as inlay, and often carved in a scarab motif, accompanied by carnelian, lapis lazuli, and in later pieces, coloured glass. It also adorned rings and great sweeping necklaces called pectorals. The Egyptian use of turquoise stretches back as far as the First Dynasty and possibly earlier; however, probably the most well-known pieces incorporating the gem are those recovered from Tutankhamun's tomb, most notably the Pharaoh's iconic burial mask which was liberally inlaid with the stone.

Most of the pieces made today, with turquoise usually roughly polished into irregular cabochons set simply in silver, are meant for inexpensive export to Western markets and are probably not accurate representations of the original style. Cabochons of imported turquoise, along with coral, was (and still is) used extensively in the silver and gold jewellery of Tibet and Mongolia, where a greener hue is said to be preferred. Persian turquoise was often engraved with devotional words in Arabic script which was then inlaid with gold. The Persian style and use of turquoise was later brought to India following the establishment of the Mughal Empire there, its influence seen in high purity gold jewellery (together with ruby and diamond) and in such buildings as the Taj Mahal.

In Persia, turquoise was the de facto national stone for millennia, extensively used to decorate objects (from turbans to bridles), mosques, and other important buildings both inside and out, such as the Medresseh-I Shah Husein Mosque of Isfahan. The distinctive silver jewellery produced by the Navajo and other Southwestern Native American tribes today is a rather modern development, thought to date from circa 1880 as a result of European influences. The Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) of the Chaco Canyon and surrounding region are believed to have prospered greatly from their production and trading of turquoise objects. Among these peoples turquoise was used in mosaic inlay, in sculptural works, and was fashioned into toroidal beads and freeform pendants.

Like the Aztecs, the Pueblo, Navajo and Apache tribes cherished turquoise for its amuletic use; the latter tribe believe the stone to afford the archer dead aim. Natural resins, bitumen and wax were used to bond the turquoise to the objects' base material; this was usually wood, but bone and shell were also used. The Aztecs inlaid turquoise, together with gold, quartz, malachite, jet, jade, coral, and shells, into provocative (and presumably ceremonial) mosaic objects such as masks (some with a human skull as their base), knives, and shields. A common belief shared by many of these civilizations held that turquoise possessed certain prophylactic qualities; it was thought to change colour with the wearer's health and protect him or her from untoward forces.

It was apparently unknown in India until the Muhgal period, and unknown in Japan until the 18th century. Despite being one of the oldest gems, probably first introduced to Europe (through Turkey) with other Silk Road novelties, turquoise did not become important as an ornamental stone in the West until the 14th century, following a decline in the Catholic Church's influence which allowed the use of turquoise in secular jewellery. The pastel shades of turquoise have endeared it to many great cultures of antiquity: it has adorned the rulers of Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs (and possibly other Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans), Persia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and to some extent in ancient China since at least the Shang Dynasty [2]. Other notable localities include: Afghanistan; Australia (Victoria and Queensland); northern Chile (Chuquicamata); Cornwall; Saxony; Silesia; and Turkestan.

However, the existence of these deposits is doubted by some due to a lack of corroboration. In Tibet, where green turquoise has long been appreciated, gem-quality deposits purportedly exist in the mountains of Derge and Nagari-Khorsum in the east and west of the region respectively. Most Chinese material is exported, but a few carvings worked in a manner similar to jade exist. Additionally, Marco Polo reported turquoise found in present-day Sichuan.

Gem-quality material, in the form of compact nodules, is found in the fractured, silicified limestone of Yunxian and Zhushan, Hubei province. China has been a minor source of turquoise for 3,000 years or more. These treatments include innocuous waxing and more controversial procedures, such as dyeing and impregnation (see Treatments). In an attempt to recoup profits and meet demand, most American turquoise is treated or enhanced to a certain degree.

Until the 1980s Virginia was widely thought to be the only source of distinct crystals; there are now at least 27 other localities.[1] The specimens are highly valued by collectors. The crystals, forming a druse over the mother rock, are very small; 1 mm (0.04 inches) is considered large. In 1912, the first deposit of distinct, single-crystal turquoise was discovered in Lynch Station, Campbell County, Virginia. The Nevada material is noted for its often attractive brown or black limonite veining, producing what is called "spiderweb matrix".

Nevada is the country's other major producer, with an estimated 75–100 mines opened over the state's history. Arizona is currently the most important producer of turquoise by value, with the vivid Bisbee Blue being a good example of the state's natural endowment; much of the Arizona material is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining. While quite fine material—rivalling Iranian material in both colour and durability—is sometimes found, most American turquoise is of a low grade (called "chalk turquoise"); high iron levels mean greens and yellows predominate, and a typically friable consistency precludes use in jewellery in the turquoise's untreated state. The turquoise occurs as vein or seam fillings, and as compact nuggets; these are mostly small in size.

Only one mine in California, located at Apache Canyon, operates at a commercial capacity today. Cerrillos, New Mexico is thought to be the location of the oldest mines; prior to the 1920s, the state was the country's largest producer; it is more or less exhausted today. The deposits of California and New Mexico were mined by pre-Columbian Native Americans using stone tools, some local and some from as far away as central Mexico. The Southwest United States is a significant source of turquoise; Arizona, California (San Bernardino, Imperial, and Inyo counties), Colorado (Conejos, El Paso, Lake, and Saguache counties), New Mexico (Eddy, Grant, Otero, and Santa Fe counties) and Nevada are (or were) especially rich.

This rock is called Eilat stone and is often referred to as Israel's national stone: it is worked by local artisans for sale to tourists. In proximity to nearby Eilat, Israel, an attractive intergrowth of turquoise, malachite, and chrysocolla is found. Often referred to as Egyptian turquoise, Sinai material is typically the most translucent, and under magnification its surface structure is revealed to be peppered with dark blue discs not seen in material from other localities. The colour of Sinai material is typically greener than Iranian material, but is thought to be stable and fairly durable.

In the rainy winter months, miners face a risk from flash flooding; even in the dry season, death from the collapse of the haphazardly exploited sandstone mine walls is not unheard of. Large-scale turquoise mining is not profitable today, but the deposits are sporadically quarried by Bedouin peoples using homemade gunpowder. Copper and iron workings are present in the area. The turquoise is found in sandstone that is, or was originally, overlain by basalt.

The former mine is situated about 4 kilometres from an ancient temple dedicated to Hathor. The two most important of these mines, from a historic perspective, are Serabit el-Khadim and Wadi Maghareh, believed to be among the oldest of known mines. There are six mines in the region, all on the southwest coast of the peninsula, covering an area of some 650 km². Since at least the First Dynasty (3,000 BCE), and possibly before then, turquoise was used by the Egyptians and was mined by them in the Sinai Peninsula, called "Country of Turquoise" by the native Monitu.

Iranian turquoise has been mined and traded abroad for centuries, and was probably the source of the first material to reach Europe. Although it is commonly marred by whitish patches, its colour and hardness are considered superior to the production of other localities. Iranian turquoise is often found replacing feldspar. These workings, together with those of the Sinai Peninsula, are the oldest known.

A weathered and broken trachyte is host to the turquoise, which is found both in situ between layers of limonite and sandstone, and amongst the scree at the mountain's base. This "perfect colour" deposit is restricted to a mine-riddled, 2,012-metre mountain peak of Ali-mersai, 25 km from Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan province, Iran. For at least 2,000 years, the region once known as Persia, has remained the most important source of turquoise, for it is here that fine material is most consistently recovered. However, turquoise is often recovered as a byproduct of large-scale copper mining operations, especially in the United States.

Most are worked by hand with little or no mechanization. These are all small-scale, often seasonal operations, owing to the limited scope and remoteness of the deposits. Turquoise was among the first gems to be mined, and while many historic sites have been depleted, some are still worked to this day. Intergrowth with other secondary copper minerals such as chrysocolla is also common.

Odontolite is fossil bone or ivory that has been traditionally thought to have been altered by turquoise or similar phosphate minerals such as the iron phosphate vivianite. Turquoise may also pseudomorphously replace feldspar, apatite, other minerals, or even fossils. Stalactite forms have been reported. Typically the form is vein or fracture filling, nodular, or botryoidal in habit.

Crystals, even at the microscopic scale, are exceedingly rare. Turquoise is nearly always cryptocrystalline and massive and assumes no definite external shape. That said, there are reports of two phase fluid inclusions within turquoise grains that give elevated homogenization temperatures of 90 to 190 oC that require explanation. This hypogene process is applicable to the original copper sulfide deposition; however, it is difficult to account for the many features of turquoise occurrences by a hypogene process.

As the solutions cool, turquoise precipitates, lining cavities and fractures within the surrounding rock. Initially at high temperature, these solutions rise upward to surface layers, interacting with and leaching essential elements from pre-existing minerals in the process. The hypogene hypothesis, which holds that the aqueous solutions originate at significant depth, from hydrothermal processes. Although the features of turquoise occurrences are consistent with a secondary or supergene origin, some sources refer to a hypogene origin.

Typically turquoise mineralization is restricted to a relatively shallow depth of less than 20 m, although it does occur along deeper fracture zones where secondary solutions have greater penetration. In some occurrences alunite, potassium aluminium sulfate, is a prominent secondary mineral. In the American southwest turquoise is almost invariably associated with the weathering products of copper sulfide deposits in or around potassium feldspar bearing porphyritic intrusives. Climate factors appear to play an important role as turquoise is typically found in arid regions, filling or encrusting cavities and fractures in typically highly altered volcanic rocks, often with associated limonite and other iron oxides.

For example, the copper may come from primary copper sulfides such as chalcopyrite or from the secondary carbonates malachite or azurite; the aluminium may derive from feldspar; and the phosphorus from apatite. As a secondary mineral, turquoise apparently forms by the action of percolating acidic aqueous solutions during the weathering and oxidation of pre-existing minerals. Turquoise may also be peppered with flecks of pyrite or interspersed with dark, spidery limonite veining. Despite its low hardness relative to other gems, turquoise takes a good polish.

Its streak is a pale bluish white and its fracture is conchoidal, leaving a waxy lustre. Turquoise is infusible in all but heated hydrochloric acid. Under longwave ultraviolet light, turquoise may occasionally fluoresce green, yellow or bright blue; it is inert under shortwave ultraviolet and X-rays. An absorption spectrum may also be obtained with a hand-held spectroscope, revealing a line at 432 nanometres and a weak band at 460 nanometres (this is best seen with strong reflected light).

A reading of 1.61–1.65 (birefringence 0.040, biaxial positive) has been taken from rare single crystals. The refractive index (as measured by sodium light, 589.3 nm) of turquoise is approximately 1.61 or 1.62; this is a mean value seen as a single reading on a gemmological refractometer, owing to the almost invariably polycrystalline nature of turquoise. The blue is attributed to idiochromatic copper while the green may be the result of either iron impurities (replacing aluminium) or dehydration. Colour is as variable as the mineral's other properties, ranging from white to a powder blue to a sky blue, and from a blue-green to a yellowish green.

The lustre of turquoise is typically waxy to subvitreous, and transparency is usually opaque, but may be semitranslucent in thin sections. With lower hardness comes lower specific gravity (high 2.90, low 2.60) and greater porosity: These properties are dependent on grain size. Its crystal system is proven to be triclinic via X-ray diffraction testing. Characteristically a cryptocrystalline mineral, turquoise almost never forms single crystals and all of its properties are highly variable.

Even the finest of turquoise is fracturable, reaching a maximum hardness of just under 6, or slightly less than window glass. . This is thought to have arisen from a misconception: turquoise does not occur in Turkey but was traded there, and the gem became associated with the country in the West. The word turquoise is very old and likely is derived from the French pierre turquoise, meaning Turkish stone.

In recent times turquoise—like most other opaque gems—has had its popularity undermined by the introduction of treatments, imitations, and synthetics onto the market, some difficult to detect even by experts. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been enjoyed as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue. Turquoise (or turquois) is opaque, blue-to-green hydrated copper aluminium phosphate mineral according to the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·5H2O.

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