Turquoise is not uniquely American — there are deposits in Asia, South America and the Middle East — but Arizona has long been considered the premier worldwide source of the bewitching opaque blue-green mineral. The phosphate of copper and aluminium takes its modern name from the Old French word for “Turkish” (it was brought to Europe from mines in Persia during the Middle Ages). In pre-Columbian times, Native Americans unearthed unusually vibrant veins in colours from jade to baby blue, and many still regard the stone as sacred. Rolex, the Geneva-based watch company, made its first turquoise-faced watch in 1983; its designers have occasionally redeployed the earthy yet dramatic mineral over the years. This version of the classic Day-Date 36, in gold, sports the first such dial in nearly a decade. Fashioned from a wafer-thin slice of polished Arizona turquoise, its numerals and bezel are studded with more than 100 brilliant-cut diamonds. The effect? An azure patch of late afternoon sky above the mesas, just as the stars begin to emerge.
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