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What colors are combined to make turquoise?

What colors are combined to make turquoise?

Turquoise is a bluish-green color that has been prized for centuries. The name comes from the French for “Turkish stone” since the gemstone was originally imported from Turkey. To understand what colors make turquoise, we need to look at how the color is created.

Primary Colors

The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These are the core colors that all other colors are created from. By mixing the primary colors together, you can create the secondary colors of orange, green, and purple.

To make turquoise, you need to combine a primary color and a secondary color. Specifically, you need blue from the primaries and green from the secondaries. Blue and green are then combined to make turquoise.

Combining Blue and Green

When you mix blue and green paint or pigment together, the resulting color is a blue-green shade. The more blue you use compared to the green, the bluer the turquoise becomes. The more green you use, the greener the turquoise looks.

On the color wheel, blue and green are beside each other, with turquoise forming the color in between them. So the basic formula for turquoise is:

Blue + Green = Turquoise

Shades of Turquoise

Even though turquoise is simply a mix of blue and green, there are many possible shades. Here are some of the most common varieties:

  • Aqua: A light, bright turquoise closer to aqua blue on the color wheel.
  • Robin’s Egg Blue: A pale turquoise named after robin’s eggs.
  • Tiffany Blue: A medium robin’s egg blue trademarked by Tiffany & Co.
  • Persian Turquoise: A richer, darker turquoise.
  • Teal: A darker turquoise that has more green.

The amount of blue vs. green used alters the exact look of the turquoise. More green gives turquoise an earthier, deeper appearance while more blue makes it crisper and brighter.

Tinting and Shading Turquoise

In addition to mixing different ratios of blue and green, turquoise can also be lightened and darkened. Here are some ways to alter the color:

  • Tint: Add white to lighten turquoise and make it paler.
  • Shade: Add black to deepen turquoise into a richer teal.
  • Tone: Add gray to mute and subdue the brightness of turquoise.

By tinting, shading, and toning the blue-green mixture, a wide spectrum of turquoise shades can be created.

Using Complementary Colors

The complementary color directly across from turquoise on the color wheel is russet, a reddish-brown shade. Using a small amount of the complement can accent turquoise in interesting ways.

For example, an earthy russet background can make turquoise pop. Or touches of russet accessories can create appealing color combinations with turquoise as the dominant shade.

Turquoise Hex Codes

In digital design, specific shades of turquoise can be called out using hex codes. Here are some common turquoise hex colors:

  • #40E0D0: Turquoise blue
  • #00FFFF: Aqua
  • #008B8B: Dark cyan (dark turquoise)
  • #48D1CC: Medium turquoise
  • #AFEEEE: Pale turquoise

When working digitally, these specific hex codes can be used to ensure turquoise colors are rendered accurately.

Turquoise in Art and Design

Turquoise has been an important color since ancient times. Here are some facts about its long history:

  • Earliest turquoise mines dated to Egypt’s First Dynasty around 5,000 BCE.
  • Persians, Aztecs, and Native Americans used turquoise for jewelry and ornamentation.
  • Turquoise was especially prized in Iran (Persia), leading to the name “Persian turquoise.”
  • Turquoise is December’s birthstone, associated with good fortune.
  • Robin’s egg blue has been a popular house paint color since the 1920s.
  • Tiffany & Co. has used their trademarked Tiffany Blue since 1845.
  • Turquoise is associated with the design aesthetics of the 1970s and southwestern Native American art.

From ancient artifacts to modern brand identities, turquoise has maintained its popularity across cultures and eras. It continues to be a top choice for art, design, decor, and fashion.

Turquoise Meanings and Symbolism

As an eye-catching color, turquoise has many symbolic associations:

  • Balance: Its balance between warm (green) and cool (blue) makes turquoise represent equilibrium.
  • Healing: It is thought to have healing and protective powers.
  • Wisdom: Turquoise is linked with wisdom, intuition, and foresight.
  • Femininity: Robin’s egg blue has a soft, feminine connotation.
  • Nature: Its blue-green hue evokes tropical waters and natural beauty.
  • Calming: Light turquoise is very serene and relaxing as a color.

Turquoise can take on somewhat different meanings depending on how light or dark the shade is. But in general it retains an overall aura of balance, vitality, and restfulness.

Psychology of Turquoise

Psychological research has shown how different colors affect emotions and the mind. Here is how turquoise impacts us psychologically:

  • Promotes calmness and reduces anxiety
  • Encourages creativity and expression
  • Boosts sensitivity and imagination
  • Aids focus and clarity of thought
  • Fosters intuition and spiritual insight
  • Refreshing and uplifting to the mood

Lighter turquoises are more relaxing, while darker teals have more stimulating effects. Overall turquoise balances peaceful and inspiring qualities.

Turquoise Gemstones

In addition to its use as a color, turquoise is an important opaque gemstone that has been carved and polished for thousands of years. Here are some key facts about turquoise gems:

  • Chemically is a hydrous phosphate containing copper and aluminum
  • Robin’s egg blue is the most desirable hue for turquoise gems
  • Found in arid climates like the American Southwest and Middle East
  • Natural turquoise varies widely in quality and color
  • “Reconstituted turquoise” is solid bits glued with dye
  • Rare “spiderweb turquoise” has black matrix streaks

High quality natural turquoise is becoming hard to find, increasing the value of untreated gems with rich color. Most commercial turquoise jewellery now uses reconstituted or imitation stones.

Dyes and Pigments for Turquoise

To dye fabrics, tint paints, or create turquoise pigments, different coloring agents are used. Here are the most common:


  • Indigo – Plant-derived blue dye
  • Phthalocyanine Blue – Synthetic organic blue dye
  • Acid Green – Synthetic green dye


  • Phthalocyanine Blue – Organic synthetic blue
  • Pthalo Green – Synthetic organic green
  • Chrome Green – Inorganic compound with chromium

Combining a blue and green dye or pigment allows adjusting the hue to create different shades of turquoise easily.

Turquoise in Nature

While turquoise is not found widely in nature, here are some places you can spot its iconic blue-green color:

  • Tropical waters – Coral reefs and lagoons
  • Peacock feathers – Secondary feathers have a turquoise sheen
  • Bird eggs – Some species like robins lay turquoise eggs
  • Butterflies – The tropical Blue Morpho has iridescent turquoise wings
  • Plants – Hosta plant leaves can have a bluish tint
  • Minerals – Turquoise gems form in copper-rich rock

Turquoise minerals used for gems form rare crystalline deposits in just a few regions around the world. The turquoise color is more commonly seen in tropical waters, birds, and butterflies.

Turquoise Clothing and Fashion

From ancient times to today, turquoise continues to be a popular color for clothing, accessories, and cosmetics. Here are some ways it is used in fashion:

  • Dresses, blouses, pants, shorts, swimsuits
  • Shoes, sandals, flip flops, clogs
  • Hair bands, hair clips, jewelry, sunglasses
  • Eye shadow, nail polish
  • Handbags, backpacks, wallets
  • Scarves, hats, ties, socks

Light turquoise is widely used for women’s apparel and cosmetics. Darker teal shades are popular for men’s accessories and athleisure wear.

Turquoise Home Decor

With its balance of warm and cool tones, turquoise works for many home decor styles. Here are some ideas for using it in interior design:

  • Accent wall or focal point
  • Kitchen cabinets, table, and chairs
  • Bathroom towels, shower curtains, accessories
  • Lamps, vases, decorative bowls and trays
  • Pillows, area rugs, throws
  • Flower pots and planters

Light turquoise evokes tropical beach houses, while darker teal is great for artsy boho spaces. Use turquoise sparingly to keep it from feeling overwhelming.

Turquoise Cars and Vehicles

Turquoise automobiles stand out sharply on the road. Some iconic turquoise cars include:

  • 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
  • 1961 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1969 Dodge Charger
  • 1960s Volkswagen Buses
  • 1950s Nash Rambler
  • 1970s Ford Pintos

Many American muscle cars and old VWs came in turquoise from the factory. Today it remains a eye-catching color for custom hot rods.

Turquoise Branding

Turquoise is widely used in logos and brand identities, especially for products related to relaxation, vitality, or nature. Some examples include:

  • Dairy Queen – Robin’s egg blue in logo
  • Tiffany & Co. – Robin’s egg “Tiffany Blue” boxes
  • Miami Dolphins – Teal and orange uniforms
  • Starbucks – Green and turquoise mermaid logo
  • Pakistan International Airlines – Turquoise tailfins and branding
  • Nickelodeon – Green slime and orange logo

Turquoise adds a relaxed, casual mood to branding. Combined with warm metallics like gold, it signals natural elegance.

Turquoise User Interfaces

In software and technology, turquoise is increasingly used for interfaces, likely for its balance of being both stimulating and calming. Examples include:

  • The Robin’s-egg Twitter app icon
  • WhatsApp uses teal for its chat bubbles
  • The iOS Calculator app uses robin’s egg blue
  • Turquoise highlights in Adobe Creative Cloud apps
  • Seafoam tooltips in Google’s Material Design

Light turquoise brings a friendly mood to apps and websites. Darker teal adds sophistication and focus for things like data visualizations.


Turquoise beautifully bridges the gap between warm green and cool blue. Mixing together green and blue pigments allows creating a wide spectrum of turquoise shades. Ranging from pale aqua to deeper teal, turquoise embodies relaxation and vitality. It continues to captivate designers and artists with its striking blue-green energy.