1812, coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy, from alumina, alumine, name given by French chemists late 18c. to aluminum oxide, from Latin alumen "alum" (see alum). Davy originally called it alumium (1808), then amended this to aluminum, which remains the U.S. word, but British editors in 1812 further amended it to aluminium, the modern preferred British form, to better harmonize with other metallic element names (sodium, potassium, etc.).
Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound. [Quarterly Review, September 1812]
Aluminum foil attested by 1859; popularized in food packaging from c. 1950.
"very hard mineral" (crystalline aluminum oxide) used for grinding and polishing other gems, steel, etc., 1728, from Anglo-Indian, from Tamil (Dravidian) kurundam "ruby sapphire" (Sanskrit kuruvinda), which is of unknown origin. It is a dull or opaque variety of sapphire, amethyst, ruby, and topaz; in hardness it is next to diamond.
greenish-blue precious stone, 1560s, from French, replacing Middle English turkeis, turtogis (late 14c.), from Old French fem. adjective turqueise "Turkish," in pierre turqueise "Turkish stone," so called because it was first brought to Europe from Turkestan or some other Turkish dominion. Cognate with Spanish turquesa, Medieval Latin (lapis) turchesius, Middle Dutch turcoys, German türkis, Swedish turkos. As an adjective, 1570s. As a color name, attested from 1853. "Chemically it is a hydrated phosphate of aluminum and copper" [Flood].