December birthstone: Turquoise

Brilliant blue-green turquoise is one of three birthstones for December (the others are zircon and tanzanite) and has been cherished for millennia. It is said to represent happiness, honesty, serenity, and creativity.

A unique beauty

This gemstone’s name was derived from the French expression “pierre tourques,” which translates to “Turkish stone,” because it was first brought to Europe via Turkey.

Turquoise does not sparkle and shine like other gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies or emeralds, but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful! It is semi-translucent to opaque and often has veins of matrix (remnants of the rock in which it formed) running through it.

The most prized colour is Robin’s egg blue, which is a pure, bright sky-blue colour.

Famous fans

Well-known wearers of turquoise include Megan Fox, Eva Mendes, Heidi Klum, Johnny Depp and Arnold Schwarznegger!

Queen Mary had a stunning tiara, necklace, brooch, and earrings with Persian turquoise stones. The tiara was passed down to Princess Margaret, who wore it until her death in 2002.

King Tut’s turquoise

The earliest evidence of turquoise dates to around 5,000 BC, with the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt believed to be home to the oldest turquoise mines. Elaborate displays of turquoise were found on the gold jewellery of many Egyptian pharaohs, with the most extravagant found set on the iconic burial mask of King Tutankhamun.

The ‘robin’s egg’ blue turquoise was adored by the people of Persia (now Iran) as well as Siberia, Tibet, Turkey and Afghanistan. Ancient Persians believed that turquoise guaranteed protection, and adorned many of their palace domes to represent heaven.

Chinese artisans carved it more than 3,000 years ago. From the 13th century on, it was believed to protect the wearer from falling (especially off horses), and would break into several pieces at the approach of disaster. Hindu mystics held that seeing a turquoise after seeing the new moon brought fantastic wealth.

The Apache Native Americans thought that attaching the December birthstone to a bow made one’s aim more accurate.

Treat your turquoise with kindness

With a hardness of 5- 6 on the Mohs scale, turquoise is a suitable material for jewellery. Its softness makes it more vulnerable to scratches and nicks, but it also makes it ideal for carving. Artists around the world carve turquoise to create stunning jewelry, figurines, and other pieces of art.

However, his birthstone is sensitive to direct sunlight and natural solvents such as perfume, oils and makeup products, so be mindful of when and how you put turquoise jewellery on your body.

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