December Birthstones

December Birthstones Turquoise

December Birthstones

The attractive blue stone takes its name for the French for 'Turkish Stone' because it was imported via Turkey from Persia, now known as Iran, and the best stones still come from that region and are prized for their bright color.

The stone was first worn in Ancient Egypt around 3000 B.C. and the Aztecs of the 14th century prized the brilliant blue stone higher than gold. It even gave its name to the color with which it is most associated - a pale but bright blue: turquoise.

It was very popular in the hippy days of the 1960s, especially in America where it is a popular stone with Native Americans and where there is a large deposit of the mineral.

The market crashed after a scandal in which it was discovered that a large out¬put of the 'Native American' jewelry, even some of the pieces being sold by the tribes themselves, was actually from Asia and had never even been mounted in America.

The resultant bad publicity caused the market to crash but it has regained its popularity.
December Birthstones

Whilst the intense blue is the most desirable coloring, one of the most interesting is the 'spiderweb' turquoise with its even pattern of black veins caused by the stone absorbing the deposits in which it lay.

 It is a very porous stone which has led to some difficulties in its ageing, 'older' stones (i.e. mined many years ago) becoming darker or greener over time.

To prevent damage, the surface is coated in a paraffin wax which seals it in and serves to enhance its polish.

 When it is originally mined, it often has to be separated from other minerals, such as onyx and it is only through the skills of the lapidarist that the stone is parted from  other deposits and polished.

December Birthstones
It is a brittle stone, which scratches easily and is known for its relative fragility which limits its cut. In fact, many of the 'modern' stones are enhanced to protect them, even being impregnated with plastic resins to prevent damage.

Some of the blues which you see might also have been dyed. In the 1960s' scandal, some turquoise was not even turquoise but completely fake but don't let that worry you, it is a very affordable stone and reputable jewelers will be only too keen to show you how they know their jewels is real.

The stone is rich in symbolism. It is believed to be both benevolent and protective, keeping its wearer safe from poison, including reptile bites, eye disease and even the evil eye.

The color is said to change to warn the wearer of their impending death - although no one has lived to verify that tall tale.

 Those suffering from bladder problems would traditionally dip the blue mineral in water and then drink the water - not advisable these days when the stones have been covered in wax.

 In olden days, it could have had something to do with the porous quality of the rock with the mineral deposits in the water balancing the bladder's PH levels. Wearers are now advised to keep their jewelry away from water, perfume, hairspray and oil.

December Birthstones


Brilliant blue is the best and has the high¬est copper content, blue, blue-green and also yellow-green which has more iron in it and is less popular and valuable.

Where mined

Iran still had the richest deposits - although they are hard to find, USA, Australia, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Asia and Chile. It is still a firm favorite with those buying jewelry from the Native Americans but shop around for best buys and designs. There are some wonderful pieces to be found at the Grand Canyon


Hydrated copper-aluminium phosphate, of porous composition.

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