December Birthstone – Turquoise
Ironically, although turquoise is a birthstone associated with the final birthdays of the year, it was among the first gemstones to be mined. Iran has been a source of the beautiful blue stone for at least two thousand years. Throughout its long life, its distinctive nature has made an exceptional impression, and as a result, it is a standout among birthstones and a treasure as the traditional birthstone of December.
But what it is that makes the popular December birthstone jewelry so different from all the other gemstones? This amazingly earthly gemstone is beloved for its popular color. The wonderful blue-green hue as well as its unique density and opaque nature are unlike the more common translucent (see-through) stones associated with the other birth months. From azure blue to blue-green and even pale or gray-green, this birthstone is in a distinctive league all of its own.
In addition to Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tibet, China, Egypt, Turkey, South America, Mexico, Madagascar, and Australia, the United States is counted among the best resources for the stone. In fact, the leading producer of turquoise in the mid-1920s was New Mexico, exceeded by Nevada and Arizona toward the 1980s.
The famous Roman naturalist, Gaius Plinius Secundus, originally termed the stone, callis, meaning greenish-blue. The actual word turquoise occurs as far back as the seventeenth century.
Derived from the word turquoise, the stone’s most recognized name translates as Turkish due to its introduction when it was introduced to Europe from the Turkish mines of north-eastern Iran.
The raw gemstone is frequently unearthed in arid geographies known for past volcanic activity. Newly mined stones can be permeable to fluids before being treated to add strength and stabilize the stone. An epoxy resin is applied to give the stone its renowned gloss and shimmer. Most importantly, the process gives the stone resilience.
Early illustrations of the stone in ancient times picture it prominently supporting health properties ranging from adornments to enhance emotional balance in people, all the way to horses’ bridles intended to assure protection in the even of a heat-exerted horse drinking cold water considered to be too cold to assure their functional health. A mere dream of the gemstone was even considered an indicator of such properties as personal success, wisdom, and good fortune.
A popular use for the stone includes its prized position in Native American culture for which it’s carved occurs in heirlooms and plays a vital role in the celebration of rituals and heritage.
Good Turquoise Care
Limiting your turquoise birthstone jewelry’s contact with skin oils, perspiration, heat, as well as cosmetics will maintain the stone in good condition and ensure a long, happy relationship with your turquoise jewelry.
In terms of hardness, as measured on the MOHS hardness scale (used to judge the resilience of precious stones), turquoise comes in between the 5 and 6 in terms of its hardness, which is well below diamonds, so a good rule of thumb is to extend the life of your turquoise jewelry by removing it before activities which could result in an impact to the stone. Also, prolonged exposure to sunlight can impact the color as well as the texture of the stone. Nothing more than mild soap and warm water should be used to properly clean the stone. Taking these factors into consideration, the longevity of your beloved blue jewel can be maintained for many years to come.
For those lucky to celebrate December birthdays (and those lucky enough to know them), HerMJ designs unique necklaces, bracelets, and earrings celebrating December and beautiful turquoise and turquoise alternative jewelry gifts.