December Birthstone – Splendid Turquoise and Its Jewellery

december birthstone

Turquoise December Birthstone

Turquoise is the gemstone that marks the end of the year and is the birthstone for December. It is also among the oldest known gemstones and its admiration has crossed the globe for years. It is believed to bring happiness and good luck to the wearer and is also a powerful shielding stone. There is much history and many marvellous details about this December birthstone. Let’s dive into it!

Turquoise Colour

Turquoise is a porous semi-translucent to opaque mineral with a waxy or vitreous lustre. Its colour varies due to the presence of copper and iron. Copper gives it a sky-blue shade. However, iron is responsible for a greener tone. The colours range from light to dark blue or blue-green with the typical “robin egg” blue colour as the most praised. Additionally, Turquoise may also contain veins of other materials, isolated or as a network, called a matrix. They are usually black or brown depending on the rock it was surrounded by.

Where Does Turquoise Come From?

The oldest known mining site for Turquoise is Neyshabur in Iran. These days the mined quantities are smaller but still set the standard for quality. Turquoise is also the country’s national gemstone.

Turquoise deposits are also found in Egypt, Armenia, China, and Tibet. Similarly, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States have Turquoise seams.

Some Turquoise areas produce material with a distinct colour and aspect. For example, the Sleeping Beauty mine is known for its light blue Turquoise without matrix. Much of the Turquoise from the Kingman Mine is bright blue and also has a spider web of the black matrix.

personalised necklace turquoise
Personalised Gold Turquoise Necklace

 

History of December Birthstone

Turquoise is one of the earliest known gemstones used in jewellery and ornaments. It graced the necks of Egypt’s Pharaohs. It also adorned the sacred dress of Native Americans.

The most lavish set of Turquoise was found on the burial mask of Tutankhamun. Ancient Persians believed that Turquoise offered safety. They adorned many of their palace domes with the gemstone as it was said to evoke heaven.

It has also been found in ancient burial sites in Chile, Peru, Mexico and Central America. The Incas crafted beads and figures out of them. Aztecs made pendants and ritual masks. It is well known and documented that the Native Americans have been using this gemstone to create ornate pieces for thousands of years. Turquoise held great ritual value for them. For instance, it was also used as currency between the tribes. The blue in Turquoise mirrored the Heavens and green symbolised the Earth.

Jewellery containing Turquoise has always been favoured in Tibet. There, it was highly prised, maybe even more than gold.

Persian Turquoise was brought to Europe via Turkey around the 13th century. The December birthstone was sold in markets and bought by Venice merchants who brought it to Europe. In Victorian times, it was the fashion for Europe women to wear the gemstone. Many pieces of Turquoise jewellery from the Victorian and Art Nouveau times have been preserved to this day.  King Tutankhamun’s Mask was found in 1925. This also led to a subsequent boom in jewellery and art inspired by Turquoise. 

Origin of Turquoise Name

The word Turquoise comes from the French “Pierre turque”. The meaning refers to “Turkish stone”. The mineral was first brought to Europe in the 13th century via the Silk Road.

How to Value Your Turquoise?

Turquoise Necklace
Turquoise Necklace

Turquoise is a widely available gemstone. However, it is rarely found in its pure, natural form and finer grades. Clearness, colour, evenness and hardness impact the value of a Turquoise gemstone.

The most sought-after colour above all is a strong sky to robin egg blue. Furthermore, Turquoise should not be soft or chalky. Turquoise stones free from traces of matrix have a higher value. However, those with spider-web patterns get second-place value in the trade.

One of the most sought-after types is the “Sleeping Beauty Turquoise”. This is of flawless colouration and pure blue colour. Persian Turquoise also has this bright sought-after colour known as robin egg blue. Some Turquoise types, such as Chinese, contain a matrix of brown, black or grey veins. Often, personal taste rather than defined rules decide the value of Turquoise with veins. In other words, different markets value the matrix in Turquoise more than others.

Treatments of Turquoise

Turquoise is quite a soft gemstone and can therefore be easily scratched and broken. Also, like opals, Turquoise hardness measures from 5 to under 6 on the Mohs scale. Due to its soft and porous nature, the December birthstone must be protected. This is so that it can be worn daily for years to come.

These days, stabilised Turquoise is more common on the markets. Different methods have been used to make it more durable.  Firstly, an early method for protecting the gemstone was to wax and oil it to enhance its colour and shine. Secondly, the most common current method is to stabilise with resin. The resin absorbs into the rock, to harden the gemstone. This makes it harder and therefore more suited to use in jewellery. Often, wax nor clear resin will not greatly reduce the value of Turquoise.

Another common form of Turquoise is colour-enhanced and reconstituted Turquoise. This is formed by powdering and after that, bonding fragments of fine Turquoise. These fragments tend to be too small to be used individually to form a solid mass. Accordingly, these methods reduce the gemstone’s value greatly.

personalised necklace
Personalised Gold Turquoise Necklace

Meaning of Turquoise

This beautiful robin’s egg blue gemstone has been attributed with healing powers. Turquoise has been used for amulets for centuries and is thought to be a protective stone. It has found usage in nearly every culture as a good luck talisman. The December birthstone is best known for boosting the wearer’s status and wealth, shielding from evil and bringing good luck. It has been thought of as a symbol of good luck and success. Giving someone Turquoise is a measure of friendship and a wish for good luck.

Benefits of December Birthstone

Turquoise balances and aligns all the chakras stabilises mood swings and creates inner calm. It is great for depression and exhaustion. It also has the power to prevent panic attacks. Turquoise is a purifying stone. It dispels negative energy and can be worn to protect against outside pollutants. It promotes self-realisation and assists in creative problem-solving. 

December Birthstone
Turquoise Bracelet

How to Care for Your December Birthstone Jewellery

Turquoise is a relatively soft and porous gemstone. Therefore, it should be worn, cleaned and stored with great care. Avoid wearing it during activities that put the gemstone at risk from scratching. It is very sensitive to solvents, skin oils and cleaning fluids. Perfumes and other cosmetics will attack the finish and may alter its colour. Always apply sunscreen, perfume and hair spray before putting on your December birthstone jewellery. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may also discolour Turquoise.

After use, Turquoise should be gently cleaned with a soft cloth to avoid a build-up of residue. It should be stored in its box to avoid scratching by harder gemstones or metals.

Use of any cleaning chemicals or soaps for cleaning your Turquoise is not recommended. Clean it with warm water and a soft brush. Gently scrub the Turquoise stones and dry them with a soft cloth. Allow it to completely dry before putting it away.

How to Wear Turquoise Jewellery

December birthstone’s colour and its historic importance have seen Turquoise becoming a favourite of many. Few colours are as refreshing and lively as Turquoise. The colour turquoise is energising, it is also feminine and strong. It carries a sense of wisdom and emotional balance.

Turquoise jewellery and its colour look well combined with almost anything. Here are just a few ideas for Turquoise jewellery paired with other colours. These will create several looks depending on your style.

  • Black clothes and Turquoise jewellery are a good mix for a refreshed office look. The bright colour refreshes while black add a little more rigour to Turquoise.
  • White paired with Turquoise jewellery creates a perfect look for your laid-back summer living.
  • Combining with grey is very classic. It adds a touch of elegance, perfect for an official event.
  • Delicate beige and bright Turquoise make a great pair in any combo.
  • Brown goes well with the green colour that Turquoise gemstone contains. These two colours are natural, therefore this pairing evokes harmony and calm.
  • For a daring look combine Turquoise jewellery with complementing colours. For instance, try coral or tangerine. Above all, these contrasting combinations make them even appear brighter and more saturated.
  • Another bold mix that will make you stand out is Turquoise jewellery with purple. These are related colours and they work well with each other.
  • Yellow combined with Turquoise is a bright summer combo that can cheer you up. It is a reminder of holidays, sun and sea.
Turquoise Necklace Ireland
Turquoise Necklace

References:

“Crystal Power, Crystal Healing” Michael Gienger

Guide

Turquoise

History