Here’s everything you need to know about turquoise, the December birthstone:
The Turquoise December Birthstone Throughout History
Turquoise has been around for centuries. In fact, it is one of the world’s oldest gemstones.
This gemstone’s name was derived from the French expression “pierre tourques,” which translates to “Turkish stone.” Based on this translation, it’s assumed that the first turquoise gemstones were discovered in Turkey.
But, it did not stay in Turkey for long. This breathtakingly beautiful gemstone was buried in Ancient Egyptian tombs that date back to 4,000 B.C. The jewelry found in these tombs are some of the oldest pieces of jewelry in the world.
Montezuma II, an Aztec emperor, was also a fan of turquoise. He gifted this gemstone to Hernan Cortes, a conquistador from Spain, because he mistakenly believed the man was Quetzalcoatl, a god who would rule over and protect the Aztec empire.
Turquoise has made a number of appearances throughout modern history as well. Queen Mary had a collection of Persian turquoise jewelry, including a dazzling tiara, necklace, brooch, and earrings. The Persian turquoise tiara was eventually passed down to Princess Margaret, who wore it until her death in 2002.
The Legend of Turquoise
Native Americans and ancient Persians alike have abundant mentions of turquoise in their lore. For instance, the Apache tribe lived by the mantra that turquoise arrows or bows shoot true and ensure prosperous hunts.
Navajo Native Americans believed that turquoise would bring rich harvests in the form of rain, while ancient Persians believed that if you could see the reflection of a new moon on the surface of a turquoise stone, it would bring you great luck.
What’s the Meaning of the Turquoise Birthstone?
“If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue,
Success will bless whate’er you do.”
The turquoise birthstone is said to represent a host of positive personality traits, including happiness, honesty, and spirituality. It’s also said to represent strength, serenity, and creativity.
If you were born in December, then you have prosperity in your future, and potentially the chance for rebirth.
The Healing Properties of Turquoise
It was once said that turquoise could cure breathing problems, heal infections, improve your vision, and fix depression or anxiety!
Modern medicine can’t vouch for the healing properties of turquoise, but we can always look back on these medical uses the spirit of fun.
Traditional Turquoise Gifts
Have a loved one whose birthstone is turquoise, and looking for an appropriate gift? Turquoise makes a great gift for…
- Commemorating love (“just because”, engagement, or anniversaries)
- 5th or 11th wedding anniversaries
- Reminding loved ones of positive virtues such as strength or creativity.
The best part is, turquoise jewelry is an inexpensive gemstone, which makes it easy to incorporate into both fashion and fine jewelry!
Birthstone engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular, so many people choose to incorporate this gemstone in their engagement ring setting. This gives brides the opportunity to honor their birth month—and their marriage—for the rest of their lives!
Whether you’re looking for a turquoise birthstone ring, earrings, bracelet, or necklace, there’s sure to be a great choice available for any occasion.
What Makes a Brilliant Turquoise?
Turquoise gemstones are graded on three different factors:
- The presence of matrix, which is the black, spider-web markings found on many of these gemstones.
Turquoise gemstones that are bright blue and even in color have the highest value. This clear, consistent blue is often referred to as “Persian blue” in the jewelry trade. But, it’s important to note that some people prefer turquoise that is slightly greenish-blue instead of Persian blue.
The presence of matrix lowers the value of the gemstone. Matrix is formed by the iron in limonite or sandstone, which is the rock that surrounds turquoise in its natural state. The highest quality stones are those without any dark splotches or webbing at all.
This does not mean that turquoise with dark markings is worthless. Some people love the striking contrast between the bright blue and the dark webbing, so these gemstones are still valuable.
If you want to find the highest quality turquoise gemstone, look for one that is Robin’s egg blue with a smooth texture and no signs of matrix.
The Unique Qualities of Turquoise
Turquoise does not sparkle and shine like other gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies or emeralds, but that does not make it any less beautiful. Instead, it adds to this gemstone’s unique beauty.
It is softer than other popular gemstones as well. Diamonds have a 10.0 rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale, and emeralds and rubies are not far behind with a 9.0 rating. However, turquoise has a 5.0-6.0 rating, which means it is not nearly as durable as these other stones.
Its softness makes it more vulnerable to scratches and nicks, but it also makes turquoise ideal for carving. Artists around the world carve turquoise to create stunning jewelry, figurines, and other pieces of art.
These qualities make turquoise one of the most unique—and highly sought after—gemstones in the world.
Celebrities with the December Birthstone
Many celebrities are lucky enough to have turquoise as their birthstone. Out of countless celebrities born in December, some include:
- Steven Spielberg
- Taylor Swift
- Jake Gyllenhaal
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Ellie Goulding
- Julianne Moore
- Jay Z
- Nicki Minaj
- Marisa Tomei
Clearly, if you were born in December, you’re in great company!
The Beauty of the December Birthstone
Treat yourself (or your loved one) to a custom designed beautiful turquoise piece that’s full of meaning, with plenty of legend and lore behind it. Turquoise, the December birthstone, is such an important (and appealing!) gem on its own that you simply can’t go wrong with turquoise jewelry.