An elegant gemstone steeped in history
As December unfolds its wintry embrace, those with a birthday in this festive month can celebrate with a bold splash of vibrant blue turquoise jewellery.
What is turquoise?
Turquoise is a gemstone known for its distinctive blue-green shade reminiscent of tropical seas. The best quality is an intense blue that is uniform throughout the gem. Turquoise is formed when water enters an iron-rich limonite or sandstone that contains copper, aluminium and other minerals. It takes millions of years and the right conditions for turquoise to be formed. The gemstone’s blue colour can be attributed to the presence of copper while the presence of aluminium adds a greenish hue to the gem. Turquoise may contain narrow vein-like markings of the host rock. These markings are known as the ‘matrix’.
The most valuable turquoise gemstones can be found in Northeast Iran. Other notable deposits can be found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania, and the United States.
A Glimpse into Turquoise's Rich History and Lore
Turquoise is one of the world’s oldest gemstones and has been revered and cherished by many different cultures. Ancient Egyptians believed it held protective powers; Cleopatra adorned herself with it and Tutankhamun’s burial mask was inlaid with it. Native American tribes considered it a sacred stone, often used by Shamans, symbolising life and abundance. In the ancient Persian Empire, turquoise was worn around the neck or wrist to help protect against unnatural death. And Tibetans revered the gemstone as a talisman of good fortune; to this day, turquoise remains the most prized gemstone in Tibet.
The name ‘turquoise’ is not derived from the colour but rather from the French expression ‘Pierres tourques’, meaning Turkish stone, and highlights its historical trade route into Europe through Turkey.
Symbolism and Meanings
Turquoise has a wealth of symbolism. It has long been associated with protection, wisdom and positive energy. The calming and serene blue and green colouring relaxes the mind, relieving any stress that the wearer may undergo. It is also regarded as a love charm that promotes the values of friendship.
Turquoise in Jewellery: A Timeless Elegance
The allure of turquoise extends beyond its symbolism and it has been used for thousands of years in jewellery. Its striking colour complements both silver and gold settings, making it a versatile choice for a range of designs. Whether featured in a statement necklace, a pair of earrings, or a delicate bracelet, turquoise adds a touch of timeless elegance to any piece. In many places the gift of a turquoise ring means ‘forget me not’.
Care and Preservation of Turquoise
Despite its enduring beauty, turquoise is a relatively soft stone and requires proper care to ensure its longevity and vibrancy. Avoid exposing turquoise to harsh chemicals, high heat, and prolonged sunlight, as these factors can affect its colour and durability. Gently clean turquoise jewellery with a soft, damp cloth to maintain its natural beauty.
December Birthstone Gift Ideas
Whether you're drawn to its historical allure, its calming properties, or its exquisite presence in jewellery, turquoise stands as a testament to the enduring charm of December's birthstone. For those celebrating birthdays in December, a piece of turquoise jewellery makes for a thoughtful and personalised gift. Discover our selection of turquoise jewellery.
If you would like to find out more information about birthstones, read out birthstone guide.