Turquoise, the famous blue-green stone, is stunning. It can be raw, mixed with iron and rock or it can be polished to a high sheen with a translucent gleam. Either way, December birthdays are fortunate to have claim to one of the oldest stones in existence.
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.
Turquoise, a word derived from the French words Pierre tourques or Turkish stones, has been popular since ancient times. Said to bring wealth and prosperity to its wearer, it comes in a variety of hues from robin-egg’s blue to apple green to various browns. Its history is rich throughout numerous cultures. It has adorned ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, the rulers of Chinese emperors and others as it gained prominence. It was brought to Western markets through the Silk Road as merchants traveled from Turkish bazaars. Since that time, turquoise has been in demand for its beautiful coloring and metaphysical properties.
The Aztecs, especially, used turquoise as amulets. They decorated ceremonial props, weapons and shields in mosaic patterns containing turquoise. Native Americans used turquoise to make gorgeous pieces of jewelry. The blue in turquoise symbolized the Heavens, and green symbolized the Earth. Iranians held a similar view of turquoise, adorning their thrones, daggers, sword hilts, horse trappings, bowls, cups, and ornamental objects with turquoise. They even made it their national stone.
While western cultures predominately view turquoise as a charm to bring good fortune, in other cultures, it is a love charm. If one were to give a gift of turquoise, it is seen as a pledge of affection and loyalty. In Russia, they are popular stones for wedding rings.
Personally, I can’t get enough of turquoise. Whether they are pure, carved, polished to a shine; or mixed, riddled with copper or iron matrices, I love them all. They make beautiful pieces of jewelry, and I love to match them with other stones for necklaces or earrings.
Because it is such a popular stone, many have tried to reproduce cheaper versions with either resin or dyed stones. Howlite and magnesite, when dyed blue, can easily be mistaken for turquoise. As a piece of advice, if the turquoise you are purchasing comes at a price too good to be true, it probably is not real turquoise.