December - Turquoise, Zircon & Tanzanite

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Tammy Williams

Last month we talked about the history and background of birthstones and that sometimes there is more than one in a month, December is just such a case with Turquoise, Zircon and recently added Tanzanite, although we are only focusing on the oldest known of the three (Turquoise).

Turquoise Turquoise is considered by some to be a symbol of good fortune and success, believed to bring prosperity to its wearer.  To geologists though turquoise is known as “copper aluminum phosphate” – though good fortune and success sounds much better!  Turquoise is usually developed in rock near water tables, located in arid evirons and formed through chemical leaching out of adjacent rocks by rain and groundwater.

This stone can be found in Armenia, Kazakhstan, China, Australia, Tibet, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Egypt. In Iran, where some of the best stones are found, turquoise is the national gem. The American southwest-Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and California-are primary producers of turquoise.

Its name is believed to originate from the French phrase “pierre turquoise” meaning “Turkish stone” because turquoise was brought to Europe by Venetian merchants who first acquired it in Turkish bazaars. It is also considered by some as a love charm. When received as a gift, the turquoise symbolizes a pledge of affection. Shakespeare used this lore in “The Merchant of Venice’. In it, Leah gave a turquoise ring to Shylock when he was a bachelor, hoping it would win his affections so he would ask her to marry him. In Russia, the turquoise is popularly used in wedding rings.

Turquoise is one of the earliest known stones referenced in history as having been used to make jewelry.  It was particularly popular with the Pharaohs of Early Egypt. Four turquoise bracelets were found on the arm of Queen Zer who ruled in 5500 B.C. when her tomb was excavated in 1900.  Turquoise amulets inscribed with the Koran and proverbs were highly valued in the 7th century A.D.   Turquoise was highly popular in the American southwest where Native Americans have been using it to make jewelry and other piece for thousands of years.

Many superstitions surround this stone – from protecting owners from falling off their horse to revealing whether your wife was faithful or not.  The Navajo believed that prayer to the rain god and throwing turquoise pieces into a river would bring rain. Apache lore held that a turquoise attached to a bow or gun would ensure accurate aim. Throughout history, these relatively soft gems, prized for their color, have continued to be used, whether for their beauty or for their supposed magical properties.


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