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Turquoise, the December birthstone, is a gemstone that has been prized for its unique beauty and meaning for thousands of years. Its stunning variations in color, from deep blue to pale green, make it a popular choice for jewelry and other decorative objects. In this article, we will explore turquoise’s history, symbolism, and properties.
Turquoise has a long and fascinating history. It was first mined in ancient Egypt and was used by the Egyptians for jewelry and other decorative objects. In fact, the word “turquoise” comes from the French word for “Turkish” because the gemstone was originally brought to Europe through Turkey.
Turquoise was also highly valued by the Aztecs and other indigenous people in Mesoamerica. These civilizations used it in everything from ceremonial objects to weaponry. In the American Southwest, turquoise played an important role in the art and culture of the Native American tribes and is still prized by many of these communities today.
When Turquoise Became a Birthstone
Turquoise was added as a birthstone in the early 20th century. Before that, there were only nine birthstones, with December being associated with bloodstone. The modern list of birthstones, which includes turquoise as the December birthstone, was adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.
This new list of birthstones was designed to reflect the increasing popularity of gemstones in jewelry. Turquoise was included as a nod to its long history and cultural significance. Since its inclusion on the list, turquoise has become a popular choice for December birthdays. The alternate December birthstone options are Tanzanite and Zircon.
Turquoise has long been associated with several different meanings and symbolic properties. In many cultures, it is seen as a talisman or amulet that provides protection, good fortune, and strength. It is also believed to have healing properties and is thought to be helpful for various physical and mental ailments.
In addition to its protective and healing qualities, turquoise is also often associated with wisdom, spirituality, and truth. It is said to help the wearer to see things clearly and to communicate with greater honesty and clarity.
Turquoise is associated with the winter season, as the cool, blue-green color of the stone is often associated with the crisp, cool air of December. The gem is also believed to have a calming effect, which can be helpful during the hectic holiday season.
Turquoise is a relatively soft gemstone, with a hardness of only 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Because of this, it is often treated or stabilized to make it more durable for use in jewelry. The color of turquoise can vary greatly, from deep blue to pale green, and it is often veined or mottled with other colors, such as brown or black.
Turquoise is a porous gemstone, which means that it can absorb liquids and other substances. This can cause the color to change over time, and can also make it more susceptible to damage from chemicals or other substances. As a result, it is important to care for turquoise jewelry properly. Store it in a dry, cool place and avoid exposure to harsh chemicals.
One of the most common types of antique turquoise jewelry is Victorian turquoise jewelry. The Victorians were known for their love of turquoise, and the gemstone was often used in the form of small cabochons set in intricate, ornate designs.
Another popular type of antique turquoise jewelry is Art Deco turquoise jewelry. The Art Deco period, which spanned the 1920s and 1930s, was a time of bold, geometric designs. As such, turquoise was often used as a key element in these pieces. Art Deco turquoise jewelry is characterized by clean, simple lines and bright, vibrant colors.
Turquoise can also be found in antique Native American jewelry. The Native Americans have a long history of using turquoise in their jewelry, and many of their pieces are highly prized for their unique beauty and craftsmanship. Antique Native American turquoise jewelry often features intricate designs and intricate inlaid patterns.
In general, antique turquoise jewelry is highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike. Its unique history and beauty make it a truly special and one-of-a-kind piece. Whether you are looking for a Victorian, Art Deco, or Native American piece, there is sure to be an antique turquoise jewelry piece that will capture your imagination.