December Birthstone: Turquoise
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TURQUOISE

Turquoise is the one of the official birth stones for the month of December as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and the Planetary stone for Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. See the birthstone tables for additional references to this stone.

The name turquoise is apparently related to the fact that is was brought to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders, more commonly known as Turks. Its been used as a valuable ornament for ages and was used by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. The color is, of course, turquoise, but its range of color varies from green and greenish blue to sky blue shades.

For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran (Persia) but today some specimens mined in the southwestern United States compete with it. The name "Persian Turquoise" is now generally used to refer to any turquoise stone that does not have the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States and used in a style of jewelry created by the American Indians.
DATABASES
Turquoise is the one of the official birth stones for the month of December as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and the Planetary stone for Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. See the birthstone tables for additional references to this stone.

The name turquoise is apparently related to the fact that is was brought to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders, more commonly known as Turks.  Its been used as a valuable ornament for ages and was used by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. The color is, of course, turquoise, but its range of color varies from green and greenish blue to sky blue shades.

For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran (Persia) but today some specimens mined in the southwestern United States compete with it.  The name "Persian Turquoise" is now generally used to refer to any turquoise stone that does not have the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States and used in a style of jewelry created by the American Indians.
The Persian word for turquoise is «ferozah» or «firozah», which means victorious.

Turquoise is one of the oldest known gem materials. The Egyptians were mining turquoise in the Sinai as early as 5,500 BC.

The blue color of turquoise was thought to have powerful metaphysical properties by many ancient cultures.

In ancient Mexico, turquoise was reserved for the gods and could not be worn by mere mortals.
In Asia, turquoise was considered as effective protection against the evil eye.
In Tibet even today, turquoise is by far the most popular of all materials used for personal adornment, and still play an important part in religious ceremonies.

In the United States South West, the Apache believed that turquoise helped warriors and hunters to aim accurately.
The Zuni believed that it protected them from demons. Another belief was that turquoise had the power to protect the wearer from injury from falling, especially falling from horse-back, and that it made the horse more sure footed.

Turquoise was also thought to promote prosperity and is, alternating with zircon, the birthstone for December.
The Apache highly prized duklij, turquoise, for its talismanic properties. They carved amulets, beads, pendants, and fetishes from this material. If Apache shamans didn’t possess this stone, they wouldn’t receive proper recognition from their tribes. One popular belief connected turquoises and rainbows. If you could find the end of a rainbow after a storm, searching the damp earth would yield a turquoise.

The Navaho used ground turquoise and coral to make sacred sand mandalas to summon rain.

A Zuni legend relates the story of Turquoise Man and Salt Woman. They felt they were not valued enough, so they went away from the people. Turquoise Man said, “His flesh was simply given out to women for sexual favors.” (I guess he didn’t care for being used as money). The Zuni held an annual pilgrimage to retrieve salt from the sacred lake where Salt Woman hid.

At Pueblo de Los Muertos, New Mexico, a sea shell coated with pitch and inset with turquoise and garnets was found. It had the form of a toad, a sacred emblem for the Zuni.
Turquoise is a semi-translucent to opaque gem that ranges from blue to green and often has veins of matrix (remnants of the rock in which it formed) running through it. This December birthstone has been cherished for millennia. The pharaohs and other rulers of ancient Egypt adorned themselves with it. Chinese artisans carved it more than 3,000 years ago.
 
The turquoise birthstone was thought to possess many beneficial powers, like guaranteeing health and good fortune. From the 13th century on, it was believed to protect the wearer from falling (especially off horses), and would break into several pieces at the approach of disaster. Hindu mystics maintained that seeing a turquoise after beholding the new moon ensured fantastic wealth.
 
This turquoise birthstone also played an important role in the lives of Native Americans. The Apache thought turquoise could be found by following a rainbow to its end. They also believed that attaching the December birthstone to a bow or firearm made one’s aim more accurate. The Pueblo maintained that turquoise got its color from the sky, while the Hopi thought the gem was produced by lizards scurrying over the earth.</