December Birthstone - Turquoise
The earliest evidence of turquoise gemstones comes from ancient Egyptian tombs, which contain elaborate turquoise jewelry dating back to 3000 BCE. Egyptians set turquoise in gold necklaces and rings, used it as inlay, and carved it into scarabs. Most notably, King Tut’s iconic burial mask was extravagantly adorned with turquoise.
The oldest turquoise mines are in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. One sat near an ancient temple dedicated to Hathor, the Greek goddess of love and joy who was worshiped as a protector in the desert and as the patron saint of mining. Egyptians called turquoise mefkat, which meant “joy” and “delight.”
Ancient Persians decorated extensively with turquoise, often engraving it with Arabic script. Turquoise covered palace domes because its sky-blue colour represented heaven. This later inspired the use of turquoise in buildings like the Taj Mahal.
Caring for your Turquoise
The Other December Birthstones
There are two other birthstones for December... Tanzanite and Zircon!
Tanzanite has become incredibly popular since its discovery in 1967 and is now the second fastest selling coloured gemstone after Sapphire. Initially Tanzanite was purchased as a substitute for blue Sapphire since it was cheaper, but now Tanzanite stands firmly in the gem and jewellery market on its own. The tanzanite birthstone is often described as “velvety,” mostly because of its deep and saturated colour, which ranges from a pure rich blue to violet, with the blue considered most valuable.
Zircon is known for it range in colour such as red, orange, yellow, brown, green and blue! Colourless zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicoloured light, called fire, which have resulted in centuries of confusion with diamond. During the Middle Ages zircon was thought to lull one into a deep sleep and scare off evil spirits.
Origin: North America, mostly Nevada and Arizona
Colour: Between blue and green
Known to offer: Turquoise is known to bring peace, luck and protection
Myth: Turquoise was believed to guarantee protection to the wearer so Ancient Persians adorned their daggers and horses' bridles with it.