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December Birthstone - Turquoise

December Turquoise

Turquoise tiara

Princess Margaret’s Persian Turquoise Tiara (Great Britain)

 Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, with the chemical formula CuAl(PO4)(OH)4H2O. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue.

 The substance has been known by many names, but the word turquoise, which dates to the 17th century, is derived from the French turques for “Turks”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey, from mines in the historical Khorasan Province of PersiaPliny the Elder referred to the mineral as callais and the Aztecs knew it as chalchihuitl.

If given a turquoise by a loving friend, that stone would protect the wearer from negative energy and bring good fortune. Turquoise is the symbol of friendship. It also brings peace to the home.

This stone is a very personal and meaningful stone to one who wears it. Turquoise takes on the characteristics of the owner.

Archaeological evidence shows that ancient Egyptian royalty wore turquoise jewelry over 7,000 years ago. It was prized by Chinese carvers over 3,000 years ago and was a ceremonial gem for the Native American tribes of the Southwestern US.


Native American Turquoise Jewelry

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.

Sleeping Beauty TurquoiseSleeping Beauty Turquoise beads

Sleeping Beauty Mountain and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, Globe AZ.

Major sources include Southwestern US, China, and Iran, which is more of a historical source for fine qualities. The Sleeping Beauty mine ceased mining August of 2012.

Various treatments include impregnation with plastic and dyeing.  In the jewelry trade these are called Reconstituted.  Neither are permanent, but they can hold up well if cared for properly.


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