10 Cool Facts About December’s Birthstone, Turquoise!

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Turquoise samplesDecember is here again and it comes with not one, not two, but THREE recognized birthstones!  We’re going to start our December birthstone series with the longest-tenured of the three stones and a gemstone steeped in history and heritage…turquoise.  Here are 10 cool facts you may not know about this December birthstone:

  1. It takes just the right conditions and, oh yeah, millions of years for turquoise to form.  The presence of copper and aluminum in limonite or sandstone that is iron-rich leads to the beautiful blue and blue-green color of turquoise.

  2. The more blue the turquoise is, the higher the copper content.  When it has a greenish tint or hue, there is a higher aluminum content.

  3. Turquoise has been a treasured stone and used in jewelry for thousands of years, making it one of the world’s oldest recognized gemstones.

  4. Turquoise is found virtually all over the world, with deposits recognized in China, Mexico, Afghanistan, Brazil, Australia, Israel, the USA and Argentina.  It’s the northeastern part of Iran, however, where the most valuable specimens have been found.

  5. As well as being one of December’s recognized birthstones, it is also the gemstone representing the 11th wedding anniversary.

  6. Contrary to popular belief and in spite of the fact that there is a light blue crayon in your 16-pack of Crayolas labelled as being the color “turquoise,” turquoise was not named after its color.  It was originally believed that the mineral came from the country of Turkey.  Turquoise is the French word for Turkey, hence the name.

  7. Turquoise is the most prized gemstone in Tibet, as it is considered a talisman of good fortune, while it was also commonly worn in the ancient Persian Empire as protection from unnatural death.

  8. Throughout the history of many Native Americans, turquoise has been regarded as a sacred stone believed to strongly help one’s spiritual growth.

  9. Turquoise is not exactly a hard gemstone, as its Mohs scale hardness number is between 5 and 6 out of 10.  It should not be worn during physical activity where it may be bumped or scraped as it is easily damaged.

  10. While turquoise comes in blue and blue-green hues, all of which are beautiful, the most prized specimens are a bright and intense blue with no matrix markings (from limonite or sandstone) and a uniform color throughout the stone.