I'm Dreaming Of A Turquoise Christmas, And December's Birthstone

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One of my favorite casual gemstones is turquoise. Set in sterling silver or beaded on a wire bracelet or necklace, the birthstone for the month of December can be dressed up or dressed down depending on its setting and the outfit that accompanies it. This beauty has a one-of-a-kind look and creates a stunning style when worn as a gorgeous jewelry piece. Turquoise is also the traditional gift for the 11th wedding anniversary.

The History of Turquoise

Turquoise got its name from the Old French word "turqueise," which means "Turkish." This came from the fact that people in Europe purchased their turquoise from merchants who traveled on trade routes through Turkey from Asia.

Turquoise, the oldest gemstone, has a rich history, as it dates back thousands of years. There have been discoveries of turquoise inlaid within furnishings that date back to ancient Egypt around 3,000 B.C. An antique dragon totem has been found that dated back around 3,700 years: This object contained more than 2,000 turquoise pieces and was thought to have originated with the first dynasty of China. King Tutankhamun's mask, made of gold, also famously contains turquoise. This mask dates back to the mid-1300s B.C.

Many ancient civilizations, including ancient Egypt, the Persian Empire, and China, and more recent civilizations such as that of early Native Americans believed turquoise to bring good luck. For this reason, it is found in abundance in many antiques from these peoples. It became popular in Europe and other western civilizations later in the 14th century. During the Persian Empire, people believed that wearing the stone protected them from having an unnatural death. Over the past 1,000 years or so, Navajo, Zuni, Apache, and other Native American tribes have believed that turquoise not only gave them protection but provided healing powers as well.

Colors of the Turquoise

The stone is formed when water is pushed through rock that contains certain elements, such as aluminum and copper. A chemical reaction occurs and forms the beautiful turquoise. This process takes millions of years and only happens when the conditions are right. The majority of types of turquoise are blue, with shades varying from light blue to bright blue-greens, but there are some that have more of a greenish tone. Copper is the mineral that is most responsible when the turquoise is its traditional blue color. If more aluminum is present, the stone will be greener in hue. An extremely rare greenish-yellow stone is formed when there is zinc present during the formation of the stone. Many turquoise stones have webbing, which ranges in color from browns and blacks to grays, golds, and whites. This occurs when the rock that the stone is formed in becomes bound to the stone.

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Turquoise Mines

Originally, turquoise was mined in Egypt, Israel, and Iran, and more recently, it was found in the southwestern United States. Currently, the stone can be found in Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, China, Iran, and Mexico and in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico in the United States.