Once again, there is an abundance of birthstones in December: Tanzanite, Zircon and Turquoise. Let's focus on Turquoise; a gem many can currently find in their jewelry box, or at least hope to be gifted this holiday season.
Color – Admired since ancient times, turquoise is known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color. Turquoise is colored by copper, which creates some of the most vivid blues.
Mohs Hardness – 5-6
Appreciation of turquoise spans the globe, from Egypt to Mesoamerica to China. It is one of the first gems mined and used in jewelry. Archeologists found it buried in ancient Egyptian tombs, where it was referred to as “mefkat,” which means “joy” and “delight.” Chinese artisans were carving it more than 3,000 years ago.
The gem’s name, which originated in the thirteenth century, comes from the French expression pierre tourques, or “Turkish stone,” reflecting the fact that the material probably first arrived in Europe from Turkish trading routes. - GIA
Pre-Columbian Native Americans mined turquoise throughout the present-day southwestern United States. Shamans used it in sacred ceremonies to commune with the spirit of the sky. Apache Indians believed that attaching turquoise to bows improved a hunter’s accuracy. Turquoise became valuable in Native American trade, which carried North American material toward South America. Consequently, Aztecs cherished turquoise for its protective power, and used it on ceremonial masks, knives and shields. The turquoise-studded silver jewelry that’s commonly associated with Native Americans today originated in the 1880s, when a white trader convinced a Navajo craftsman to transform a silver coin into turquoise jewelry.
Turquoise is found in arid regions where rainwater dissolves copper in the soil, forming colorful deposits when it combines with aluminum and phosphorus. Copper contributes blue hues, while iron and chrome add a hint of green. Some turquoise contains pieces of host rock, called matrix, which appear as dark webs or patches in the material. - American Gem Society
Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties
Turquoise is the national gem of Tibet, and has long been considered a stone that guarantees health, good fortune, and protection from evil. For thousands of years, Turquoise has spanned all cultures, prized as a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality.
It has been recognized as possessing the power to protect riders from injury due to falls. First used as amulets by Turkish soldiers, it later came to be used for protection against falls of any kind.
Turquoise is also reputed to be influenced by the physical condition of the person who wears it. It is thought to grow pale when its owner is sick or sad, lose all color when the person dies, and gradually recover its color when transferred to a new healthy owner.
Turquoise is a strengthening stone, good for exhaustion, depression, or panic attacks. It enhances physical and psychic immune systems, supporting the assimilation of nutrients, alleviating pollution and viral infections. It is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, reducing excess acidity and benefiting gout, rheumatism, and the stomach.
It also assists in problems of the brain, eyes, ears, neck and throat, especially cataracts, migraines and headaches, and problems with balance. It is thought to be helpful to the respiratory system and aid in healing lung disorders and allergies.
Turquoise is a most efficient healer, providing solace for the spirit and well-being for the body. It benefits the overall mood and emotion by balancing and inducing a sense of serenity and peace. It is a stone for finding wholeness and truth, and communicating and manifesting those qualities.
In traditional thought, Turquoise unites the earth and sky. Spiritually, Turquoise heals and cleanses both the energy centers and the physical body. It acts to induce wisdom and understanding, and to enhance trust, kindness, and the recognition of beauty.
Turquoise enhances the ability to see all aspects of ourselves, good and bad, and to integrate these aspects into a cohesive whole. While it is tempting to try and rid ourselves of the traits of self that are not entirely enlightened, Turquoise, like an ancient Grandfather ally, reminds us that all experiences are valid and that mistakes are simply another experience. Wholeness can only come when we are willing to embrace all of who we are and what we have learned. - Crystal Vaults