December Birthstone Turquoise

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Turquoise has been worn by cultures ancient and modern and is said to bring protection, luck, peace, truth, detoxification, and protection from falling.

Turquoise is one of the most ancient gems, worn by the Turkish, Native Americans, the Aztec, and mined over 6000 years ago in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. Today it is the birthstone for December and famous as a part of the beautiful silver jewelry and carvings made by Native American artists in the southern United States.

Green-Blue Turquoise

The gemstone turquoise is so characteristic, it has inspired its own color named after the distinctive stone. Turquoise is almost always opaque and is relatively soft for a gemstone; at only 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, it is slightly harder than glass, is often coated with wax or resin to protect the stone against damage.

Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, with gradients of color from white to deep sky blue determined by the amount of copper and iron present in the stone when it was formed by moving groundwater. Turquoise is often marked with unique spots of the mineral pyrite or veins of limonite.

Turquoise in Myth and History

Turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones in use today and was probably first mined in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula over 6000 years ago. It was worn by the Egyptian Pharaohs and exported to Turkey and, from Turkish bazaars, made its way to Venice and throughout Western Europe.

The name turquoise is derived from the French for Turkish, “Turqois,” or from “pierre turquin,” meaning dark blue stone. The connection with Turkey exists to this day – many Turkish homes and sacred sites are decorated with turquoise-colored tiling. The stone was common in ancient Persia as a protection against death. A change of color in the stone was said to herald impending doom.

Turquoise was sacred to the Aztec people of Mexico, who used it to adorn jewelry, sacred artwork, and weapons. North American Natives also used turquoise in their clothing and ornaments from about 200 B.C. Turquoise was widely used by tribes in which is now the southern United States to make beads, small carvings, mosaics and, in some regions, currency.

In the 13th century Europe, turquoise was believed to protect against falls from horseback. It was said that a wearer of turquoise could survive a fall from any height uninjured because the gemstone would absorb all the impact of the fall.

Magical Significance and Powers of Turquoise

Like most gemstones, turquoise has been attributed with a long list of healing and magical powers. Turquoise is said to:

  • ground and protect the wearer
  • inspire truth and honesty
  • open the throat chakra and enhance communication
  • absorb negativity
  • alleviate pain and detoxify the body
  • bring peace and calm in the home
  • regenerate tissue and align the body’s energy field
  • bring wealth and happiness when given by a friend
  • combat depression

Turquoise Gemstone in Jewelry and Fashion

Turqoise is considered a semi-precious gemstone and is very fashionable in certain settings, particularly in Native American-styled silver jewelry and in hand-carved totems portraying animal or human figures. It is one of the birthstones of the month of December and of the astrology sign Saggitarius. Turquoise is traditionally given on the 11th wedding anniversary.

Deep blue turquoise is more valuable than green-hued or than softer colors. Turquoise has been found in Egypt, Iran, Mexico, the United States, China, Persia, Australia, Siberia, Tibet, Afghanistan, and Chile.


  • All That Gifts, “Gemstones: Turquoise,”, 2005.
  • Emily Gems, “Turquoise Gemstone meaning,”, 2009.
  • Olson, Donald W., “Turquoise,” U.S. Geological Survey, 2002.

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