December's Birthstone: TurquoiseIf cold December gives your birth,
The month of snow, and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand the Turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate'er you do.
Turquoise is a copper-aluminium-phosphate that contains a significant amount of water, which has been formed over a period of millions of years. In the creation process of Turquoise, the element Copper plays a significant role, Copper is bound to the element Aluminium by hydrothermal reactions and also they are bound to Phosphoric Acid in the matrix of Turquoise. During the creation process, the matrix stays above the water level underground, and this causes the stone to 'dry out' which gives this mineral its hardness. Turquoise's hardness relies on the presence of several elements that have settled inside this mineral and therefore the hardness of Turquoise varies between 2 and 6 on the Mohs' scale.
The most well known colour of Turquoise is sky blue, but this stone is also found in azure blues, pale (powdered) blues, greenish blues and shades of green. The colour of the stone is related to the amounts of Iron and Copper in the stone. The most valuable colour of Turquoise is the light to sky blue that hails from Iran, but also the greenish Turquoise that is found in Mexico and the United States is definitely worth getting to know. Personally, I prefer the greenish Turquoise to the Turquoise that has the pale blue colour of the robin's egg. Generally speaking, fine brown, yellow or black veins are 'painted' like a spider's web on the Turquoise. These veins consist of Limonite, Jasper or Sandstone, remnants of the matrix in which the Turquoise is found. This spider web gives the Turquoise it's characteristic looks and there are many people who prefer the veined stones to the equally coloured stones.
The name Turquoise has been in use since the 13th century, ever since these stones were introduced to Europe from Persia, currently Iran, through Turkey. Because the stones were introduced through Turkey, it was thought the Turquoise hailed from this country and the name was derived from the 13th century French word 'Turquoise' which signifies Turkish. Later on the word turquoise became synonymous for the typical colour of this stone. Turquoise is also called Turkey Stone or Venus Stone.
The oldest known Turquoise mine is situated in the Sinai desert and it was exploited for 2000 years by the Egyptian pharaos. Turquoise is a stone that has been used abundantly in Ancient Egypt next to Malachite, Amazonite, Azurite and Lapis Lazuli, and the Egyptians called this stone Mafkat. They regarded Turquoise as the symbol of wealth and as a Stone of Life. The oldest jewellery with Turquoise was found on the mummified arm of the Egyptian queen Zar, they were four bracelets inlaid with Turquoise. Zar ruled Egypt around 5500 before common era. Turquoise is the sacred stone of the Egyptian Goddesses Isis and Hathor.
The Native American culture also uses Turquoise generously, and it is seen as a sacred stone. The Anasazi, Apache and Navajo see the Turquoise as the stone that brings the spirits of the sea and those of the skies together so they may bless the hunters and warriors. But the Navajo also use this stone to promote the fertility of their animals and the Pueblo buried a Turquoise under their kivas, homes, to appease the Gods. Within the various Pueblos tribes the meaning of the Turquoise varies, it is associated with holy people by all tribes. The Tewa call this stone 'Turquoise Woman' or 'Turquoise Mother', but the Zuni associate Turquoise with a male, and there it is referred to as 'Turquoise Boy'. Almost all Native American tribes associate Turquoise with the sky, Father Sky, and it is seen as an offering for the Gods or it is worn as a fetish.
During the Art Nouveau period, Turquoise was lavishly used, but it was also very popular in jewellery in the Victorian Age. Even today, the Turquoise is a very popular stone in Southern Europe where it is worn to divert, and protect against, the evil eye.
Many valuable stones are copied and Turquoise is one of them. Copies of Turquoise are made of various materials; especially the white Howlite, Chalcedony and Magnesite are favourite stones when it comes to making imitation Turquoise. These stones are dyed blue and are consequently sold as real Turquoise. None of these stones have the characteristic web of Limonite, Jasper or Sandstone real Turquoise does display. Next to that, copies of Turquoise are also made of fossilised bones and/or teeth, limestone, ivory, porcelain, glass and even plastic. Synthetic Turquoises have been made in laboratories as well.
Turquoise is a stone of personal growth and provides its wearer with courage and vitality. It also gives its wearer more self-confidence and makes depressive and reluctant people energetic. Turquoise may be used to dispel insomnia and it can also be used to protect its wearer against depressions, apathy and mood swings. Turquoise is an excellent stone for those who suffer from anorexia nervosa, but also for those who suffer from bulimia. Turquoise is a stone that makes sure that the body is provided with all nourishment, vitamins and minerals. For those who suffer from ailments of the joints, like arthritis, gout, and inflammations of the joints, this stone may bring relief because this stone diminishes pain. Turquoise positively influences the skin and therefore it can be worn by those who experience skin problems like eczema and also acne. This stone also makes sure that scars heal nicely and it may be used to strengthen the teeth. It heals gingivitis, for this it is advisable to rinse daily with Turquoise water (after brushing). For ailments of the throat, like angina and tonsillitis, it is best to wear a Turquoise necklace. Turquoise strengthens its wearer's immune system and makes sure the body is protected against viral infections like influenza, the measles and mononucleosis, also called the 'kissing disease'. Turquoise also lowers fevers which is why this is a stone that should be in every one's first aid kit.
Turquoise is a very powerful protector; it is a stone that protects against all evil, the evil eye, black magic and negativity. This stone provides luck for its wearer and attracts all that is good. This is why you should always carry a piece of Turquoise with you, not just at home but also while you're travelling, for this stone is a very strong protector. Travelling sales men or truck drivers, for instance, should always be in the vehicle with them. Next to that, Turquoise is a friendship stone, it opens your heart chakra and makes sure you can open yourself up for new contacts and it also shields you from people that have bad intentions. Turquoise strengthens the intuition and clairvoyance.
In magic the Turquoise is used for healing, wealth and love rituals. Because of this last property the link between Turquoise and the Goddesses of Love is made, especially with the Egyptian Goddess Hathor, who is also the Goddess of Love.