Turquoise is the accepted birthstone for December and is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 11th year of marriage.
Colors in turquoise range from sky blue (most desirable color) to blue green and apple green.
The name means "Turkish stone" because the trade route that brought it to Europe used to come via Turkey. The best qualities are found in northeast Iran (Persian turquoise). However, the United States southwest is now the world leader in production.
The deposits in Sinai were already worked out by 4,000 BC. At that time the stone was used for jewelry, amulets and in the preparation of cosmetics.
During the 16th century turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. They believed the gemstone could bring spoils to the warrior, animals to the hunter, and happiness and good fortune to all.
Although large quantities of beautiful turquoise which have not been color enhanced are available, today's turquoise is commonly stabilized with plastic to improve its color and durability. Chalky varieties of turquoise are normally impregnated with oil or wax to enhance color. This color change may not be permanent.
Care should be taken to protect it from scratches, sharp blows, hot water, and household chemicals. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine.
Blue topaz has become a popular alternative in recent years for those who prefer faceted stones.
To find out more about your birthstone, or any gemstone, consult your local professional jeweler. He or she will be able to show you the widest variety of colors, cuts and designs to suit every pocketbook. Your jeweler can also tell you how best to care for the gem, and will be available in the future to service your jewelry.
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