December Birthstone – Turquoise
Turquoise gets its name from the French ‘turquois’ meaning ‘Turkish,’ relating to the silk road the mineral would have travelled from Persia, through Turkey and on to Europe. Turquoise can be found in many locations worldwide, most notably Iran, Egypt, China and the USA. Ancient Egyptians used turquoise as far back as 3000BC; the opening of King Tutankhamen’s tomb revealed the famous Pharaoh’s burial mask inlaid with turquoise amongst other precious gems.
Persians adopted turquoise as their national stone, the domes and walls of palaces were adorned with its intense blue hues said to represent heaven. The most sought after variety is the ‘Persian turquoise’ this pure sky blue colour has no green overtones or black veins.
Traditionally turquoise is gifted for an 11th wedding anniversary to represent friendship and protection.
The largest known rough turquoise was found in China, weighing 225 kilograms and is kept in the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Natural History in China. Turquoise is the only gemstone to have an official colour named after it.