December's birthstone, Turquoise, is one of the most beautiful gemstones ever known to man. As the name suggests, the color is "turquoise", though the color of the gemstone varies from blue green to sky blue. The gemstone is a traditional present to commemorate 5 to 11 years of marriage.
Turquoise Information
The best turquoises are found in Iran. These best quality gemstones have that pure and radiant sky blue color, with or without its fine matrix. The more strongly the gemstone leans on the color green and the more irregular the matrix, the lower the stone's quality.
Be careful of turquoise imitations, they are quite plenty. The most common imitation of the stone is dyed magnesite and howlite. They are white in their natural states, with black veins like that of turquoises. Other less common and less convincing imitations include dyed jasper and marble. These imitations can be easily detected by gemologists through non-destructive tests, although destructive tests may deem necessary in some cases. Practice caution when buying gemstones, and always buy from legitimate and renowned gem stores.
The stone is ancient, its discovery dates back as early as 6,000 B.C., discovered by the Ancient Egyptians. The name of the birthstone was derived from a French term for Turkish (or Pierr Turquois), during the 16th century. However, this was a misnomer, for Turquoise does not come from Turkey, although it was traded in Turkish bazaars, where the Venetian merchants introduced to Europe. Moreover, the color has been used at length in the walls and floor tiles in Turkish homes and shrines for at least the 14th century. Another surmise is that the gemstone.s name refers to the color of the Mediterranean Sea, which is on the south Turkish coast.
Ancient Lore
For centuries, the gemstone has been esteemed as a holy stone, a good luck charm, and a talisman. Turquoise has been popular since its discovery, as proven by the excavation of Ancient Egyptian tombs around 3,000 B.C. Discovered grave furnishings, artifacts and jewelry were furnished with the gemstone. The Ancient Persians, on the other hand, believed that the gemstone should be worn around the neck or at the wrist at all times, to protect them against an unnatural death. They believed that if the gemstone changes color, looming danger is near and about to happen. The gemstone is usually worn on the turban, enclosed by pearls. They are encrusted in daggers, sabers and bridles as a talisman, to defend the wearer against the "evil eye".
The gemstone also had a special place among American Indians. The Aztecs of Mexico adorned their ceremonial masks with the stone. The Apache Indians believed that the gemstone gives warriors the ability to aim their targets better, while the Zuni tribes believed that the gemstone serves as a shield against demons.
Since time immemorial, the gemstone was the traveler's aid. It was believed that the stone guard the riders and their horses from falls. Today, the gemstone is still considered as a good luck charm for travelers, aviators and flight professionals to help ward off accidents.
How do you take care of your turquoises? Always keep your stone away from bright light, heat, and make up. Do not take it with you on the beach, or anywhere with prolonged high temperatures! Clean it with a clean, soft cloth from time to time.

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