Thursday, December 8, 2011

Learn About Gemstones: Turquoise

The birthstone of December, turquoise, is also the planetary stone for Aquarius, Taurus, and Sagittarius. It's the gemstone for both the fifth and eleventh wedding anniversaries. Its name comes from the old French word for Turkish, because many centuries ago it was brought to Europe by Eastern Mediterranean traders, known as Turks.

The color of turquoise ranges from green to blue, depending on the amount of copper, aluminum, or zinc present. The formation of the gemstones takes millions of years when water leaks through rocks that contain those minerals. Finer grades of turquoise are rare to find, but in today's modern world, the introduction of different treatments and imitations have devalued the stone, yet made it also more accessible. Today, turquoise is mined in several countries around the world, including the United States, China, Iran, and Tibet.

Throughout the centuries, turquoise has been associated with luck, money, success, and love. Ancient Persians believed that it protected its wearer from death, but a change in color was a sign of danger or illness. Turquoise is also present in many Tibetan and Native American rituals because it enhances spirituality and kindness and eases mental tension.

An interesting history fact about turquoise is that in 1810, Napoleon Bonaparte gave his Empress Marie Louise a crown of diamonds and turquoise as a wedding gift. The crown originally had 79 emeralds accompanying the diamonds, but Napoleon had them removed and replaced with Persian turquoise.

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