Turquoise is the one of the official birth stones for the month of December as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and the Planetary stone for Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. See the birthstone tables for additional references to this stone.
The name turquoise is apparently related to the fact that is was brought to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders, more commonly known as Turks. Its been used as a valuable ornament for ages and was used by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. The color is, of course, turquoise, but its range of color varies from green and greenish blue to sky blue shades.
For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran (Persia) but today some specimens mined in the southwestern United States compete with it. The name "Persian Turquoise" is now generally used to refer to any turquoise stone that does not have the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States and used in a style of jewelry created by the American Indians.
The Aztecs mined turquoise in an area now known as New Mexico and a significant amount of turquoise comes from Arizona, California and Nevada in the United States.
Other minerals like chrysocolla have been used to imitate turquoise. Turquoise is often dyed and stabilized with resins to produce a harder stone which retains its color and polish. Reconstituted turquoise is made from small chips and "chalk" to which dyes and plastic resin is added. Pure turquoise is a relatively soft stone ranging between 5 and 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
More facts about turquoise plus turquoise jewelry listed by type.
more aqua color gemstones
see other December birthstones
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:
Turquoise attracts money, success and love. Its powers include protection, healing, courage, friendship, and luck. Relaxes the mind, and eases mental tension.
Turquoise is sacred to many Native American's and was carved in the shape of animals and birds. These carvings were placed in the Indians tombs to attract beneficial spirits and to guard the dead. Turquoise was also used by medicine men for healing and by warriors who fixed turquoise to the end of their bows to insure accurate shots.