Turquoise is perhaps the most recognized official birthstone of December, alongside blue topaz and tanzanite. This may be because the stone itself is so popular in jewelry, and has been for centuries.
The name comes from "perre turquoise", which means "Turkish stone", a misnomer since the stone actually was introduced to Europe from Turkish traders, but mined in Persia.
Sacred to ancient Egyptians, turquoise was notably valuable and found in the excavated tombs of the pharaoh King Tut and the that of Queen Zer's. Turquoise held a spiritual significance, and when Egyptian royalty was buried, so was the inclusion of significant pieces of jewelry and adornments. Turquoise was among the stones set in this jewelry, signifying strength and endurance from disease.
Turquoise has been associated with abundance and protection for centuries, even identified as a healing stone. Accessorizing with turquoise was common, to ward off danger in battle and to keep illness away during travel.
The Mohs scale is used to indicate to the wearer the hardness or resilience the stone may have on sharp impact or wear. Turquoise is listed as a 5 or 6, soft enough to keep away from solvents or heavy machinery, but typically safe for everyday wear as necklaces, earrings, pendants, or bracelets. You will commonly find turquoise set against yellow gold to bring out the yellow or green tones, or sterling silver or white gold to enhance the natural blues of the stone.
A versatile stone, you may pass on your turquoise jewelry from generation to generation, as an enduring, timeless accent your wardrobe.