Did you know that there are actually three birthstones for the month of December? Tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise are all considered December stones, with tanzanite being the most frequently named. Today, however, we’re going to focus on something a little different: Turquoise! Turquoise is used a ton in jewelry, but as a birthstone… not as much. I’m going to share a little more about this unique and beautiful stone so all you December babies can know it’s an option!
I use turquoise most often in my Celestial pieces because its dreamy, sky blue hues vibe delightfully with the airiness of this collection. It’s also a stone that really plays well with other stones and complements contrasting colors, so it’s a frequent choice for layering. (And you know how much I love layering jewelry!)
Read on to learn more about this magnificent stone and find out why I simply love working with turquoise.
What is Turquoise?
Unlike many other gems, turquoise is opaque rather than translucent. While we’re all familiar with the blue-green color named for the stone, turquoise can actually vary from sky blue to pale green or even purple. Turquoise is sometimes crisscrossed by a matrix, a pattern of mineral lines formed by the surrounding stone, which makes it even more interesting. With a Mohs hardness of only 5 to 6, turquoise is fairly soft and porous, but it can be treated to add strength.
History & Lore
This breathtakingly beautiful gemstone was used in some of the oldest jewelry in the world and found buried in Ancient Egyptian tombs that date back to 4,000 B.C. Montezuma II, an Aztec emperor, was also a fan of turquoise. He gifted this gemstone to Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes because he mistakenly believed the man was Quetzalcoatl, a god who would rule over and protect the Aztec empire.
Native Americans and ancient Persians alike have abundant mentions of turquoise in their lore. For instance, the Apache tribe lived by the mantra that turquoise arrows or bows shoot true and ensure prosperous hunts. Navajo Native Americans believed that turquoise would bring rich harvests in the form of rain, while ancient Persians believed that if you could see the reflection of a new moon on the surface of a turquoise stone, it would bring you great luck.
Turquoise has made a number of appearances throughout modern history as well. Queen Mary had a collection of Persian turquoise jewelry, including a dazzling tiara, necklace, brooch, and earrings. The Persian turquoise tiara was eventually passed down to Princess Margaret, who wore it until her death in 2002.
Kristen Baird® Jewelry & Turquoise
As I hinted above, I love using turquoise in combination with other stones. The softness of the color and the opacity serve as a lovely contrast with translucent gemstones that capture more light. For a great example of this, check out this Cascade ring in turquoise with a blue topaz accent. Those two blues combined with the ripple band texture really evoke the fresh, clear waters of the Caribbean. Don’t you just want to dive right in? For a sunny duo, you could pair this turquoise with lemon quartz instead. Ah, fresh!
I’m also obsessed with Mohave, or purple turquoise. That’s why I was so excited to get my hands on this stunning and unusual stone for the Mohave Turquoise Beauty commission. Although the colors were different, the general principle was the same: I paired the deep, opaque stone with lighter pink and purple amethysts for a truly original custom cuff bracelet. I also used both silver and yellow gold to make those stones pop.
As I mentioned previously, turquoise has a dreamy quality to it that makes it a great fit for my Celestial Collection. I use it all the time in the Comet necklace, the Mini Half-Moon necklace, the Mini Crater necklace, Aurora earrings, and anything that I want to evoke the sky or a hazy atmosphere.
Last but certainly not least, any of my super-stackable pieces always have turquoise as an option. The Bubbling Brook ring, Mini Splash Gem Bangle, and all my pieces meant to be combined in stacks and layers are perfect options for turquoise. The beautiful but solid coloring serves as an excellent anchor to build your stack around, and there are so many hues that look great with it. (For more advice on layering and stacking jewelry, check out this blog post.)
Happy Birthday to my December babies!
For my December birthdays, that’s a wrap on your “alternate” birthstone. Fun, right!?! Turquoise is such a versatile and beautiful stone, with loads of different applications. It’s great for casual, everyday jewelry, but it’s also great for dressing up. It’s also the perfect stone for playing around with layering and mixing jewelry. There’s just so much you can do with it! I hope after reading this you have a few more ideas about how to style your own turquoise pieces. And if you don’t have any turquoise yet, December is a great time to start!