History & Meaning Behind the December Birthstone

History & Meaning Behind the December Birthstone

In creating our birthstone necklaces, we've done alot of research about each birthstone and the history and meaning behind each. Turquoise and tanzanite are both known as December birthstones, but turquoise is the oldest and the original birthstone for December, with tanzanite having only been added in 2002. Turquoise has a rich history across many cultures. From the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the Chinese, Native Americans and the British Royal family, all have made Turquoise part of their jewelry and heritage. In its purest form, turquoise will have the deep, rich flawless solid blue, but also comes in many instances with “matrix” the veins of brown colorations that can make the stone so visually interesting.


Our contributor Beth Bernstein wrote a terrific article on the history of birthstone jewelry, and shared a bit about the history or turquiose:


"Reportedly the first stone to be mined and set into jewelry, turquoise is one of December’s three birthstones, which also include zircon and tanzanite, yet out of the three it is the gem that reveals longstanding legends and symbolism that date back to ancient times.


The earliest turquoise stones originated in Persia and were known for their pure, robin’s egg blue color. The gem also gives off a bluish-green hue, depending on what country/mine produces it. Turquoise was named after the French expression pierre torques, or “Turkish stone”, due to the trade route the stone traveled from Turkey to Medieval Europe. Revered as a talisman since it was first found, it has been carved into amulets that brought good fortune and protected the wearer from evil and harm.


Fast forward to the 19th century and turquoise became one of the prominent opaque gemstones for all classifications of jewelry. Its beauty was derived from its versatile color that accented the fashions of the times, complemented almost every complexion, and offered an surprisingly luxurious contrast to warmth of yellow and rose gold. It was an affordable stone for women of all classes to wear. Additionally turquoise was fashionable and was set into pavé settings that covered the head of serpent motifs or the full body of a dove or a puffed padlock heart. The late Georgians and Early Victorians used turquoise predominantly in sentimental birthstone jewelry. It mimicked the color of the forget-me-not flower which symbolized both friendship and remembrance, which was widely popular during this time period, and it was set into all categories of jewelry which featured this motif. In the mid to later Victorian era, turquoise was paired with mine cut diamonds or half pearls for rings, earrings and lockets with either symbolic motifs or geometric patterns that featured calibre cuts."


Our December birthstone necklace features turquoise stones set in an 18k gold or sterling silver moon, which we created to celebrate the fact that we were all born under the same moon. Turquoise is one of our personal favorite stones, as it is so versatile and can be dressed up or down, and mixed with so many different pieces. It's a classic stone that will never go out of style.