Birthstone month: December
Color: Turquoise ranges from sea foam green to teal blue
Moh's Hardness: 5-6
Transparency: Semi-translucent to opaque
There are a number of birthstones for December: tanzanite, topaz, and turquoise. Turquoise is a quintessential American gemstone that many people associate with sterling silver Native American jewelry, but it has a broad history that reaches well beyond North America. Some pieces of turquoise jewelry found in Egyptian tombs are among the oldest pieces of jewelry in the world, and the Chinese have been carving turquoise for over 3000 years.
Turquoise is a slightly porous, semi-translucent to opaque gemstone that is most often cut into a cabochon, or rounded shape. The presence of copper causes the blue/green color to occur in this gemstone.
Turquoise comes in a variety of quality levels, which vary depending the the porosity, texture, and amount of veining from the matrix (trapped rock that surrounded the turquoise as it grew). Higher quality turquoise typically has a more blue rather than green color, less veining from the matrix, and a finer, denser texture.
“Turquoise Description.” Gemological Institute Of America, www.gia.edu/turquoise-description.
Turquoise Gemstone | Turquoise Stone – GIA, www.gia.edu/turquoise.