Two beautiful and very different choices of birthstone gift for December born folk…Vicki takes a peek:

TURQUOISE
This stone has been known by many names through the millennia, Turquoise comes from the French word for Turkish ‘Turquois’.

One of my very favourite gemstones, Turquoise epitomises the wonder and beauty of mother nature. Whilst bright blues are more highly valued, personally I prefer the stones that show the darker veining of the base rock. A favourite ring in my collection is blue, green and brown. The green and brown colouration may have been caused by dehydration of the turquoise; it’s most often found in arid areas. It could also be caused by a higher inclusion of one or other of the minerals, copper or aluminium, which make up the stone or iron impurities. It could even be one of the primary minerals from which Turquoise derives.

The formation of turquoise is fascinating – it is made from the weathering and oxidation of pre-existing minerals such as chalcopyrite, malachite, azurite, feldspar and apatite. So all of its properties are highly variable and it ranges around 6 on the mohs scale of hardness – which means it’s slightly tougher than your average window pane!

Turquoise was one of the earliest gemstones to be mined and many mines were and still are small scale operations where the turquoise is a by product of larger scale copper mining. A goodly number of sites have now been exhausted or closed; such as the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona, where all remaining turquoise was sent to the crusher following their decision to focus on the copper which was rising in value on world markets.

Untreated Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, which is typically a bright Summer sky blue colour has subsequently risen in value too. The south west of the U.S has a long history of turquoise mining and Native Americans such as the Pueblo, Navajo and Apache prized turquoise for its amuletic value.

Apaches believed it gave the archer a dead aim and turquoise has been used in bead form, small segments and mosaics for highly decorative inlay work. We’ve had some mosaic Native American Zuni jewellery in the shop (it sells VERY quickly) and the Zuni believed turquoise was sacred and carved fetishes from it. Zuni jewellery is delicate, eye-catching and universally popular.

The stone is thought to be a stone of protection, full of the life giving qualities of water and air and a shield against stress and a balm for old emotional wounds. Take a looksee here should you wish to know more about this beautiful stone that acts like a multi vitamin for your soul 🙂

If turquoise was good enough for Cleopatra, King Tut and decorating the Taj Mahal, it’s good enough for me!

However if turquoise not your thing – It’s our Jode’s birthstone & she’s not all that enamoured!  Well, you lucky  December born folk also have the gorgeous choice of Tanzanite…

TANZANITE

Found in 1967 in the Merelani Hills in the Manyara region of northern Tanzania is this stunning blue purple zoisite. The stone is extraordinary in colour, varying from blue to violet and burgundy. Usually heat treated to remove the natural brownish veil found in its natural state, tanzanite appears different colours in different lights.

Tiffany & Co felt selling ‘blue-violet zoisite’ would have been far less sexy and successful than selling Tanzanite so they named the stone after Tanzania, the country of its origin in 1968. Their advertising slogan went: ‘Found only in two places; Tanzania & Tiffanys.’

The American Gem Association made it their December birthstone in 2002. With such a limited supply, estimated by some to be mined out within the next thirty years, Tanzanite is possibly not only a very beautiful gemstone, it may become exceedingly rare. We all know what happens when things are rare…the price goes UP! It’s currently less expensive than blue sapphire or diamond, whether this stays the same will be interesting to see.

Tanzanite is said to stimulate the throat, third eye and crown chakras, uniting the mind with communication to the higher realms and improve intuition. It has a high vibrational energy for deep meditation. There are all kinds of purported physical health benefits such as it helping relieve stress, aid problem solving, make you feel happier and more relaxed. It is said to strengthen the immune system, de-toxifying the blood and stop excessive sweating. For more take a look here.


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