A Brief History of the Birthstone
birthstone tradition is a reflection of our human tendency to assign special
healing or protective powers to gems. This tradition has been traced back to the
book of Exodus, which describes the High Priest's breastplate as having twelve
gemstones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Over time,
specific stones of a common color became associated with one of the twelve
signs of the zodiac. This shift in reference is what put the "birth" into
"birthstone." From there, is was a small step to associate particular gems
with each of the twelve months of the modern calendar.
Traditional Birthstones of December
Turquoise is listed on the traditional birthstone list for
the month of December, along with Zircon and Lapis Lazuli. This listing dates
back to the 15th century.
Modern Birthstones of December
Turquoise is one of the three modern birthstones for the
month of December. The other two birthstones for December are blue topaz
and tanzanite. Says who? The American National Association of
Jewelers established the "official" birthstone list in 1912, adding tanzanite to
December's list in 2002. Why the delay? Tanzanite was only recently discovered,
having first been identified
in Tanzania, Africa in 1967.
Turquoise and Sagittarians
A different list of birthstones exists for the various
astrological signs. Turquoise is one of four accepted birthstones for
Sagittarius (November 22 through December 21). The other three accepted
star stones for Sagittarians are sapphires, amethyst and topaz.
the beautiful turquoise birthstone ring
above is courtesy of