Turquoise as a Birthstone

A Brief History of the Birthstone

The 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.


Photo of the beautiful turquoise birthstone ring above is courtesy of Antique Reflections.