For those of you born in the festive month of December, turquoise is your birthstone.
One of the very first gemstones ever to be mined, turquoise has been long desired for its intense colour, ranging from green to sky-blue.
This colour variation depends on the quantities of iron and copper present and the most prized of all is the sky-blue turquoise from Iran.
Turquoise was introduced from Persia through Turkey. It was the national gemstone of Persia and believed to bring good luck to the wearer if the New Moon was reflected on a piece. It was also thought to be able to warn the wearer of a coming illness or danger by changing colour.
Turquoise is one of the earliest known stones to be used in jewellery. Pharaohs of early Egypt wore them and a tomb excavated in 1900 contained the mummified remains of Queen Zer, who ruled in 5500 B.C – found on her arm were four magnificent turquoise bracelets. Beads dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).
Main photo: Solid silver, fold-over style turquoise earrings
Discover more about all precious gems in our ‘Wylde Guide to Gemstones’.