December’s birthstone, turquoise, is one of the world’s oldest gems. Archeologists have found in both ancient Egypt and China dating back over 3000 years. While it’s been found in the history of far-away places like Persia and as nearby as Native American tribes, the appeal to turquoise seems to have a consistent theme: It’s a stone that guarantees good health, fortune, and protection from evil. Persians believed it would add precision to their weapons, and called the rare stone “pirouzeh,” meaning “victory.” Turquoise adorned the Egyptian rulers and was found throughout King Tut’s tomb.
Native Americans used it as both a ceremonial gem and as a sort of currency, also believing that it could improve the accuracy of their weapons. But it was the French who gave us the name. The word “Torques,” or Turkish Stone, originated in the thirteenth century, likely after the stone made its first arrival from Turkish sources.