Monday, December 19, 2011

December Blues - Topaz and Turquoise

December's birthstones, turquoise and blue topaz, each possess their own shade of light blue to honor either the northern hemisphere's deep winter ice, or the southern hemisphere's bright summer skies.

Topaz is mined from locations that span the globe.  Naturally occurring blue topaz is very rare.  While topaz can exists in a wide variety of colors, it is mostly found in a range of browns, oranges, reds, and yellows.  Most blue topaz gems on the market are formed by irradiating topaz in a laboratory to create the desired blue color.  However, some natural topaz of a very light blue hue is cut and drilled for beaded jewelry.  It's hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale means it is a durable stone, and so suitable for a variety of jewelry designs.  The stone is symbolic of creativity, individuality, and self confidence.

The characteristic blue shades of turquoise are formed by the presence of copper in the mineral.  While the turquoise mineral can be found in hues that include greens and yellows, it is the blue-aqua shade that has the most value.  Gem quality turquoise is found in a few specific locations on Earth, and such material commands a good price.  Imitation turquoise is becoming very common, but does not usually have the same richness as the original.  This mineral can range in hardness from 5-7 on the Mohs scale, which means some of the softer varieties need special care.  Pieces can shatter if dropped or mishandled.  Turquoise is said to bring the wearer protection, friendship, and peace.  There are those who believe that pairing the stone with copper metal helps to increase the beneficial effects.  Certainly both copper and silver match beautifully with turquoise in beaded jewelry.

Choose your own preferred shade of light blue for your jewelry expressions this month, and feel in tune with the season!

Image Credit:  Turquoise Beads by cobalt123 on flikr via Creative Commons, CC 2.0
Blue Topaz Mineral, Smithsonian Institute, The Dynamic Earth

1 comment:

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