Blogs: On Your Market / Colored Stones

Turquoise: Gem of Endless Summer, Birthstone of December


Turquoise is a summer stone, there’s no arguing otherwise. It’s one we reach for to pair with resort wear, to match the cool blue waters of an island accessible only by boat or plane. It’s electric with white ensembles and soothingly chic with black. It’s a treasure you can’t miss when traveling to desert towns, rife with shops overflowing not only with jewelry but also belt buckles and home goods.

So how, then, is turquoise the birthstone of December? How, when so many other stones seem perfectly fit to their respective months, did we get here? Tanzanite—December’s other birthstone—in its icy purple-blue presence feels apt. But turquoise?

Urart turquoise Ceper ring
Ceper ring in 18k yellow gold with turquoise, $1,200; Urart
M Spalten turquoise ID bracelet
Gem ID bracelet in 14k yellow gold with heart-shape turquoise and 1.47 cts. t.w. diamonds, $5,450; M. Spalten
Assael turquoise earrings
Earrings in 18k yellow gold with turquoise and golden South Sea cultured pearls, $10,800; Assael
Boucheron Serpent turquoise ring.png
Serpent Bohème ring in 18k yellow gold with 2.47 cts. t.w. turquoise, $5,350; Boucheron
Joana Salazar turquoise earrings
Simple Joy earrings in 18k rose gold with turquoise, white topaz, and blue sapphires, $9,800; Joana Salazar

It is written by numerous sources that origins of the birthstone tradition can be traced back to biblical times. But, according to the International Gem Society (IGS), it wasn’t until 1912 that a formal list was made, standardized by the National Association of Jewelers. The choices were strategic and smart: It accounted for customs and practicality, ensuring American jewelers could actually promote and sell these stones in large quantities at the given time.

The list has seen some modifications since. In 1952, the Jewelry Industry Council of America added alexandrite, citrine, pink tourmaline, and zircon. In 2002, tanzanite was added.

Argelia Hadrovic turquoise pendant
Linea necklace in 14k yellow gold with turquoise 0.04 ct. t.w. diamonds, $990; Argelia Hadrovic
Grace Lee Maman turquoise ring
Maman crown bezel ring in 14k rose gold with turquoise, $785; Grace Lee
Delphine Leymarie turquoise Confetti necklace
Boheme Confetti Lune Bleue necklace in 14k yellow gold with turquoise inlay, $2,625; Delphine Leymarie
LAteelier Nawbar turquoise ring
Pinky ring in 18k yellow gold with turquoise, $1,800; L’Atelier Nawbar

For centuries, and by various cultures, turquoise has been thought to possess many powers, health and good fortune being two of them. Health and good fortune sound like proper holiday or New Year’s wishes, don’t they? We’re getting warmer.

In European tradition, turquoise is thought to impart peace to those who wear it. Another tidbit, which I found via GIA, that makes it feel seasonally appropriate. Perfect, even.

Emily P Wheeler Sail choker
Sail choker necklace in 18k yellow gold with 36 cts. t.w. Arizona turquoise and 4.6 cts. t.w. emeralds, $18,000; Emily P. Wheeler
NeverNot Grabngo turquoise ring
Grab n Go ring in 18k yellow gold with enamel and turquoise, £4,400 ($5,900); NeverNot
Featherstone turquoise earrings
Earrings in 18k yellow gold with turquoise, lagoon tourmaline, and diamonds, price on request; Featherstone Fine Jewelry

When turquoise is dusted in diamonds, you could almost imagine it as a glittering winter scene, its cool blue glowing next to snow and ice or warming by a string of festive lights. I still find it difficult to keep my mind from traveling to cliffside beaches, whitewashed buildings, and warmly glowing breezes.


Lord Jewelry turquoise pendant
Pendant in 18k yellow gold with 5.29 ct. turquoise, enamel, and 0.22 ct. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Lord Jewelry, custom created for Alara Jewelry
Nak Armstrong turquoise Caterpillar earrings
Caterpillar hoop earrings in sterling silver and black rhodium with enamel and turquoise, $1,500; Nak Armstrong



Picchiotti turquoise ring
Ring in white gold with 24 ct. turquoise and 1.22 cts. t.w. diamonds, $13,000; Picchiotti
Suka Jewelry turquoise earrings
Periwinkle earrings in 14k yellow gold with turquoise, sapphires, and diamonds, $1,750; Suka Jewelry

And yet, many of the pieces pictured here have done what I thought impossible: cast turquoise in the light of winter in a way that feels as natural as it does in the sun of summer.

I still want to make the argument that turquoise ought to swap places with the much more festive ruby of July. But looking at some of these pieces, I’m beginning to understand, and even make the case for, turquoise as a wintry, holiday-ready gem. And whatever you believe, any jewelry lover, celebrating a birthday or not, should have turquoise in their collection to break out all year long.

Joely Rae Cassandra turquoise ring
Cassandra ring in 14k yellow gold with Sleeping Beauty turquoise and rose-cut pink sapphires, $1,350; Joely Rae Jewelry
Akansha Sethi turquoise ear cuffs
Ear cuff in 18k yellow gold with turquoise and citrine, £2,925 ($3,900); Akansha Sethi

Top: Earrings in platinum with turquoise, 5.89 cts. t.w. aquamarines, and 1.48 cts. t.w. diamonds, $36,650; Cicada

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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