December Birthstone Turquoise
What can we read about December Birthstone in the ancient sources? — «The Turkey Stone (Turquoise) is a very hard gem of no transparency, yet full of beauty, as given the grace of its color in a sky color out of a green, in the which may be imagine a little milkish perfusion.
Indico (from Lat. «Indian») will give the perfect color of it, and Verdigrease has a perfect resemblance of it; and a clear sky color free from all clouds will most excellently discover the beauty of a Turquoise.
December Birthstone in Latin called «Turchus» (Turchicus, Turchina, Turchesia, Turchoys); Pliny (Pliny the Elder) called it «Boreas», which Martinus Rulandus (Martin Ruland the Elder) makes the fixes kind of «Fasper», which he says is ceruleus like unto a serene heaven, and is called «Turcica» in Latin, and in Dutch «ein Orientischer Turckise». It is of the Greeks called «Faspis Aerizusa»; Mesues called it «Feruzegi».
It has its name «Turcicius», either because of its excellent beauty, of because it is brought from the Turks, says Baccius (Bacchius of Tanagra).
Non-transparent december birthstones, and wholly shadowed gems admit of no foils, therefore nothing concerning them must be expected. The Turquoise is throughout of the same beauty, as well internally as externally; it wants no help of tincture to set in off in grace, the constancy of its own beauty without any external help is the support of it, and beareth it up against all defects.
December Birthstone is an excellent gem of most simple substance, in every part like itself, most pure in color, and without spot, and the constancy of its beauty is sufficient commendation for itself.
Its luster is dull or waxy, and its colors are, variously, sky-blue, greenish-blue, occasionally apple-green, and sometimes yellowish. This is the genuine or Oriental Turquoise. It is found on small gangs of bog-ore, in silicious shiste, in boulders, etc».
Magical Properties & Legends about December Birthstone
The Turquoise has been employed as a medicine—probably under the impulse of the same notions, which are embodied in the following extract from Nicols, with which we close:
Many strange things beyond faith are reported concerning the verities of December Birthstone, which nothing but excess of faith can believe.
As that if December Birthstone be worn in a ring of gold it will preserve men from falls, and from the bruises proceeding of them, by receiving that harm into itself which otherwise would fall upon the man: yet these verities are said not to be in this gem except the gem be received of gift.
It is likewise said to take away all enmity and to reconcile man and wife.
Rueus says that he saw a Turehoys which upon the death of its muster lest all its beauty and contracted a cleft, which a certain man afterwards buying at an under price returners again to its former glory and beauty, as if says he, by a certain sense it had perceived itself to have found a new master.
The same author says of it, that it dose change, grow pale, and destitute of its native color, if he that wears it do at any time grow infirm or weak; and again upon the recovery of its muster, that it doth recover its own lovely beauty which arises of the temperament of its own natural heat, and becomes ceruleus like a serene heaven.
December Birthstone is very delightful to the eye, and is thought much to strengthen the sight, because it does not by its over brightness too much dissipate the visive faculty, nor by its overmuch obscureness too much concentrate the visive faculty.
Baccius in Annotations faith that it is sweat as a gum out of a black stone in Persia, which the Indians call «Pcrose»; the true «Turchoys» is know by the change of its color; in the daytime it is excellently ceruleus or sky colored; at night time by candle light it is green.
Another way of trail of it is this, The lower part is sometimes black, from whence issue final veins which do insinuate themselves into the «supersicies».
A third way which is very much commended for this purpose, dissolve «calx» in water, when anoint the «supersicies» of gem with it, or put a little of this dissolve «calx» upon the «supersicies», and if upon this the «calx» receive a tincture, or color from the gem, this will shew that gem to be a very excellent «Turchoys».
Dignity of December Birthstone
The excellency of the color of December Birthstone does set its price, and the breads of it does much enlarge the price.
It is of great esteem with Princes and much pleasure they take in its beauty; ant it being set in gold they wear in on their fingers.
The Mauritanians use December Birthstone in physic and call it «Perizegi», or «Perozaa». Mesues uses in «in electuario de gemmis», as Garcias «ab horto» has observed.
Those Turquoises that are of the bigness of a silberd, and have an excellent color like unto a serene sky, and not at all obscured with any black veins, are sold for two hundred crowns a piece and more. The breads of the body of December Birthstone does appoint the price. That which is of the exact color of «verdegrase», or like unto a serene sky, without any black veins, in excellent. (Anselm.Boet.p.137.c.17).
December Birthstone as a Mineral, Turquoise Varieties & Value
There is another stone called Turquoise—generally Occidental Turquoise—which Professor Nicols (Thomas Nicols, lived in XVII c.) treats as rather an imitation, than a genuine Turquoise. It is supposed to consist of fossil, antediluvian teeth, colored by hydrated copper-oxide or phosphate of iron.
«The principal localities of December Birthstone are certain portions of Siberia and France. December Birthstone color is light-blue, or dark-blue, or bluish-green. It is easily distinguished from the Oriental species by being internally foliated and streaked—a fact indicating a bony composition—and by its not taking so high a polish.
The blue specimens of December Birthstone often turn pale or green with age, but their color may frequently be restored by scraping them and putting them in hot ashes, and then subjecting them to a new polish. MM. Duhamel and Guettard proved many years sago that the bones of animals could be colored by making them eat madder.
The Oriental December Birthstone Turquoise takes a fine polish and is so highly valued in the East, as an ornamental stone, that the Persian Shah retains the best specimens for his own use.
Both kinds are used for numerous purposes in Jewelry, such as for rings, brooches, etc., as also for mounting other precious gems.
The price of the December Birthstone has greatly fallen within the last century. The Oriental is generally four times higher than that of the Occidental.
There is said to be a Jeweler in Moscow, who presses a Turquoise two inches long, formerly belonging to Nadir, the Shah of Persia, who wore it as an amulet. He values it at 5.000 rubles.
In the Museum of the Imperial Academy at Moscow is a Turquoise more than three inches long and one inch broad, And among the Imperial Treasures at Moscow is a throne covered with gold and studded with two thousands Turquoises».
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