December’s Birthstone -Turquoise

December’s Birthstone: Turquoise
Alternate Stones: Tanzanite & Zircon
Zodiac stones
Sagittarius November 23- December 2: Turquoise
Capricorn December 22-January 20: Garnet
The 11th Anniversary stone


Turquoise Beads

Like many gemstones, turquoise comes in a variety of colors, from nearly white, through light blues, to deep sky or robin’s egg blue to earthy greens and yellow. Native Americans described it as ‘fallen sky stone’ and many domed roofs in Iran are sheathed in turquoise symbolizing ‘heaven on earth’. Bright sky blue with no inclusions, and consistent color is highly prized. Turquoise gets its name from a French translation of Pierre tourques meaning stone from Turkey.  Turquoise is a cryptocrystalline mineral that very rarely forms in a crystal shape. It is formed over time by the percolating of acidic solutions of weathered minerals and metals like copper, aluminum, and phosphorus. It measures a 6 on the Mohs’ scale, therefore turquoise is a softer stone so is often shaped into cabochons, beads and extensively used in inlay.

Turquoise was one of the first stones to be mined, Turkey and Persia (now Iran) were traditional sources of European turquoise. These sources are now depleted and only mined seasonally by small family ventures. The larger deposits of commercial turquoise are found in the southwest of the US, primarily, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Different colors and qualities are produced in each area, leading to distinct types of turquoise names, Kingman, Sleeping Beauty, or Bisbee. Arid regions are associated with turquoise deposits; mines exist in China, Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, and northern India.

Turquoise beads.

Turquoise beads.

Turquoise has long been associated with treatments applied to enhance the color and durability of the stone. In Egypt the desire for a more durable blue colored material lead to the development of faience, a glaze for pottery and a precursor to glass. Turquoise may be stabilized to enhance lower grade more fractured material and dyed to improve the color.  Simple oiled or waxed treatments are considered acceptable since it has a very low impact on the stone. Reconstituted material, ground fine then added to resin and re-cut after hardening is the lowest grade. Synthetic Gilson turquoise from the 1970’s is even collectible!

Reputed to take on the persona of the person who wears it, turquoise is often associated with truth and wisdom, in many cultures it is also a stone of success.Turquoise may help with symptoms of rheumatism gout, stomach issues, and viruses. Increases growth, anti-inflammatory and a detoxifier. Especially noted as a protection against falls.  It is a stone of protection, worn by warriors, kings and shamans.

Using Turquoise in your jewelry designs-

Depending on the color of turquoise chosen there are many stones that work well with the blue-green color stones. Native Americans mix turquoise with other opaque stones, like coral, malachite, onyx, sugilite, and lapis. The most common metal for mixing with turquoise is silver, both bright and oxidized. Bright blue stones would be striking wire wrapped on gold wire, or mixed with pyrite, golden pearls or amber. Olive green or heavily veined beads would lovely added to a darker brown stone like tiger’s eye.

July’s Birthstone -Ruby

July Birthstone: Ruby
Ancient birthstones: Turquoise, Onyx
Zodiac Sign: Cancer June 21 – July 22
Zodiac Stone: Emerald
15th and 40th Anniversary stone

Smooth and faceted ruby beads.

Smooth and faceted ruby beads.

Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide mineral, with chromium responsible for its rich, red color. Rubies are harder than all other stones except diamond; registering a 9.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. As a durable stone it is suitable for everyday wear and set in a variety of jewelry, such as rings, pendants and earrings. Ruby beads are usually made from stones that have lower transparency but still show the medium red to slightly purplish red that is most desired. Large size rubies are especially rare. They are highly sought after and come from the mining areas of Burma and Thailand.

Rubies are a stone of passion; as the red color signifies the rule of the heart, wear rubies as a guard against psychic attacks and overly amorous desires. Rubies are said to cure bleeding and make warriors brave and invincible.

Turquoise beads.

Turquoise beads.

For those looking for a different take on the traditional, the ancient birthstones for July, turquoise and onyx, offer radically different colors. Sky blue turquoise has been sought after from ancient times, in the Middle East to the Americas. The blue color can range from a bright shade of blue to green depending on the copper content. Turquoise is a softer stone and usually cut for cabochons or beads. Onyx is a black version of chalcedony, sometimes variegated with stripes, it is prized for cutting both faceted and carved stones for jewelry. Usually dyed to enhance the dark color, black onyx takes a fine polish for a highly reflective surface.

Onyx beads.

Onyx beads.

Using rubies, turquoise and onyx in your jewelry adds so many options! The red of rubies works well with the warmth of gold, so mixing with gold beads is a sure bet. As rubies can be colored into the reddish purple color range adding a cool color like gray pearls may be a good match. Turquoise blends well across the color wheel, looking wonderful with the orange-red of coral or carnelian, and also with its closer neighbors like the cool-green amazonite. Traditional Native American’s use turquoise with silver, but mix in gold for a striking contrast. Onyx beads have a marvelous rich black color, a modern mix of color might be to mix them with opaque white agate, or with striped onyx beads. Black pearls and onyx would present a subtle mix, with the nacre of the pearls in contrast with the gloss of onyx.

DIY -Turquoise & Wasp Leather Cuff

Turquoise + Wasp Leather Cuff


This simple to make cuff bracelet will make the perfect accessory with a summer dress or jeans and a tee shirt.   (can you tell I’m fantasizing about summer time already?)

To get started you will need:
Leather Blank (Baubles and Beads has these in store only, call for ordering info)
4mm round beads, I used turquoise beads here, but any material would work
C-Lon Thread in Gold
Brass Button, the button I chose has a shank on the back.  One with 2 or four holes would also work
Brass Wasp

Hole Punch

Thread Snips


Super Glue

1.  Using the hole punch, punch holes on the edge of the leather about a centimeter apart. Be careful not to get too close to the edge!

2.  Cut approx. 1 yard of C-lon thread.  I like to put super glue on one inch of the thread to make it easier to pull through the leather (cheater needle!)

3.  Tie the C-lon in a square knot in the first hole in the leather.  Dab with super glue and cut the tail off.

*if your holes are too tight to pull the thread through easily then you can use your awl to widen them*

4.  Using a whip stitch, sew through the holes in the leather, sliding on a bead each time your thread is on the top on the leather.


Repeat until both sides of the leather are beaded.

5.  Now its time to add the button!  Using the hole punch, punch two holes on one end of the leather.  *be sure to check the sizing on your wrist before you decide where to place the button*

6.  Using the C-Lon thread, sew through the leather and button shank several times and then tie a knot on the back of the leather.  Dab the knot with super glue and trim tails.

7.  On the other side of the leather strip cut a button hole.  Use the hole punch to start your hole, then using the thread snips open the hole up just as large as it needs to be to fit over the button.


8.  To add the wasp, use hole punch and punch two holes, one in each wing.

9.  Place the wasp in the middle of the leather cuff and use an awl to mark where you will need to punch holes.  Then remove the wasp and punch out the holes.


    10.  Using C-lon, make a stitch through each hole and around the wasp’s body, tying knots in the back and securing with super glue before trimming extra thread.



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