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jade newThis is a lovely hand-carved pendant of natural Nephrite Jade from New Zealand. Maori designs carved in jade are steeped in religious and spiritual belief. They tell stories of ancestors long lost, depict spirits from the heavens, earth, and underworld, show historical lineage and paint images of the natural world that surround and surrounded them. They are no doubt beautiful, but they’re more than a form of art. For Maori they create a strong connection with their ancestors and the natural world they live in. It was believed by Maori that as a carving was worn against the skin it absorbed some of that person's essence. As carvings were passed down through the family they absorbed essence from each family member, creating a direct ancestral connection through the necklace itself. This is one reason why Maori design is so special, it is more than just an art form.

This special piece measures approx. 70 mm long (approx.. 2 3/4") x approx. 35 mm. (just shy of 1 1/2") at its widest point. Thickness is approx. 3 mm. Hole at top for hanging is approx. 2 1/2 mm. wide.

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turquoise pendantSince it's cold outside this December here in Santa Fe, New Mexico (in the 20's or so), and since this is one of the primary 'lands' of Turquoise, this month's birthstone is perfect to feature today.  (Also see our previous blog post called 'Dawn Wink on Turquoise'.)  Here's the last of the monthly Gregorian Calendar poems featured in this series on birthstones:

If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate'er you do.

Not a bad 'fortune' for those with December birthdays!  Turquoise is said to encourage self-forgiveness and the release of useless regrets -- a wonderful exercise in preparation for the new year. 

Turquoise is a copper aluminum phosphate mineral; its striking blue color is actually caused by the copper.  The meaning of the name is "Turkish stone".  Traders brought the stone, originally found in Turkish bazaars, to Europe -- way back in the 16th century.  And there is evidence that it was also mined in Sinai, Egypt and China, as far back as 8,000 years ago in some cases.  Today, Turquoise is also found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania, Turkistan, and England. 

There are many types of Turquoise; many have a matrix or speckled pattern, as shown in this example from our site.  In the Southwest, you will often see it paired beautifully with silver, as well as other semi-precious stones. 



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