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Orthoceras ("straight horn") is a genus of a now-extinct nautiloid cephalopod -- a once living, shell like organism. Each stone is polished to better reveal their lovely black and grey and off-white hues, and the vertebrae structure is clear as shown in the photos.
This set is predrilled (front to back) and ready for stringing into a matched necklace/earring set, or for use separately. The largest stone is approx. 39 x 24 mm., with an approx. 2 mm. hole. The two smaller ones are slightly different in size -- the smallest at approx. 34 x 14 mm., the larger at approx. 40 x 15 mm. The hole in this latter pendant (40 x 15 mm. one) is slightly chipped. Each of the smaller pendants has an approx. 1 mm. hole.

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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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