Obituary: Moira Cohen (1940-2020)
How to describe Moira? It is difficult to convey the…
Turquoise is the birthstone of December.
It is one of the first ever gemstones to be mined and has long been prized for its intense colour. It is a widely available stone, however it is rarely found in its pure, natural form.
Turquoise is perhaps the oldest stone in man’s history. It is a stone of protection, strong and opaque. Its unique shade of blue, often blue-green, lends it name to all things of this tranquil hue. The delicate veining or mottled webbing in cream or brown is inherent to the stone and serves to enhance its character. It is a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality and for power, luck, and protection.
An antique, Swiss Cantons bracelet, with the Cantons represented by portraits of ladies in national costume, in painted enamel; set with rubies, turquoise, hessonite garnet, amethyst, aquamarine, rock crystal and peridot; mounted in gold. Each Canton is named, on the back, in gold on white enamel: Zurich, Berne, Lucerne, Uri, Schvitz, Unterv’d, Zug, Glaris, Fribo’g, Soleure, circa 1835. £20,000
Beads dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in Iraq, and the Egyptians were mining this stone in the Sinai in 3200 B.C. The death mask of Tutankhamun was studded with this gemstone, as were the mosaic masks dedicated to the gods, the fabulous inlaid skulls, shields and power statues of Moctezuma, the last ruler of the Aztecs.
A brooch, by Sterlé, with a coral carving, depicting a young child holding a dog, standing in front of a gold tree, set with turquoise and jadeite beads, representing fruit, mounted in gold, with a French eagle head mark for 18ct gold, maker’s mark ‘SC’, circa 1955 £7,750
For nearly a thousand years, Native Americans have mined and fashioned Turquoise, using it to guard their burial sites. Their gems have been found from Argentina to New Mexico. Indian priests wore it in ceremonies when calling upon the great spirit of the sky.
A pair of Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. black onyx and turquoise cufflinks, with turquoise studded black onyx spheres, on 18ct gold, signed Schlumberger and Tiffany & Co., stamped 18K, circa 1960. £5,350
Many honoured Turquoise as the universal stone, believing their minds would become one with the universe when wearing it. Because of its ability to change colours, it was used in prophesy or divining. To the prehistoric Indian, Turquoise, worn on the body or used in ceremonies always signified the god of the sky alive in the earth.
A hard stone blackamoor cameo pendant, with a rose-cut diamond set earring and necklace. With a black and white enamelled, engraved gold and turquoise set surround. Marked SR on the back. Circa 1870 £14,000
In the workplace, Turquoise promotes leadership, assists relocation or regular travel associated with career, and helps avoid unwise investments. It helps overcome writer’s block, and is a stone of clear communication when giving information; an especially good amulet for those who work in the law, or for local or central government.
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