December Frost

English Art Deco Vase by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian with Bas Relief Diamond Pattern and Jade-Speckled Turquoise Glazing (LEO Design)

Although winter is still three weeks away, one wouldn't know that by looking outside my door!  I was greeted this morning with four inches of snow and a 28º chill.  Neither the cold nor the snow stopped all day long. Already I'm asking myself, "How am I going to make it through the winter (once it comes)?"

Today is the First of December—a month whose birthstone is the turquoise.  Turquoise has been prized for thousands of years—first by the Egyptians, then the Chinese and the Persians, later the Aztecs, and eventually the Native Americans of the Southwest United States.  The name derives from the French word for "Turks"—for it was through Turkey that the first turquoise came to Europe from Persian (Iranian) mines.  The Persians used the stone for important decoration in architecture and objets. They created celebrated ceramics and tilework glazed in a glorious "Persian Turquoise" hue, a color which represented "Heaven on Earth."

The waxy turquoise stone—which derives its color from copper, aluminum and iron—is usually opaque and often includes inclusions (or other impurities) which give the stone additional rugged character (such as flecks or veining).

The Art Deco vase shown above, made in England around 1930, is glazed in a cool turquoise seasoned with jade green flecking. An energetic bas relief diamond pattern pulses under the glaze. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248