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Discover the Mystique of the December Birthstone: Turquoise, Tanzanite, & Zircon Explained

Discover the Mystique of the December Birthstone: Turquoise, Tanzanite, & Zircon Explained

What are the enchanting stones that represent December birthdays? You're in the right place if you’re curious about your birthstone or searching for a perfect December birthday gift. December is graced with not one but three fascinating birthstones: turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon. Beyond their shared hue of captivating blue, each stone has its own tales, symbolism, and charm that have fascinated people for centuries. This article reveals the unique aspects of these gemstones and offers insights into selecting and caring for December birthstone jewelry.

Key Takeaways

  • December’s birthstones, turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon, have unique qualities and histories, reflecting different shades of blue and embodying the winter season.

  • Turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon are appreciated for their beauty and geographical origins, cultural significance, and protective properties, as told by ancient lore.

  • Proper care and handling are essential for maintaining the longevity of December birthstone jewelry; alternative lab-grown stones offer ethical and affordable options for consumers.

The Allure of December's Birthstones

Various blue december birthstone gems including turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of December’s birthstones. Turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon each have unique characteristics, history, and significance, contributing to their mystical allure. These beautiful stones, in varying shades of blue, reflect the striking hues of December’s birthstones, perfectly capturing the spirit of the winter season.

Each stone has a story to tell, a story that is as timeless as the gemstones themselves. Whether in a birthstone ring, a necklace, or a pair of earrings, these gemstones always make a statement.

Turquoise: The Timeless Treasure

Turquoise jewelry with intricate designs

Turquoise, with its distinct robin’s egg blue colour, is one of the oldest gemstones, playing a significant role in the cultures of ancient Egypt, China, and Native Americans. Its timeless appeal is evident in its use in jewelry and ceremonial practices, symbolizing good fortune and protection. Intricately carved or fashioned into chunky pendants, turquoise is as versatile in design as it is rich in history.

Its colour, ranging from robin egg blue to greenish hues, is attributed to the presence of copper and, to a lesser extent, iron. The beauty of turquoise, along with its protective qualities, makes it a timeless treasure.

Tanzanite: The Rare Gemstone

Exquisite tanzanite gemstone with violet-blue color

Discovered in 1967 in the Merelani Hills of northern Tanzania, tanzanite is a relative newcomer to the gemstone stage. Yet, its vibrant violet-blue colour and rarity have propelled it to stardom in the gemstone world. Initially mistaken for sapphire, tanzanite was soon identified as a distinct variety of the mineral zoisite.

It’s not just a December birthstone; it’s also associated with the 24th wedding anniversary. Its rarity and unique geographical presence make tanzanite truly a gem among gems.

Zircon: The Ancient Stone with Modern Appeal

Ancient zircon gemstone with historical significance

Zircon, an ancient stone with a modern appeal, showcases its versatility with a rainbow of colours, including blue stones like blue zircon, often compared to London Blue topaz, Swiss Blue topaz, and even colorless zircon. Among these blue stones, Persian Blue and sky blue hues are highly sought after, as well as violet hues:

  • Blue

  • Brown

  • Green

  • Orange

  • Yellow

  • Clear

The gem’s fiery brilliance and rich colour palette have earned it a prominent place in jewelry designs since the Victorian era. The name ‘zircon’ itself echoes its vibrant persona, potentially derived from the Arabic ‘zarkun’, meaning ‘cinnabar’ or ‘vermilion’, or the Persian ‘zargun’, meaning ‘gold colored’.

Treated with heat to enhance its colour since the 1920s, zircon continues to captivate jewelry enthusiasts with its modern appeal and ancient charm.

Origins and Locations of December's Birthstones

 

Raw turquoise from a Chinese turquoise mining site

Knowing the origins and locations of these December birthstones can add an extra layer of appreciation when wearing or gifting them. Turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon have distinct geographical origins, each contributing to their unique allure. Trace the fascinating journey these gemstones take from their natural habitats to become the sparkling pieces of jewelry we admire.

Turquoise Formation and Mining

Formed as a secondary mineral during the weathering and oxidation of pre-existing minerals, turquoise has found its major producers in China and the United States. The mining process is labour-intensive, with deposits usually found in arid regions around copper sulphide deposits. While Native American Indians originally found turquoise in the Southwestern regions, the demand for this beautiful stone led to the opening of additional mines in:

  • Arizona

  • Nevada

  • New Mexico

  • Colorado

Today, however, most of these mines are closed, leaving China as the world’s largest producer of turquoise.

tanzanite crystal

Tanzanite's Unique Geographical Presence

Tanzanite’s exclusivity is not just in its striking violet-blue colour but also in its geographical presence - it is found only in Tanzania. The mining area for tanzanite is restricted to approximately eight square miles, further exemplifying the stone’s scarcity. The mining process is complex and time-consuming, with the gemstones now being mined in tunnels about 1000 meters beneath the surface.

The very specificity of its geographical presence enhances the allure of tanzanite, making it a gemstone that is as rare as it is beautiful.

Zircon's Global Distribution

zircon specimen

Unlike tanzanite, zircon has a wider global distribution, with notable deposits in countries including:

  • Australia

  • Brazil

  • Sri Lanka

  • Madagascar

  • South Africa

  • Norway

  • India

  • United States

Zircon naturally occurs in various geological settings, showcasing its robust geological presence. From the granitic rocks of Norway to the blue and green zircon gemstones of Sri Lanka, the global spread of zircon adds to its charm and appeal.

Symbolism and Lore Surrounding December's Birthstones

The mystique of December’s birthstones extends beyond their physical beauty, journeying into the realm of symbolism and lore. Turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon are not just stones; they carry ancient beliefs and symbolic meanings, imbued with protective and spiritual properties.

Time to unravel these fascinating narratives.

Turquoise: Protection and Good Fortune

one of the three december birthstones - turquoise

Turquoise has been cherished for thousands of years for its protective powers. Believed to guard against injuries from falls, particularly off horses, and seen as an effective treatment for various ailments, turquoise was a talisman of protection in many ancient cultures.

Beyond its protective qualities, it has also been revered as a stone of good fortune. Its distinctive colour, reminiscent of a robin’s egg blue sky, inspired mystical associations, making turquoise a symbol of hope and a talisman against evil. In this context, a turquoise ring means a powerful and positive symbol for the wearer.

Tanzanite: Intuition and Spiritual Growth

shopping for tanzanite for sale

Tanzanite is not just a gemstone; it’s a tool for spiritual exploration. Believed to unite the mind and heart, tanzanite promotes living from a compassionate heart with an illumined mind. Its pleochroistic nature, showing different colours from different angles, symbolizes the multiple dimensions of our perception and enriches our spiritual insight.

Zircon: Wisdom and Prosperity

blue zircon cut stone

Believed to possess grounding properties, protect travellers, and induce sound sleep, zircon was a revered stone in the Middle Ages. It was also considered a remedy for relieving pain and a talisman against evil spirits.

Beyond its protective qualities, zircon was considered a ‘Stone of Virtue’ that helped individuals feel more physically, emotionally, and spiritually balanced.

December Birthstone Jewelry Styles and Trends

The allure of December’s birthstone is not just in its individual beauty or symbolism but in how it is transformed into stunning jewelry pieces. Turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon, which are December’s birthstones, are incorporated into various jewelry styles and trends, from statement pieces to minimalist designs.

Time to examine these jewelry trends.

Turquoise Jewelry Designs

Turquoise jewelry designs are as versatile as the gemstone itself. Whether it’s bold statement rings, edgy earcuffs adorned with turquoise stones, or boho-chic necklaces featuring turquoise beads, there’s a design to suit every style.

Small, discreet turquoise stones featured in minimalist designs cater to those who appreciate subtle elegance. In contrast, layered necklaces with various Turkish stone shapes and sizes offer a more personalized style option.

Tanzanite Jewelry Trends

Tanzanite's vivid colour and high clarity have made it a popular choice in jewelry designs. Investment-grade pieces, known for their fine colour, clarity, and exceptional cutting, are particularly sought after.

Tanzanite’s stable price per carat across different sizes makes it an exceptional choice for those looking to invest in larger gemstones without incurring exponential cost increases.

Zircon Jewelry Styles

Zircon jewelry offers an array of styles for the discerning jewelry enthusiast. From statement pieces and cocktail designs to engagement rings, zircon caters to a wide range of styles. Its compatibility with various metal settings, including gold, platinum, and silver, makes it even more appealing.

Whether you prefer lavish and intricate designs or understated elegance, cubic zirconia has a style to suit your taste.

Caring for Your December Birthstone Jewelry

Caring for your December birthstone jewelry is crucial to maintaining its longevity and brilliance. Each gemstone - turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon - requires specific care techniques to ensure they retain their allure over time.

Dive into the care techniques for these gemstones.

Turquoise Care and Maintenance

how to care for turquoise jewelry

Being a relatively soft gemstone, turquoise requires careful handling. It should be cleaned with warm, soapy water, avoiding extremes of heat and harsh cleaning methods such as steam or ultrasonic cleaners. To prevent damage, removing turquoise jewelry before using cosmetics is advisable.

Proper storage is equally important - turquoise pieces should be stored separately, wrapped in a soft cloth or placed in a fabric-lined box to prevent scratches from harder gemstones.

Tanzanite Cleaning and Precautions

Tanzanite requires gentle cleaning using a soft cloth and mild soap solution, followed by thorough rinsing with water to remove any soap residue. Ultrasonic cleaners should be avoided, which can cause damage due to the gemstone’s relative softness. To prevent damage or colour alterations, protecting tanzanite from sudden temperature changes and harsh chemicals is essential.

When not being worn, tanzanite jewelry should be stored separately from other jewelry in a soft cloth or a padded container.

Zircon Preservation Techniques

Regular cleaning is essential to maintaining the brilliance and sparkle of zircon jewelry. Here are some tips for cleaning your zircon jewelry:

  1. Use a soft brush and mild soap in warm water to clean your zircon jewelry.

  2. Avoid using ultrasonic and steam cleaners, as they can cause damage to the stone.

  3. Do not expose your zircon jewelry to harsh chemicals and cleaning agents, which can dull its lustre.

By following these cleaning tips, you can keep your zircon jewelry looking beautiful for years to come.

To prevent scratching, zircon jewelry should be stored separately from other jewelry, particularly away from harder gemstones.

Lab-Grown Alternatives: Ethical and Affordable Options

In today’s era of ethical consciousness, lab-grown alternatives to natural gemstones offer an affordable and environmentally friendly option. Discover the world of lab-created turquoise, synthetic tanzanite imitations, and lab-created zircon.

Lab-Grown Turquoise

Lab-grown turquoise offers an environmentally friendly alternative to natural turquoise. Produced in a controlled environment replicating the natural formation process, lab-grown turquoise has the same chemical structure as its natural counterpart. They are used in jewelry and decorative items like ornaments, sculptures, and wall fittings, extending their appeal beyond the realm of jewelry.

Synthetic Tanzanite Imitations

While synthetic tanzanite imitations do not fully emulate the naturally found gemstone's specific chemical and physical attributes, they successfully mimic its appearance. High-quality synthetic tanzanite can be very convincing, making it visually challenging to distinguish from authentic tanzanite without expert analysis. These synthetic imitations are created through various processes, including hydrothermal, flux-growth, and Verneuil methods.

Lab-Created Zircon

Lab-created zircon is more affordable and ethical than its natural counterpart. Lab-created zircon offers higher purity and quality due to fewer defects and less evidence of stress within its crystal structure. It is a brilliant choice for those conscious of both budget and environment.

Summary

turquoise tanzanite and zircon are all december birthstones

In this fascinating journey through the world of December’s birthstones - turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon - we have unravelled their unique allure, rich history, and symbolic significance. We’ve delved into their geological origins, explored the captivating designs they are transformed into, and learned about caring for these precious gemstones. We also looked at affordable and ethical alternatives in the form of lab-created gemstones. So, whether it’s a birthstone ring, a necklace, or a pair of earrings, these gemstones will always add a touch of mystique and timeless elegance to your jewelry collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does December have 2 birthstones?

Yes, December has two birthstones, which are Zircon and Turquoise. Zircon, Tanzanite, and Turquoise.

What is the best December birthstone?

The best December birthstones are blue zircon, blue topaz, tanzanite, lapis lazuli, and turquoise. Blue zircon, blue topaz, and tanzanite are modern choices, while lapis lazuli and turquoise are traditional options.

What is December's birthstone colour called?

The December birthstone colour is called turquoise, a semi-translucent to opaque gem ranging from blue to green and often has veins of matrix running through it. Turquoise has been cherished for millennia.

Why does December have multiple birthstones?

December has multiple birthstones, including zircon, turquoise, and tanzanite, to provide more affordable options for individuals born in this month. Tanzanite was added as a third birthstone option in October 2002.

What are the birthstones for December?

The birthstones for December are turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon, offering a range of beautiful options for those born in this month.

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