December Birthstones: Turquoise, Zircon, & Tanzanite

December Birthstones: Turquoise, Zircon, & Tanzanite

Birthstones gemstones

Birthstones are part of a long-standing tradition. Each month has a connection to specific gemstones, and many people enjoy adding birthstone jewelry to their collection of accessories. As a result, many people also consider jewelry featuring birthstones to be excellent gifts.

If you were born in December or have a friend or family member with a December birthday, finding December birthstone jewelry might be on your agenda. Here’s a look at the birthstone for December.

What is the December Birthstone?

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Turquoise - By Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

There isn’t a single December gemstone. Instead, there are three. Tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise are all associated with the month.

Out of those three options, the traditional December birthstone is likely turquoise. It has had a more extended connection as a December gemstone than tanzanite and zircon. In fact, zircon replaced lapis as a birthstone for December in 1952. Tanzanite was added to the list in 2002. However, all three of the options are currently recognized, so you can consider each one to be a December stone.

If you’re looking for the perfect piece of December gemstone jewelry, then you might want to consider the symbolism behind the options. Some think turquoise is a protective stone, as was the belief in ancient Persia and many southwest Native American tribes.

Some folk wisdom also suggests that December birthstone meaning for zircon involves protection, especially for travellers. Others associate it with good sleep, wisdom, prosperity, and honor.

Due to its coloring – which aligns with the Brow Chakra – some believe that tanzanite represents intuition. It’s also said to be protective, and some think that it’s even soothing.

However, there’s no proof that any stone can affect the wearer. Still, it can be a method for choosing a December stone if you can’t decide based on appearance alone.

What is the December Birthstone Color?

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Tanzanite Crystal - By Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

For traditional December birthstone options, the color is usually a shade of blue. Tanzanite is typically a shade of indigo, which is a cross between blue and purple. It’s technically a variety of the zoisite mineral that has trace amounts of vanadium mixed in. It’s the vanadium that creates the unique coloring.

Additionally, tanzanite is affected by pleochroism. When viewed from different angles, the color can seem to shift. As a result, tanzanite birthstone gems have to be carefully cut. Otherwise, the stone can take on a brown hue that isn’t considered desirable.

For the turquoise birthstone, the coloring can vary between a light blue and light green, though you’ll also find vibrant robin’s egg blue options, too. In some cases, a turquoise stone contains a matrix, pieces of host rock that looks like dark webbing or patches. Usually, it’s cut into cabochons or is simply tumbled to make the surface smooth.

While the other two December stones are typically a shade of blue, what most consider the December stone color, zircon comes in an array of colors. The zircon birthstone variant for December is a vibrant blue to a teal color.

December Birthstone Jewelry

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Blue Zircon - By DonGuennie - G-Empire The World of Gems - Die Welt der Edelsteine CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

When it comes to December birthstone jewelry, you are usually spoiled with options. Since tanzanite and blue zircon are typically cut and faceted, you may find them in a range of shapes, including round, oval, pear, emerald, heart, and princess cuts. However, you can occasionally find a tanzanite cabochon or blue zircon cabochon around, though they are significantly less common.

For turquoise, you’ll usually find cabochons or tumbled and polished stones. Since turquoise isn’t transparent, faceting it isn’t typically done. However, it is a softer stone, so you may find carved options on occasion.

When it comes to supporting metals, you’ll usually find options in gold, white gold, and silver for both tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon. In some cases, platinum may even be available, though that isn’t as common.

In any case, finding birthstone jewelry for December is pretty easy. They are all popular stones. However, you might not see as much turquoise jewelry at traditional jewelry stores.

As far as cost, it can vary quite a bit. Tanzanite is considered somewhat rare, but it is still less expensive in most cases than many other stones, including sapphires and diamonds. The same goes for blue zircon. However, in either case, the size, clarity, cut, and coloring of the stones do play a role in the cost, so there are some high-dollar tanzanite and zircon jewelry pieces around.

With turquoise, the cost can also vary dramatically. Whether there is a matrix, the shade of the stone, and the size of the piece are factors. But it is genuinely considered modestly priced overall, especially in comparison to many other popular gemstones.

Stones Similar to the December Birthstones

A wide range of stones can resemble the various December birthstones. Tanzanite and blue sapphires can look very similar. In some cases, amethyst can have a coloring that is close to tanzanite.

Blue Topaz December birthstone jewelry is also a common substitute for blue zircon. The look can be incredibly similar, particularly the London Blue topaz, making it a suitable alternative to a traditional December birthstone. Aquamarine, blue tourmaline, and blue spinel might also make reasonable stand-ins for zircon.

If you’re looking for a substitute for turquoise, howlite can be a good choice. Turquoise howlite has a very similar look. Plus, it is usually much less expensive than genuine turquoise.


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