Unlike the red and green theme that is prevalent during the month of December, those born in the last month of the year have three blue-hued birthstones to choose from. Most traditionalists will opt for turquoise, a mostly opaque blue-green gem often lined with veins consisting of the rock it was formed in. More modern styling would be tanzanite, a velvety bluish-purple gemstone with a rich and vibrant appearance. The third option, zircon, has many color varieties to choose from. However, blue zircon is the color most related to December. There is quite a range of history and tradition among these options. From turquoise who was celebrated as far back as ancient Egypt and China, to tanzanite which was not discovered in abundance until 1962. Whatever your preference, all three are gorgeous selections that you can be proud to wear.
Turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon are all relatively affordable, and lend themselves well to larger jewelry pieces, but are equally exquisite in smaller settings. In addition to being December birthstones, they are also anniversary gemstones. The 11th-anniversary gemstone is turquoise, zircon is the 22nd, and tanzanite is the perfect gift for the 24th. However, their loveliness can be appreciated by all, whether born in December or not.
Turquoise has mesmerized for many thousands of years. King Tut was buried with turquoise adorning his funerary mask. It is worn even today by modern royalty such as the Duchess of Windsor. Tibet considers turquoise to be a national treasure that grants the wearer health, good fortune, and protection from evil. In the United States, turquoise is an important aspect of Native American culture and is often tied to the southwest where it is commonly mined. In the United States, Arizona and New Mexico are the largest sources. Rating five to six on the Mohs Hardness Scale, it can be dyed or chemically enhanced to improve hardness. High heat should be avoided, as well as acids, chemicals, some cosmetics. Warm, soapy water is ideal, and they should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Tanzanite, named for its country-of-origin Tanzania is a deep and saturated rich blue to violet color. Originally called zoisite, the name was eventually changed. In fact, the Mere Lani Hills of northern Tanzania are the world’s only commercial source. The mines are near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Though harder than turquoise, high temperatures and sudden temperature changes can crack the stone. It is also susceptible to acids. Ultrasonic cleaners should, likewise, never be used. Tiffany & Co., believing in its beauty became the main distributor, and soon realized that the gem was a hit, and it continues to be today.
Zircon is another long-standing and highly appreciated gemstone. The Hindus believed it to protect the wearer from danger and promote wisdom and good health. In the Middle Ages, many thought it would lull one to sleep and ward off evil spirits. Sri Lanka is the primary source of zircon with Australia being another area it is commonly found. Blue zircon is the typical birthstone color, which has developed in part thanks to the wide appreciation of blue zircon during the period. Zircon can be heat-treated which produces blue and colorless varieties, however prolonged exposure to bright light can reduce the effect. It is relatively strong against chemicals but wearing it during manual work is not recommended. Zircon should also not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner, but with a mild soap. It is important to note that zircon is often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia because of its similar name and the fact that both are used as diamond substitutes.
There’s no reason to be blue about these incredible December birthstone options. All three are elegant and exciting, vibrant, and colorful, and widely loved. At Paffrath and Son Jewelers in Willmar, MN, we have a beautiful selection of December gem pieced to choose from. With our in-house custom jewelry service, we can also create the exact custom ring, pendant, earrings, or bracelet you’ve been dreaming of. Happy birthday to all our friends and neighbors celebrating their birth this month. We hope you’ll stop by and consider us for your next jewelry purchase.