Those born in December have the choice of 3 different birthstones – turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite. Their color is similar but in dissimilar hues. From the multicolored variations of zircon to the concentrated green and blue of turquoise to tanzanite’s bluish-purple, all December birthstone enthusiasts are catered for in terms of color.
If blue is your favorite color, then you will enjoy the unique hue of each one of them.[toc]
The three December birthstones are without a doubt among the most precious stones to spring from the earth’s core. If you were born in December, you will adorn them.
Regardless of your budget, stylishness or shade preference, here are some December birthstones you can choose.
December Birthstones #1 – Tanzanite
In the world of colored stones, Tanzanite is a relative newcomer. Nonetheless, it was among the most exciting and good-looking gem discoveries of the twentieth century.
Meaning and history
In 1962, blue stones that appeared in Tanzania were identified by miners as the mineral zoisite. It was not until 1967 that prospectors located the major source of this stone, the Merelani Hills.
In honor of its country of origin, the stone was named tanzanite. Often, many people describe it a ‘’velvety’’ mainly because of its saturated and deep color that ranges from violet to a pure rich blue. The blue one is considered the most prized.
Some years back, Tiffany & Co. held that this stone boasted global appeal. Consequently, the company became tanzanite’s chief distributor. In 1968, the company launched an aggressive campaign to promote it.
With the stone’s high clarity and vivid colors, tanzanite became a sensation quickly. Currently, in addition to being a birthstone for December, it also a 24th nuptial anniversary gemstone.
As aforementioned, the only place in the world where tanzanite is mined commercially is at the foot of Merelani Hills in the northern part of Tanzania.
Trees, rocky soil, scrub brush, and grass-covered hillsides characterize the local landscape. In the main automated operations in the area, thousands of miners recover this stone from mines dug more than 100 meters deep into the ground. The snow-covered sloped of Mt. Kilimanjaro tower the northern part of the mines.
Care and cleaning
Tanzanite falls on the 6 – 7 range on Mohs scale of hardness. It is resistant to the effects of common chemicals, light, and heat. This birthstone might crack if you expose it sudden temperature changes or high temperatures. It abrades easily. Hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids can gravely harm this stone.
Tanzanite starts as brownish zoisite which is heat-treated to produce violet to blue hues that characterize it. The resultant color is permanent. There aren’t any additional durability concerns.
This December birthstone is set best in pendants or earrings. While it is not recommended for day-to-day wear in a ring, with some care and protective mounting, it can certainly turn out to be a highly attractive special-occasion jewel.
The best way to clean it is with soap and warm water. Steam and ultrasonic cleaners aren’t recommended for the tanzanite birthstone.
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Tanzanite buyer guide
Tanzanite refers to color quality coupled with its degree of saturation. A color’s depth ranges from exceptional to pale, with ‘’V’’ or ‘B’ indicating predominance of violet or blue hues.
Clarity is simply any natural inclusion in this December stone. Properties of tanzanite range from heavily included to internally fluorescent.
Carat is a term that refers to the measure of this stone’s weight. The weight of one carat is a fifth of a gram. One carat is split into one hundred points.
Every tanzanite jewelry or gemstone must have a certificate of authenticity. The certificate shows or is a guarantee that the stone you are buying is not only of high quality but is also conflict-free and appropriately priced.
When choosing a gemstone, there are different shapes to select from. Some of the most common ones are:
December Birthstones #2 – Turquoise
Turquoise is a semi-translucent to an opaque gem that ranges from green to blue. Often, it features veins of matrix running through it.
Meaning and history
For millennia, many people have cherished it. Rulers of ancient Egypt including the pharaohs adorned themselves with this birthstone. The Chinese artisans carved it over 3000 years ago.
In those days, people believed the turquoise birthstone possessed numerous beneficial powers such as guaranteeing good fortune and health. From the 13th century and moving forward, folks believed the stone protected the wearer from falling particularly off horses and that it would break into many pieces at the slightest hint of a disaster.
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The Hindu mystics upheld that seeing this stone after beholding the new moon guaranteed wealth. In the lives of Native Americans, the turquoise birthstone played such a huge role. The Apache natives opined that following the colors of the rainbow to their end could lead you to this stone. Additionally, they believed that attaching the stone to a firearm or bow improved the accuracy of one’s aim.
The Pueblo maintained that this stone derived its color from the sky. The Hopi, on the other hand, thought that lizards scurrying over this planet created the stone.
A major highlight of this stone is the fact that it adorns King Tut’s funerary mask. He ruled Egypt over three thousand years ago.
The stone also appeared in jewelry belonging to modern royalty such as Wallace Simpson (1896-1986). The Duchess of Windsor wore a popular turquoise and amethyst necklace made by Cartier. Of great importance to note is that turquoise is an 11th wedding anniversaries’ gem.
In the European tradition, the gift of this stone’s ring has the meaning ‘’forget me not.’’ In Tibet, turquoise is considered a national treasure. It is believed to grant protection, good fortune and health from evil. It imparts peace to everyone that wears it.
For over 1000 years now, miners have been mining turquoise in Iran’s Nishapur district. This region’s valued, even-colored and intense blue turquoise is dubbed ‘’Persian blue,’’ ‘’sky blue’’ or ‘’robin’s egg blue.’’ Trade professionals currently utilize these terms to describe the turquoise of these colors regardless of the source.
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While New Mexico was the biggest turquoise producer in the United States until the 1920s, today, a majority of this stone emanates from Nevada and Arizona. Mines boast evocative names such as Fox, Emerald Valley, Easter Blue, and Dry Creek.
Arizona’s Kingman mine is a historically rich source that is highly popular for the production of intense blue turquoise. Currently closed to the mining of turquoise, Arizona’s Sleeping Beauty mine was an inexhaustible producer of this stone from over four decades.
Presently, China is the stone’s major producer. The Hubei province in central China happens to be the main source of gem-quality turquoise.
Care and cleaning
To improve its durability, polish and appearance, proper care and cleaning of turquoise are necessary. On the Mohs hardness scale, it sits on the 5 – 6 range. You can chemically enhance or dry this stone by adding an acrylic resin or epoxy for better color or greater hardness.
Generally, this stone is stable to light. However, high heat might cause breakage and discoloration. Acids can also damage your turquoise birthstone. Some of the other things that can discolor your precious birthstone include perspiration, skin oils, cosmetics, and certain chemicals.
It should be safe to clean turquoise jewelry with soap and warm water. Nonetheless, you should never clean your birthstone with ultrasonic or steam cleaners. Solvents or heat can severely damage the treated surfaces on your stone.
Types of Turquoise
Chalk turquoise emanates from China. It is tinted and alleviated absorbent white turquoise. This stone is dyed lively shades of fuchsia pink, lime green, apple green, and blue. It not only features white chalk-like evenness but also boasts similar biochemical structures as turquoise. The difference is the fact it lacks copper.
Chalk turquoise beads are highly popular for jewelry due to their bright colors and hardness. In most instances, chalk turquoise features a matrix pattern that often resembles subtle crackles.
This stone is obtainable easily. It is commonly applied in different jewelry styles. It is treated chemically by adding an epoxy resin for enhanced color and increased hardness. With a nice matrix and permanent color, stabilized turquoise is beautiful.
Sleeping beauty turquoise
The source of this one is the Sleeping Beauty mines in Arizona. It happens to be the most prized type of turquoise around the world. In most instances, it displays a bright color blue popularly known as ‘Persian color.’ The patented Zachery procedure comes in handy in the treatment of sleepy beauty gems.
Mountain and howlite turquoise
This type of turquoise is available in inland’s evaporate deposits. You can also find it in borate minerals which come in a nodular form akin to cauliflower.
A blue-tinted howlite turquoise is temporary. Consequently, the application of an artists’ fixative is highly recommended. The turquoise-blue mountain ‘’jade’’ is a high-grade dolomite marble that is mined in Asia.
This creamy and white stone has either a black or brown matrix which resembles the patterns present in cracked antique pottery or dry creek beds.
It features a dark or tan matrix with the same patterns as the ones present in broken antique earthenware or dry rivulet beds. The material is also available in other colors such as tinted red and orange.
Yellow turquoise features a subtle blend of black, brown, green, and gold colors of jasper and quartz gemstones. Most of the time, they will come from similar mines as turquoise. This type is wonderful for fall-themed and earthy jewelry.
At the Fire Mountain Beads and Gems, if a stone is similar in appearance to turquoise but is not true turquoise, it appears in quotation marks ‘’turquoise.’’
Some of the great examples of this are the different varieties of dyed jasper that goes by the name African turquoise in the industry. It features an exotic blend of dark matric and green base colors thus making it a pocket-friendly turquoise substitute in jewelry.
Different enhancements are applied to turquoise stones. Sellers identify every treatment through AGTA’s (American Gem Trade Association) standard enhancement codes.
December Birthstones #3 – Zircon
Over the years, there has been quite an intense debate as to the origin of the word ‘’zircon.’’ According to some scholars, it emanates from an Arabic word zarkun which means ‘vermillion’ or ‘cinnabar.’ Others opine that its source is zargun meaning ‘gold-colored.’
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Meaning and history
Considering this birthstone’s broad color palette – blue, green, brown, yellow, orange and red – either derivation seems possible. Many people have known colorless zircon for its flashes of multicolored light and brilliance.
Many years back, people believed this stone soothed one to a deep slumber. Others held that it chased away wicked spirits. This stone, in Hinduism, substitutes hessonite garnet as among the 9 navaratna stones. When used together, they provide the utmost protection. On top of that, the nine garnets bring prosperity, healthiness, and knowledge.
Victorians loved the blue zircon. Fine specimens were discovered in the 1880s in English estate jewelry.
Sri Lanka is a legendary producer of an array of gems. Sapphire (in different colors), moonstone, tourmaline, spinel, alexandrite, ruby, and quartz are among the different gem minerals that are unearthed in the country. Zircon is the same.
Sri Lanka’s Elahera region is where the highest production of the stone takes place. Restless streams, jungles, and mountains characterize the dramatic landscape.
The Harts Range in Australia is famous for producing zircon birthstones in purple, pink, orange-brown and yellow-brown. Once there, you will be a witness of open savannahs, low-lying hills and dry stream beds that meet the horizon. Zircon Hill is the birthstone’s mines are located.
A nearby city by the name Alice Springs is popular for its quirky sporting events, aboriginal art, and outback culture. Events such as the regatta race are usually held by the dry river bed.
It is common for zircon to be located close to sapphire sources. Aside from Australia and Sri Lanka, other countries that are sources for this gem are Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Care and cleaning
On the Mohs hardness scale, Zircon falls in the 6 – 7.5 range. It is normally heat-treated to produce colorless and blue varieties. It can also produce red, yellow and orange colors upon heating.
Generally, this stone is stable when you expose it to light. Nonetheless, some heat-treated stones might change to their original colors (normally light brown) after extended exposure to bright light. Some zircon can alter their color due to heat exposure. When you expose it to chemicals, it is stable.
Due to the abrading nature of zircon, it is prudent to avoid wearing it in rough conditions such as when doing dishes, playing sports or gardening.
Use mild soap and soft brush in warm water to carefully clean your December birthstone. Just like with the rest, it is prudent to avoid using steam and ultrasonic cleaners.
The different varieties of zircon are:
- Starlite – It is a blue gem variety of zircon.
- Matura diamond – This is the commercial term for neutral zircon.
- Jargon – Jargon is a pale yellow, pale gray or a colorless variety of zircon.
- Jacinth – Jacinth is a red, brown, orange or yellow variety of zircon. It is identical with hyacinth. While jewelers no longer use the names Hyacinth and Jacinth anymore, they continue to be archaeologically vital terms that go back to the scriptural times. During the olden age, before the mineralogical grouping of stones, the name hyacinth was used to denote a brownish or carroty/red topaz.
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