Oh December babies, you have claim to three different birthstones! This month’s birthstones all come in lovely shades of blue-: turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite. Lucky you!
Turquoise is one of the oldest opaque gems used in jewelry and has been coveted for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian artifacts show how important turquoise was historically in adornment. The Aztecs also had an affinity for this sky blue gemstone, but the stone was really popularized today by its use in Southwestern Native American jewelry. Turquoise gets its blue color from copper.
Throughout history, turquoise has been regarded as a sacred stone. Many ancient civilizations believed that the stone brought wisdom, power, and immortality/protection.
Zircon is a gorgeous stone that unfortunately has a bit of a PR problem. Zircon has a high refractive index and high dispersion, which makes it a dazzling stone with excellent brilliance and fire. Unfortunately the name “Zircon” is reminiscent of “Cubic Zirconia”, a cheap, synthetic diamond simulant. Zircon, on the other hand, is a natural gem (often enhanced with heat treatment- much like topaz or tanzanite) with amazing optical properties that can be quite valuable! It’s such a shame that people often perceive zircon as synthetic and cheap, but like I said- bad PR. Since I’m sad that it’s reputation has suffered, I’m here to celebrate Zircon and hopefully share a bit about this beautiful and historically significant stone.
The name Zircon comes from the Persian word “zargun”, which means golden colored. Zircon comes in a myriad of colors, but most zircon naturally forms in a golden reddish color. Throughout time, zircon has been believed to have the ability to alleviate pain, protect from illness and injury, and to ensure peaceful sleep. Though the stone has gone by different names throughout time, the stone has been referenced in Hindu Poems, the bible, and in Jewish lore. The largest sources of zircon today are Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Tanzanite is the newcomer to the December birthstone selection… and its kind of the “cool” kid in the mix. Tanzanite is young. It’s beautiful. It’s popular.
I’m not immune to its cool kid charm, I still get giddy every time I work with it.
Tanzanite is a very recent discovery in the world of gemstones. It comes from a small region of Tanzania, and was discovered in the 1960’s. This gem has absolutely exploded in popularity over the last few decades, largely in part to a big marketing push by Tiffany & Co. The gem displays gorgeous pleochroism- showing purple and blue colors from different viewing angles. Tanzanite was initially introduced to the market as a more affordable alternative to Sapphire. Over time though, Tanzanite has really become valued for its own unique properties. Almost all tanzanite is heat treated to achieve the gorgeous violet-blue color that we know and love. After the burst of popularity, the American Gem Trade Association officially added Tanzanite as a December birthstone in 2002.
Gemstones are believed to have healing and spiritual properties because of the energy vibration of the atoms within the crystalline structure. Allegedly, certain gems vibrate in ways that resonate with particular qualities and energies within the person wearing them. Tanzanite is considered to have a very high vibrational energy. It is supposed to activate the heart chakra and facilitate a deep connection between the mind and the heart. If you are into meditation, Tanzanite is an excellent stone for you!
Happy birthday to you, December babies!