December Birthstones Tanzanite, Turquoise & Zircon
December Birthstone - Tanzanite
Discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania, and found exclusively in this tiny area of the world, tanzanite exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which the gemstone is treasured; often it is heat-treated to achieve this color. Colors range from blue to purple, and tanzanites that are medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation, and slightly violet blue command premium prices. As tanzanite can be less expensive than sapphire, it often was purchased as an alternative. However, it has increased in popularity and now is valued more for its own beauty and brilliance than as a sapphire substitute.
December Birthstone - Turquoise
A birthstone for December, and ranking highest among all the opaque stones, turquoise, the "Turkish stone" is highly prized throughout Asia and Africa, not only for its particular hue of blue, a robins-egg blue or sky blue, but more importantly for its prophylactic and therapeutic qualities. The Arabs consider it a lucky stone and have great confidence in its benevolent action. Used in rings, earrings, necklaces, head ornaments and amulets, it protects the wearer from poison, reptile bites, eye diseases and the evil eye. It was also believed capable of warning of impending death by changing color. Also, the drinking water in which turquoise has been dipped or washed was believed to cure bladder ailments. Buddhists revere the turquoise because it is associated with the legend in which a turquoise enabled Budda to destroy a monster. Even today, turquoise is considered a symbol of courage, success, and love. It has long been associated with American Indian jewelry and art.
Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue green stone. The finest color is an intense blue, with poorer qualities tending toward yellowish green. The famous Persian turquoise, which can be a very pleasing and intense blue, is considered a very rare and valuable gem.
All turquoises are susceptible to aging and may turn greenish or possibly darker with age. Care must be taken when wearing turquoise, both to avoid contact with soap, grease, and other materials that may discolor it, and protect it from abuse, since turquoise scratches fairly easily.
Exercise caution when buying turquoise. This is a frequently simulated gem. Very fine adulterated stones and reconstructed stones saturate the market, as does synthetic turquoise.
December Birthstone - Zircon
Zircon is a stone of purity and innocence. It balances the emotions and enhances self esteem and unity. Was used as an amulet by travellers to protect against accident and injury on the journey. It was also used to stop the wearer from being stuck by lightening. Hindu poets tell of the Kalpa Tree, the ultimate gift to the gods, which was a glowing tree covered with gemstone fruit with leaves of zircon. Zircon has long had a supporting role to more well-known gemstones, often stepping in as an understudy when they were unavailable. In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. The name probably comes from the Persian word zargun which means gold-colored, although zircon comes in a wide range of different colors.