• Sarah Wafer

Birthstones for December


The Birthstone for December - Zircon, Tanzanite and Turquoise

The month of December holds three birthstones, which are Zircon, Tanzanite and Turquoise all best known for their shade of blue. These stones are somewhat inexpensive, yet their beauty challenges even precious gems. Zircon is the oldest gem on earth, Turquoise was one of the first mined and used in jewellery, and Tanzanite a newer gemstone.

Turquoise

Turquoise, is one of the most treasured gemstones and has been for thousands of years. It is arguable the oldest stone in history ranging from a sky blue (the most desirable colour) to a blue-green opaque. Turquoise is unlike the other gemstones in regards to the colour. It was given the name Turquoise meaning ‘Turkish stone’ because of their trade routes through Turkey and Venetian merchants often purchased in Turkish bazaars, to Europe from the mines in Asia. Dating back thousands of years ago to 5000 BC Turquoise had been found in Iraq, and currently the best quality is found in Iraq, however currently the United States is the world leader of production for them. This gemstone is historically thought to be a healing and balancing stone, as it is believed that wearing this stone will keep away evil spirits and protect the wearer from harm and relaxes the mind.

Tanzanite

In 1967, Tanzanite was first discovered by Jumanne Mhero Ngoma in the Mererani Hills, Northern Tanzania and is the only place where it can be found in an area of about eight square miles. Although this gemstone has been used for hundreds of years previously it wasn’t until the 1960’s it was found commercially. Over time Tanzanite is becoming more rare and precious, as there is an estimated time left of the supply. It’s rapid increase in popularity was generated mainly by The gemstone is named by Tiffany & co, after the place of origin. Tanzanite is naturally a brown colour when found in the earth and needs heat treatment to bring out the violet and blue colours, it is extremely rare to find a naturally formed Tanzanite. It wasn’t until 2002, The American Gem Trade Association chose Tanzanite as a birthstone for December which was the first change to the birthstone list since 1912.

Zircon

Also representing December as a birthstone, is a popular stone which has been used for nearly 2000 years. The most favourite Zircon gemstone bought is the blue colour, however it comes in a variety whether it to be natural or used heat and irradiation (heated to 800 degrees to 1000 degrees). The most natural colours are brown, red and yellow and other example of colours are green, blue, peach, clear… A clear zircon gemstone can be substituted for a diamond at a lower cost, however make sure you aren’t confused with the cubic zirconia. A cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone worth a fraction of the price and another common substitute for a diamond. Although Zircon is not mass marketed due to its limited availability, it is sometimes selected by whose who favour a more faceted stone. Zircon stones can be found in countries Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, France, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. However, Australia leads the world in zircon mining, following by South Africa.

Did you know?

- During the 16th century turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. They believed the gemstone could bring spoils to the warrior, animals to the hunter, and happiness and good fortune to all.

⁃ In Iranian architecture, the blue turquoise was used to cover the domes of palaces because its intense blue colour was also a symbol of heaven on earth

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