What is the Birthstone for December?

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To skip the info stuff and jump to read fun facts and see shiny things, go straight to number 14 for tanzanite, 25 for turquoise or go to number 37 for zircon  🙂 

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What is the Birthstone for December?

The December birthstone is not one but, three birthstones.

According to the  The British Association of Goldsmiths, there are two December birthstones, tanzanite and turquoise.

The American Gem Society, lists three birthstones for December, tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon.

So, depending on which side of the Pond you live, determines how many birthstones you have if you were born in December.

December born are lucky having a choice of three gemstones linked to their birthday.

December is the month of snow and ice giving those born at this time three beautiful blue gemstones as its birthstones.

Let’s begin with tanzanite.

December Birthstone Tanzanite

Tanzanite is a rare and beautiful mineral.

How is Tanzanite Formed?

December Birthstone Tanzanite Crystal

Tanzanite was formed by intense heat and tectonic plate activity 585 million years ago.

Where is Tanzanite Found?

This fairly new gemstone was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania. It is the world’s only deposit of tanzanite.

The Mererani Hills of the Manyara Region in the shadow of Africa’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro is the only place where Tanzanite has ever been found. 

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

In April 2018 Tanzanian President John Maguguli inaugurated a 25 Kilometer wall around the Tanzanite mines to protect the precious gems from theft where he also announced a new location of Tanzanites had been found but would not disclose where.

In 1968, a year after its discovery, Tiffany introduced Tanzanite, named after its birthplace Tanzania. Tiffany wooed the world with its advertising slogan that tanzanite could only be found in two places in the world:

in Tanzania and Tiffany’s

Tiffany advertising slogan

When will Tanzanite run Out?

Geologists estimate that the one existing source of tanzanite will only last one generation.

Our generation will be first time buyers and last time buyers of this precious gemstone. 

Are Zoisite and Tanzanite the Same?

Yes, tanzanite is a blue to a violet-coloured variety of the mineral zoisite.

How does Tanzanite get its Colour?

Small amounts of vanadium in the zoisite gives it the colour blue.

Tanzanite is a blue variety of zoisite. 

Heating a zoisite containing vanadium to 370-390 °C causes oxidation which in turn changes and improves the blue colour of the mineral.

Is Tanzanite Heat-Treated?

Due to only small amounts of tanzanite with an excellent almost perfect colour being mined, almost all tanzanite today is heat-treated.

The December birthstone tanzanite is heat-treated to remove the natural brown hues in order to produce or improve the blue colour of the gemstone.

The tanzanite gemstones are left with blue and blue-purple tones, almost the same as the sapphire.

What Colour is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite comes in different shades of blue. From pale blue to marine blue with violet undertones. It also displays different colours depending on which angle it is admired from. This is an optical phenomenon known as pleochroism.

Does Tanzanite Scratch Easily?

Tanzanite reaches a score of 6.5 to 7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, therefore your tanzanite will scratch and crack much easier than a Diamond or a Sapphire.

You should always take great care when wearing and cleaning tanzanite jewellery.

Avoid knocking your rings on hard surfaces and remove when doing housework and gardening etc. 

Pendants and earrings are probably a better choice for everyday wear, but if you are prepared to take good care of your rings there is no reason why they shouldn’t also last a long time.

If your ring is looking scratched, dull and generally tired you can have it professionally polished which will bring it back to its original condition and sparkle.

How do I Clean my Tanzanite Jewellery?

If your tanzanite is cloudly it probably needs cleaning.

The cloudiness is usually caused by oils and residues from wearing your jewellery and it’s time to clean your tanzanite pieces of jewellery. 

Clean your Tanzanite jewellery with warm soapy water and an old soft toothbrush.

Rinse well and polish with a soft cloth.

Never use ultrasonic cleaners on your Tanzanite jewellery.

Will my Tanzanite Jewellery Fade?

Under normal light exposure and temperature, your tanzanite jewellery is unlikely to fade.

The stability of the colour in tanzanite is good.

Can December Birthstone Tanzanite be used in an Engagement Ring?

Tanzanite engagement and wedding rings are beautiful and there is no reason not to wear them as long as you take special care of them. 

The best metals to use with tanzanite are platinum, palladium and 18K yellow gold.

If you choose white gold you must periodically have the ring re-plated with rhodium which keeps the white gold looking white. As the re-plating technique involves steam and ultrasonic cleaning, which is not good for the tanzanite gems, white gold is not an ideal choice and should probably be avoided.

Whilst silver is pretty, it is not ideal because it is not strong enough.

The best protective settings for tanzanite are closed settings such as channel, bezel and pave settings.

When choosing a prong setting make sure no sharp edges of the gemstone are exposed.

The best cut for tanzanite engagement rings and any other ring for everyday wear is a rounded-edge cut; oval, pear or heart-shaped.

Chose princess and emerald cut only if you have chosen an excellent setting.

How much is Tanzanite Worth per Carat?

December’s birthstone tanzanite is special due to it only being found and mined in Tanzania and prices are rising.

The Tanzanian government is cracking down on smuggling tanzanite by building a wall around the mining area and posting the military to guard it.

Until now rough tanzanite is smuggled from Tanzania to neighbouring Kenya and then exported to India for cutting.

Also, the demand from China is rising, also this causing prices to rise.

Which Tanzanite Colour is the Most Valuable?

Due to the position of the blue hue on a crystal, cutting a large blue gem is usually very difficult. 

December Birthstone Tanzanite Gemcutter

Africraigs / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Cutters will often choose to cut a large violet-blue gem instead of a small blue gem.

As a result large deep blue gems are rare.

Fun Facts, Myths and Legends

Tanzanite is a new gemstone compared to others which were used by the Ancient Egyptians. Therefore, there is not much history and even less myths or legends.

According to some people, tanzanite strengthens the immune system.

December’s birthstone tanzanite is believed to detoxify the blood and improves vitality as well as regenerates cells, hair, and skin.

Tanzanite is also believed to help overcome fear and also generates a feeling of happiness.

Your 24th wedding anniversary is a tanzanite anniverary. 

The chemical formula for tanzanite is Ca₂Al₃(SiO₄)₃(OH)

December Birthstone Tanzanite, A Few Ideas For You

Tanzanite Birthstone Rings

Tanzanite Birthstone Necklaces

Tanzanite Birthstone Earrings

Tanzanite Birthstone Bracelets

December Birthstone Turquoise

The second December birthstone is turquoise, an ancient and beautiful opaque gemstone.

December Birthstone Turquoise Cut and Uncut Gemstones

Reno Chris at English Wikipedia / Public domain

Turquoise is an ancient gemstone and is highly regarded amongst the world’s civilizations, in particular, the Persian and Native American civilizations. It is one of the most important opaque gemstones and the only gemstone to have a colour named after it.

Although turquoise has been used in crafting jewellery, for thousands of years it didn’t become popular in the West until the 14th Century. 

Turquoise became popular amongst the Navajo after 1880.

In the 1920s the handmade jewellery became popular for souvenirs when tourists began visiting the region.

How is Turquoise Formed?

When water containing the minerals copper and aluminium leak through a rock, a chemical reaction occurs and veins are formed which turn into tuquoise. 

Turquoise jewellery and talismans have been found dating back to at least 3000 BC, making turquoise one of the oldest known gems.

Where is Turquoise Found?

Turquoise has been mined in Sinai since at least 3000 BC.

The Serabit el-Khadium mine and Wadi Maghareh mine are believed to be amongst the oldest known mines. 

In the 17th Century, the mineral was mined in Persia and was transported to Turkey where it was traded and then transported on to Europe.

French merchants often bought the mineral from the Turkish bazaars and it became known as pierre turquoise or turques meaning Turkish stone.

Over time turquoise became the word describing the colour of the gemstone.

Turquoise is traditionally sourced from Iran, Israel, Egypt, and parts of South West U.S.A.

It is one of the oldest minerals and one of the first to be mined. 

Today turquoise is mainly mined in Iran, Afghanistan, China, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.

Different mines produce slightly different variations of turquoise.

December Birthstone Turquoise Rock

Turquoise is often mined as a by-product of copper mining.

Is Turquoise Heat-Treated?

These days the turquoise you buy has most likely been heat-treated in some way to strengthen the stone.

Ancient turquoise was treated with wax and oils, in the same way, the process of  heat-treating turquoise is carried out today, to protect the stone and make it longer-lasting.

What Colour is a Turquoise?

Turquoise comes in different shades of blue or green with black oxide veins.

The most popular colours are deep blue gemstones.

The green coloured gemstones are less sought after. For this reason, green gemstones are often dyed to give them a bluer colour.

The most valuable is the Persian Blue.

Marie Luise Diadem

Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

The diadem of Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria was most likely a wedding gift from Napoleon I to his second wife, in 1810. Originally set with emeralds. Read more

How does Turquoise get its Colour?

The copper in the mineral is what gives turquoise it’s blue colouring, it gets its green colour from iron and zinc gives turquoise its yellowish colour.

Does Turquoise Scratch Easily?

December birthstone turquoise is quite soft and only scores 5.0-6.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale making it brittle and porous.

Turquoise is also prone to discolouration and staining.

How do I Clean my Turquoise Jewellery?

Clean your turquoise jewellery with a soft brush and warm water followed by drying and polishing with a soft cloth are enough.

Never use ultrasonic cleaners or chemicals on your turquoise jewellery.

Can December Birthstone Turquoise be used in an Engagement Ring?

December birthstone turquoise does not sparkle as other gemstones. It is however, still beautiful and can be used in an engagement ring.

Turquoise is not only a great choice for those born in December but is an interesting choice for its beauty and long interesting history as the oldest gemstone.

Turquoise makes a meaningful engagement ring.

Turquoise is often cut into a cabochon and set in a bezel setting.

A turquoise engagement ring is surely different and special but, due to the softness of the gemstone, great care must be taken at all times to avoid knocks and scratches and even breakages.

Turquoise is probably not the ideal stone for everyday wear but, with special and careful treatment it should last a long time.

How much is a Turquoise Worth per Carat?

The main factor in pricing turquoise is the quality of the stone. As next the colour, cut and the weight of the stone dictates the cost of the gemstone.

5 carats is equal to 1 gram.

The colour, quality, and location where the opal is mined influences which grade the gemstones are given. 

American turquoise has the highest quality and highest value of all mined turquoise.

Fun Facts, Myths and Legends

Turquoise can be worn on all occasions. The colour of turquoise goes with almost all colours. You can wear turquoise jewellery with all outfits, everything from jeans and t-shirt to ball gowns.

Turquoise ingrains King Tutankhamun’s death mask.

December Birthstone Turquoise set in the Death Mask of Tutankhamun

Roland Unger / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The ancient Egyptians believed the colour blue was a symbol of regeneration.

Native Americans believed it possessed protective properties and applied it to their works of art and jewellery.

The Chinese included turquoise in their ornaments.

Some people believe turquoise protects from harm, brings good luck and brings longevity.

December birthstone Turquoise is believed to lift migraines, that it benefits the brain, eyes ears, neck, lungs, and throat.

Gift turquoise on 11th wedding anniversaries.

The chemical formula for turquoise is CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O

Find a full list of birthstones and birth months here.

December Birthstone Turquoise, A Few Ideas For You

Turquoise Birthstone Rings

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Turquoise Birthstone Necklaces

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Turquoise Birthstone Earrings

Turquoise Birthstone Bracelets

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December Birthstone Zircon

December Birthstone Zircon Rock

December birthstone zircon is a beautiful and colourful gemstone which has been around since ancient times.

Zircon has been used in jewellery since ancient times. It became very popular during Victorian times. Particularly blue zircon was favoured and featured in Victorian pieces of jewellery.

Zircon is not to be confused with cubic zirconia.

How is a Zircon Formed?

Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth. They are resistant to chemical changes and because of this, they are used for determining the age of rocks.

When molton granite cools and forms rock, it also forms zircon.

Over time the rock wears away leaving behind tiny grains of zircon.

The whole process of forming zircon found today has taken billions of years.

Where is Zircon Found?

Zircon crystals found in Australia were identified as being 4.4 billion years old.

Zircon has been mined for over 2000 years.

Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam have mined zircon for hundreds of years and more recently Australia, Nigeria, and Madagascar.

Is Zircon Heat-Treated?

Zircon is often heat-treated to enhance the colouring of the stones.

Almost all colourless and blue zircon stones these days have been heat-treated.

What Colour is Zircon?

Colourless zircon is often used as a  substitute for diamonds.

True red and deep blue are the rarest colours of zircon.

Some zircon gemstones have been known to fade or change colour when exposed to strong sunlight.

Heat treatment is used to purposely change the colours of zircon gems.

Does Zircon Scratch Easily?

Zircon scores 6.0 – 7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

Although zircon has a fairly good hardness, care should be taken not to knock or bang the stones as they are prone to cracking and chipping.

How do I Clean my Zircon Jewellery?

Use warm soapy water and an old soft toothbrush to clean your zircon jewellery. Dry and polish with a soft cloth.

Never use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean your zircon jewellery.

Can December Birthstone Zircon be used in an Engagement Ring?

Definitely!

This beautiful gemstone is a wonderful alternative to the commonly used gemstones.

Extra care must be taken, especially when wearing zircon every day as an engagement ring.

Always remove your engagement ring when doing housework, gardening etc. and avoid knocks on heavy surfaces.

A zircon engagement ring is an excellent choice, not just for those born in December.

How much is a Zircon Worth per Carat?

As with all gemstones, the price depends on many factors; the quality, colour, weight, and the cut to name a few. 

Samples tested from Australian finds were found to be over 4 billion years old. It is the closest resembling a diamond than all other gems and often thought of a cheap imitation of a diamond.

The zircon is however, a valuable gem. It is often confused with the Cubic Zirconia, a synthetic, inexpensive Diamond Simulant. The only thing the two have in common is the name. 

The colourless zircon is the purest zircon and high-quality zircon gemstones are rarer than Diamonds yet less valuable.

Blue is the most favourite colour and most sought after causing a price per demand situation.

As you can see, the valuation of the gemstones is not so straightforward.

Are Zircon and Cubic Zirconia the same Thing?

Although zircon and cubic zirconia have similar names and may look alike, that’s where it ends. They are two different stones.

Cubic zirconia is not a mineral, it’s a synthetic inexpensive diamond simulant.

Zircon is a natural stone,  it’s a precious gemstone. 

Fun Facts, Myths and Legends

In the Middle Ages the belief was  zircon induced sound sleep. 

Zircon was believed to drive away evil spirits and promote riches, honour, and wisdom.

Some people believe December’s birthstone zircon brings happiness, fights jealousy and brings prosperity.

The chemical formula for zircon is ZrSiO₄

Birthstone jewellery makes great gifts for all occasions; Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and many more.

Find a full list of birthstones and birth months here.

December Birthstone Zircon, A Few Ideas For You

Zircon Birthstone Rings

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Zircon Birthstone Necklaces

Zircon Birthstone Earrings

Zircon Birthstone Bracelets

The December Birth Colours are Indigo, Green and Green-Blue

December birth colours indigo, green and green-blue

The December Birth Flowers are Narcissus and Holly

Last update on 2021-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API