December Birthstone: Cool Blue Shades of Turquoise, Tanzanite & Zircon

Celebrate a December Birthday with Jewelry featuring a December Birthstone of your choice:

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december birthstone

The name turquoise is believed to originate from the French phrase “pierre turquoise” meaning “Turkish stone” because it was brought to Europe by Venetian merchants who first acquired it in Turkish bazaars. Turquoise is one of the earliest known stones to be used in jewelry. Pharaohs of Early Egypt wore them and beads dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). In the 17th century A.D., turquoise pieces inscribed with passages from the Koran and Persian proverbs were valued amulets. It was used as jewelry in ancient Siberia, around the Fifth and Sixth century B.C. During the Middle Ages, they were popularly used as decoration of vessels and covers for manuscripts. And it was again popular as jewelry during the Renaissance.

december birthstoneTurquoise varies in color from greenish blue, through robin’s egg-blue, to sky blue shades and its transparency ranges from translucent to opaque. It is plentiful and available in a wide range of sizes. It is most often used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and inlays.

Turquoise is associated with good fortune, success and believed to bring prosperity to its wearer. It is also considered by some as a love charm. When received as a gift, the turquoise symbolizes a pledge of affection – Shakespeare even used this lore in “The Merchant of Venice”.

december birthstone

Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania (hence the name) by a local Masai shepherd and it would soon become ‘the stone of the 20th century’, being popularized by Tiffany & Co. – an American multinational luxury jewelry and specialty retailer.

december birthstoneFound exclusively in Tanzania, it exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which the gemstone is treasured. 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.

Without a long history like that of the other birthstones, tanzanite does not have any powerful, mysterious powers associated to it. But what it lacks in history, it compensates with beauty.

december birthstone

Many scholars think the stone’s name comes from the Arabic word zarkun, meaning “cinnabar” or “vermilion.” Others believe the source is the Persian word zargun, or “gold colored.” Major sources of zircon are the Chanthaburi area of Thailand, the Palin area of Cambodia, and the southern part of Vietnam.

december birthstoneIt is found in a wide range of colors such as:

  • Colorless: often mistaken for diamonds, since it resembles in luster and fire
  • Blue: known as the “starlite” and are very rare
  • Green: even rarer than starlite
  • Yellow-red to red brown: known as the hyacinth and are the most common

Folk wisdom grants zircon the power to relieve pain, protect travelers from disease and injury, to ensure a warm welcome, and to prevent nightmares guaranteeing a deep, tranquil sleep. It is also associated with wisdom, honor, and wealth.

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