Being that this is the month of December, we’d thought you’d like to know about your birthstone – that is, those of you who have been born during this month. You have something that others don’t—a luxury of choosing between three birthstones. All these three stones are best known for their beautiful shades of blue. A fitting nutrient to keep you happier during these winter months.
Another thing that makes December folks lucky is that all three of these stones are moderately priced. That said; don’t ever mistake as less precious or valuable.
December birthstones have their own rich history and have the same appearance as some of the most priced gems. You can easily substitute a colorless zircon for a diamond and tanzanite for sapphire. The third birthstone of December, turquoise, cannot be used as an alternative to any other stone because it is very unique.
Let’s learn some more about the three December stones.
The honor of being the oldest mineral on earth goes to Zircon. It was discovered more than 4.4 billion years ago. It’s widely believed that the name of the stone was derived from an Arabic word, zarkun or zargun, with zar meaning gold and gun meaning like, literally translating to gold-like.
However, many people misjudge zircon as just an imitation gem, because of its wide popularity in the 1990s as a replacement for diamonds.
In truth, zircon has a rich traditional history and its own share of legends and folklore. During the middle ages, zircon was believed to bring wisdom and induce sleep. It was also believed to ward off evil. Zircon has been rumored to have the power to relieve pain, protect travelers from injury, disease and misfortune, and increase appetite.
It was especially famous in the Victorian era when gemstones were popularly featured in English estate jewelry. One zircon enthusiast even tried to name this gemstone starlite, but the Arabic name had already become famous.
Appearance and Makeup
The chemical makeup of zircon is very unique and hardwearing, which is why zircon has survived for billions of years. Zircon contains traces of the radioactive element uranium. It is because of uranium that zircon changes its chemical structure and its color over a long period of time.
Zircon looks like a hard silver metal and it is extremely resistant to corrosion.
The turquoise mineral is best known and distinguished for its unique color that ranges from sea-blue to gray-green. It is because of its atypical appearance that it became known as an antique ornamental stone. Turquoise is also a very rare mineral and is only found in certain localities. That is the reason why it is so commonly imitated by using howlite and dying it blue.
Turquoise, which is also known as robin’s egg blue gemstone, used to be quite famous among the pharaohs and Aztec kings. Like zircon, turquoise is also one of the oldest known minerals.
This unique colored mineral gemstone has been popular amongst the U.S Native Americans as well as among the Indian tribes in Mexico.
It was believed that the gemstone might have originally come from Turkey; hence, it was named after the country. It was later discovered that it most probably came from ancient Persia or Egypt.
Other sources believe that it might be named after the French description of the stone pierre turquin meaning dark blue stone.
For more than a century, the richest, most intense blue turquoise was found in Persia.
Appearance and Makeup
Turquoise is porous and naturally contains a waxy luster; it is often artificially impregnated with a plastic lubricant to enhance its luster.
This blue-green mineral is composed of hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum.
Tanzanite is a transparent gem, and it ranges in color from blue to violet. It gained instant popularity after its discovery because of its vivid color and high clarity. It is now the second most popular gemstone, with the first one being sapphire.
Tanzanite is not as old as its counterparts. In fact, it was discovered in 1967 in northern Tanzania by a Masai tribesman. It is said that this precious stone was found on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Its place of origin also became its namesake.
The local miner who was informed of the discovery quickly registered mining claims in hopes that he had hit a sapphire deposit. That is how similar this mineral is to sapphire in appearance. Within a short period after the discovery, more mining claims were registered around the area. Looking at the stones, everyone knew just one thing, it was precious. Even Tiffany and Co. stepped in and became its official distributors.
This is how the world came to know of one the newest gemstones.
Tanzanite is pleochroism in nature and appears in different colors under different lights and crystallographic directions. The stone is made of mineral zoisite. It has a perfect cleavage and could chip right away on a sharp impact.
Today, people still believe that Zircon has healing effects. It is said to be good for traveling and helps prevent nightmares. Furthermore, it is also known for providing relief from pain and helping people with low appetite.
Turquoise is usually worn by people as part of their traditional attire. It is believed to have special healing properties and can bring good fortune and good wealth to its wearer. Like most stones do for their wearers, turquoise also wards off evil and brings luck.
Tanzanite is said to bring peace and calm over its wearer, must like its deep blue color that easily rivals blue sapphires. It triggers deeper thoughts and allows the wearer to become aware of some profound feelings.