What is the birthstone for December?
The traditional December birthstone is the Blue Zircon, but there are various alternatives that are considered representative of December including turquoise, blue topaz and tanzanite.
Blue Zircon is a natural gem (not to be confused with synthetic cubic zirconia) that is found in several places and mined primarily in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Natural zircon is found in a variety of colors and some material can be heat treated to a lovely pastel blue. Zircon has a very high refractive index and can be very brilliant. For this reason the colorless variety has been used as a diamond substitute for hundreds of years.
Another interesting aspect of zircon is that it contains trace amount of uranium and thorium and has been instrumental in the development of radiometric dating. Some zircon specimens have been calculated to be up to 4.4 billion years old – making them the oldest minerals so far recorded on earth.
Alternative Birthstone for December – Blue Topaz
While large specimens of zircon are occasionally found, most gems on the market are relatively small. Large, high quality blue zircons can be quite expensive. Blue topaz is a gemstone that looks very similar and is available in large sizes at affordable prices. Thus, blue topaz is a popular alternative December birthstone.
For designer level birthstone selections in blue topaz, the Tacori jewelry
line offers several high fashion options. The collection contains other colors representing other birthstones as well. While Tacori
is best known as the leading brand of designer engagement rings
, their new fashion jewelry offerings are just as exciting.
Alternative December Birthstone – Turquoise
The traditional alternative to Blue Zircon is Turquoise. It is an opaque material found in a variety of colors and patterns in greens and blues. It is most commonly cut into oval or round cabochons (domed top with flat bottom), or left in a more natural freeform shape for use in handmade jewelry. In many cases secondary minerals run through the turquoise creating beautiful patterns that add interest and uniqueness to each individual gem. Turquoise has been prized for its qualities since the dawn of man. It is not only beautiful but it is relatively easy to work with and could be fashioned with early tools. From antiquity to the present day, turquoise has played a particularly important part in the culture of the indigenous peoples of the American Southwest.
Alternative Birthstone for December – Tanzanite
More recently the gemstone Tanzanite has also come to represent the December birthstone. Tanzanite is a very new gemstone discovered in the 1960’s and first marketed by Tiffany & Co. It is a transparent blue crystal that is typically faceted into a variety of shapes with colors that range from blue to purple and intensities that range from pastel to vivid, rivaling the color of the finest sapphires. Most Tanzanite faceted gemstones exhibit both purple and blue in different viewing directions and under different lighting conditions due the strong pleochroism of the mineral (zoisite). Like blue zircon, tanzanite is commonly heat treated to attain its most attractive coloration. Tanzanite is a very unique gemstone that is found in a relatively small geographical area around Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is not known to exist anywhere else in the world.
Specific gemstones are associated with the zodiac and the influence of the planets and stars by many cultures worldwide. Wearing the gemstone of your birth is thought to channel specific benefits to the wearer. For instance in India, Turquoise is the birthstone for Sagittarius (Nov 21 to December 21) and is believed to have healing powers and to promote good health. It is traditional for many Hindus to wear a birthstone ring and for the jeweler to set their gemstone in a way that allows the stone to be in direct contact with the skin.
If you are lucky, your birthstone is both beautiful and affordable. If you happen to be born in April, you may have to save up for your birthstone. It’s a Diamond