Filled with gatherings and holiday celebrations, those born in the month of December have lots of festivities to look forward to. And whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, you might be curious which birthstone best represents the Sagittarius or Capricorn in your life.
In this post, we’ll discuss the history and meaning of the three magical birthstones representing the twelfth month of the year so that you can discover which gemstone is your perfect match.
Tanzanite Meaning and History
Sometimes described as, “velvety,” tanzanite is a gorgeous blue-violet colored stone that originates from Tanzania. A relative newcomer on the colored gemstone scene, this captivating crystal was only recently discovered in 1967.
That being said, there isn’t as much lore surrounding tanzanite as other older and well-known stones such as rubies or emeralds. However, this richly-colored gem is associated with many desirable properties. For example, some people believe that tanzanite can be used to activate several chakras including the throat, third-eye, and crown chakra. This is said to allow the wearer to tap into their psychic abilities and communicate with higher dimensions.
What’s more, tanzanite is also associated with healing, protection, and self-transformation.
Where Is Tanzanite Found?
Truly a rare gem, tanzanite is found in one place and one place only – Tanzania.
Discovered near the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, tanzanite is a rare variation of the mineral zoisite. The bluish-violet color that tanzanite is known for occurs when trace amounts of vanadium are combined with extreme heat.
Tanzanite’s color display can vary depending upon the angle from which the stone is viewed. What’s more, tanzanite needs to be cut with care to highlight more attractive hues as opposed to undesirable brown tones.
How to Care for Tanzanite
Tanzanite is ranked between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs hardness scale – a grading system used to determine a gemstone’s overall hardness in comparison to a diamond. That being said, this stunning stone is not nearly as strong as other blue sparklers such as sapphire.
To care for your tanzanite jewelry clean it using a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. Never clean this December birthstone using an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.
Zircon Meaning and History
Not to be confused with cubic zirconia, zircon is a dazzling gemstone that comes in a wide array of different colors. Although the true origin for the name zircon is up for debate, many believe that it originates from the Persian word zargun which translates to,” gold-colored.” Others insist that the name has Arabic roots coming from the word, zarkun which means “cinnibar” or “vermillion.” However, both theories could be true as zircon is found in hues spanning nearly every color of the rainbow.
Throughout the middle ages, zircon was believed to ward off evil spirits while one was asleep.
In later years, blue zircon was cherished by those in the Victorian era and gorgeous stones can be found in 1880s estate jewelry.
As one of the nine gems of navaratna, followers of the Hindu religion believe that zircon can promote wealth, wisdom, and good health when worn in tandem with the other eight stones.
Where Is Zircon Found?
Yet another fabulous gem unearthed from Sri Lanka, many of the zircon deposits mined today hail from the Elahera region. However, this vibrant stone can also be found in other parts of the world including Australia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
How to Care for Zircon
When it comes to durability, zircon ranks between 6 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This isn’t a great rating and zircon birthstone jewelry should always be removed before partaking in strenuous activities or chores around the house.
Additionally, zircon is often heat-treated to create blue and colorless versions of the gem. It’s worth noting that these variations can fade over time to their original, often light brown, coloring if exposed to bright light for prolonged periods.
To care for zircon, clean the crystal using a soft brush and a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. Do not expose zircon to ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
Turquoise Meaning and History
Unique in appearance, people have been adorning themselves in December’s traditional birthstone for centuries. Discovered before the 13th century, sky blue turquoise played an important role around the world where it was worn by ancient Egyptian pharaohs, Hindu mystics, and Native Americans alike.
Part of the reason this blue gemstone is so adored is because of the positive attributes it is believed to bestow upon the wearer such as health and good fortune. In the olden days, turquoise was thought to prevent the wearer from falling off of horses and was even said to bring unimaginable wealth when seen after a new moon.
Members of the Apache tribe believed that turquoise blue stones could be found at the end of a rainbow and would improve one’s aim with a bow or firearm. The Pueblo tribe credited turquoise’s stunning coloring to that of the sky. While the Hopi tribe took a different approach and maintained that the crystal was produced by lizards as they traveled the earth.
What’s more, turquoise fine jewelry has long been associated with royalty. From its placement in King Tut’s funerary mask to its spot in Wallace Simpson’s, Duchess of Windsor, stunning Cartier amethyst and turquoise necklace.
And the lore continues as turquoise is considered a Tibetian national treasure where it is coveted for its believed ability to provide health, good fortune, and protection to those who wear it.
Where Is Turquoise Found?
With sources in Nevada, New Mexico, California, and Colorado, the U.S. is the world’s largest turquoise supplier. The turquoise birthstone forms in arid regions after rainwater dissolves copper in the soil resulting in colorful nodular deposits. Turquoise’s famous robin’s egg blue color can be attributed to copper, while hints of green are the result of iron and chrome.
Some variations of turquoise include “matrix”, a dark web-like effect that occurs when the stone contains pieces of the host rock. The inclusion of matrix can reduce the overall value of a stone, however, some people find this spider web-style pattern appealing.
How to Care for a Turquoise Stone
The lowest ranking of all the December birthstones, turquoise sits between a 5 and a 6 on the Mohs scale. A fickle gem, turquoise is fragile to things like makeup, perfume, and natural oils. The stone can also be negatively impacted by direct sunlight over time.
Treat your turquoise December birthstone jewelry with care and for best results opt to wear the blue stone as earrings or a stylish pendant as opposed to a fashion or engagement ring. To clean turquoise jewelry, place the piece in a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. And be sure to never clean this fragile gem with steam or an ultrasonic cleaner.
How to Wear a December Birthstone
Turquoise, Zircon, and Tanzanite, those born in the month of December hit the jackpot when it comes to gorgeous birthstones. Rock these stunning gems in a variety of ways from a cute pair of studs with a bracelet to match or a sleek pendant that can easily transition from day to night.
While beautiful, the general softness of each of the December birthstones doesn’t make them a great contender when it comes to rings. These stones are easily susceptible to general wear and tear, meaning that you would be better off searching for a different center stone for a fashion or engagement ring.