If blue is your favorite colour, the December birthstones are sure to please you!
Let’s start with the most ancient gemstone: Turquoise. Chinese artisans were carving it more than 3,000 years ago. It is known as the national gem of Tibet as well as a stone that promotes health and good fortune.
Along with being a ceremonial gem, it was also a medium of exchange for Native American tribes in the southwestern US.
Turquoise comes in a variety of shades of colour and quality, from blue to greenish-blue to green. It is only found in a few places on earth and usually in a barren region with acidic, copper-rich groundwater.
Bisbee turquoise is one of the most beautiful and sought-after types of turquoise. It can be found in the vicinity of copper mines, located in Bisbee, Arizona. Its unique colour is referred to as “Bisbee Blue”. Today, the mines in Bisbee are closed but some Sleeping Beauty turquoise, another beautiful variety found in Arizona, is still being mined today.
Turquoise has a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6. It can be dyed or chemically enhanced by adding an epoxy or acrylic resin for greater hardness or better color. Your turquoise birthstone can be damaged by acids, and it can be discolored by certain chemicals, cosmetics, and even skin oils or perspiration. It is best to clean it in warm, soapy water.
From very ancient to fairly recent, the second birthstone for December is Tanzanite.
In 1967, a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a transparent, intense violet-blue crystal in an area north of Tanzania. Thinking he had come across a sapphire deposit, he soon found out that he discovered what was to be one of the newest, and rarest, gemstones in the world. Tanzanite is a variety of Zoisite and can only be found in Tanzania. Most tanzanite begins as brownish zoisite that is heat-treated to produce the blue to violet hues that it is so well-known for. Tiffany & Co. became its main distributor and made this stone very popular.
This birthstone ranges from 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Because this stone abrades easily it is best to use warm, soapy water to clean it. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are never recommended for tanzanite.
Last, but not least, Zircon is the third option for a December birthstone. Although blue is the colour for this month’s birthstone, Zircon comes in a variety of colours: green, yellow, orange, red, brown, pink, purple, and colourless. It is commonly heat-treated to produce blue and colorless varieties, as well as orange, yellow and red. Zircon is one of the few coloured stones that have great brilliance and intense fire. This is the reason why it was used as a diamond simulant.
Zircon ranges from 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Clean your zircon using a soft brush and mild soap in warm water. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended for this gemstone.