December's Birthstone(s): Turquoise, Tanzanite, and Blue Zircon December 02 2013

While most months have one, and some two, December has three birthstones: Turquoise, Blue Zircon, and Tanzanite. Though all in various shades of blue, these stones share little else in common.

Turquoise is one of the earliest stones to be used in jewelry; from the tombs of ancient Egypt to other ancient burial sights in countries like Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and other places in Central America. In America, it has a very rich history among the Native Americans with its role in ornamental pieces for jewelry and ceremonies. It comes in various shades of green and blue, which depends on the different types of minerals in the rock around the Turquoise. You may have seen them with black veins running throughout, and these are a result of oxide staining from inclusions in the rock fragments. While there are many superstitions associated with the Turquoise, the most common belief is that it symbolizes success and prosperity to the wearer.

The Blue Zircon made its appearance for the first time in the 1920s. According to Gems and Crystals by Anna S. Sofianides and George E. Harlow, locals in Thailand who heated the stones in an oxygen-free environment made the discovery. This process resulted in unattractive brown zircons yielding a dazzling blue color, and therefore a new market for zircons. The most rare zircons are red, though they appear in colors ranging from colorless (used to imitate diamonds) to orange, brown, and yellow. Though they may imitate diamonds, zircons are actually rather brittle and can be easily chipped and broken.

Tanzanite was added as a birthstone for December on October 30th, 2002. Unlike the other two birthstones, it is found in only one country in the world: Tanzania. A local Masai shepherd first discovered it there in 1967. The stones appear in a few shades of blue, the most common being a blue-violet hue. Many Tanzanites have been slightly heat treated to magnify their already stunning color.

December babies, consider yourselves lucky! You have three beautiful gems to choose from when looking for jewelry with your birthstone. All have different qualities and appearances, and all are available here at T.K. Anderson Designs as loose stones or already set in to gorgeous pieces. Pictured below from left to right are Turquoise, Blue Zircon, two Tanzanites, and another Turquoise.