December Birthstone

6 December 2023

Here we are at the last month of the year and for those born this month, they probably lose a few gifts because of all the holidays.  What they are not cheated out of is a birthstone since there are three to choose from.



This gemstone can appear somewhat blurred in greens and blues and frequently has lines running through it, which are actually remnants of the rock that form the stone.  It was a favorite of pharaohs and  the Chinese.  We are most familiar with it from the American southwest.

Beliefs include the guarantee of health and good fortune, including preventing falls.  Hindu mystics felt that seeing turquoise after viewing the new moon would ensure wealth beyond belief.  The Apache thought if you followed a rainbow to its end, you would locate the source of turquoise.  They also felt that by attaching a piece of turquoise to their weapon it provided better accuracy.  Pueblo believed that the turquoise color came from the sky.  Hopi felt it was produced by lizards darting across the desert floor.

It is the gem of an 11th anniversary.

It has been mined in Iran and this area produces a stone of intense blue.  In the United States Arizona and Nevada are the leading producers outshining New Mexico.  However, China is now the largest exporter of this stone.

Some turquoise is treated to improve appearance and durability through dyeing or adding epoxy or acrylic resin.  However, it can be damaged by acid or discolored when exposed to some chemicals, cosmetics, or even skin oil or perspiration.  Clean with warm, soapy water but never use steam or ultrasonic cleaners.



Not discovered until the 20th century, blue stones found in the United Republic of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika and Zanzibar that merged in 1964) in east Africa in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.  In 1962 prospectors began showing up with zoisite, which was renamed in honor of its country of origin.

Its color is velvety and ranges from rich blue to violet.  It is vivid and has a high clarity, perfect for large stones when cut properly.  Most of these stones begin as the brown zoisite and then heat treated to create the blue or purple colors.

It is recommended as a gift for a 24th wedding anniversary.

It is resistant to normal heat, light, and ordinary chemicals but may crack at high temperatures or a sudden change in temperature.  It is not recommended for daily wear like a ring but as a pendant, broach, or earrings it is perfectly fine.

Clean it with warm, soapy water but avoid ultrasonic and steam.



Now we come to zircon.  The name may have come from the Arabic zarkun (cinnabar or vermilion) or from the Persian zargun (gold color).  However, its colors range from red, orange, yellow, brown, green, blue, and colorless.  The clear is known for its flashes of light, jewelers call “fire,” and is often confused with a diamond.

In the Middle Ages, this gem was thought to cause deep sleep and to ward of evil.  For the Hindu, it is part of the nine gems of Navaratna, which, when working in union, bring the wearer wisdom and good health.

You may recall that Sri Lanka is a source for many of the birthstones we have explored, and it is the same with zircon.  Australia will give us yellow-brown, orange-brown, pink, and purple.  It can also be found in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia.  It is often found near sapphire deposits.

This stone is frequently treated with heat, so if you need to clean it only use a soft brush and mild soap with warm water.  Prolonged exposure to bright light will probably cause it to change color.  It can also be easily damaged during active pursuits, so take care.

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