The month of December gives its children a choice of three stones that match the wintery blues of the season. December’s stones are Tanzanite, Turquoise and Zircon (not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia).
A beautiful deep blue stone first discovered by Tiffany & Co. in 1967 at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, tanzanite is one of the world’s rarest stones and prized for the intense blues it presents. There is only one Tanzanite source in the world in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania. When finally marketed in 1969 by Tiffany & Co., the stone became extremely popular in a relatively short amount of time. The biggest Tanzanite stone is set in a tiara called the “Queen of Kilimanjaro”. The large brilliant tanzanite is accented with diamond and green garnet pave patterns, and valued at over 737 carats.
Gem-quality Tanzanite has to be handled very carefully due to its relative softness and perfect cleavage in one direction. It is often used in bracelets and necklaces, but seldom used in rings due to scratching and its tendency to fracture after a sharp bang.
Zircon, not to be confused with the synthetic Cubic Zirconia, is a natural stone found in an enormous range of colors in South Asia, mostly in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is valued for its hardness, luster and fire, and so can be used as a natural diamond simulant. Though Zircon is found in many colors, the most popular are the ice-blue and caribbean-blue varieties as well as the colorless. According to folklore, Zircon was worn to have sound, nightmare-less sleep and promote wealth and wisdom.
When buying Zircon jewelry, consult a gemologist to make sure the stone does not present strong double refraction, effect caused by a beam of light being split into two, each in a different direction. Double refraction can make the stone seem very blurry. Also as about possibel heat treatment as it may prevent natural Zircon stones from losing its luster, one of its defining characteristics.
Turquoise is often credited to being the oldest known discovered gemstone, found in burial plots dating back to over 5,000 B.C.E. In the Ancient world, Turquoise was used to show status and wealth as well as protect the wearer from evil spirits and promote good health. It was used as a stone of prominence in many cultures, most notably by the ancient Egyptians, and has since gone in and out of fashion often. It is most popular in the American Southwest, where it is often paired with red coral and silver, making for exquisite masterpieces.
Turquoise is very common and ranges in color from sky-blue to robin’s egg blue to blue-green. It may also present foreign mineral veins or be completely clear. Turquoise is most popularly used as beads, cabochons, carvings and inlays. Due to its availability, affordability and durability, Turquoise jewelry is a great addition to any collection and makes a lovely accent to chunky sweater for warmth and style.