December's Birthstones FAQs
Here are answers to more frequently asked questions (FAQs) about December's four birthstones: blue topaz, blue zircon, tanzanite and turquoise.
1) Blue Topaz
Did you know... Topaz is known as a "cooling" crystal because it has a unique ability to cool down hot temperatures?
Can topaz be in colors other than blue?
Topaz does come in other colors other than blue. For example, precious topaz (golden orange and brown) is one of the birthstones for November. But when choosing birthstones for December, we recommend staying with blue topaz as it’s the tradition.
There are several different shades of blue topaz to choose for your birthstone. Sky blue is the color of those perfect cloudless days, with a faint bluish-white sparkle. Swiss blue is just a little bolder, bringing tropical waters to mind. And last but not least is London blue. The darker green-blue gives these topaz a pensive and elegant touch.
What’s the history of blue topaz?
Many people believe that topaz got its name from the Island of Topazios, a small island in the Red sea that supposedly produced topaz. However, as time passed, geology revealed that these were not the gems they thought they were. Regardless, the name stuck.
Now, they are considered one of the many birthstones of December, alongside tanzanite, turquoise and blue zircon.
What is the symbolic meaning of blue topaz?
Some of the most prominent spiritual meanings for topaz are honesty, abundance and forgiveness. Topaz is also a gemstone associated with good fortune, good health and love. With a list of positive meanings like that, doesn’t it make you wonder why everyone doesn’t have their own topaz?
Some of the wilder historical claims are that topaz can break magic spells and cure madness. Now, those are likely just myth, but it really adds depth and mystery to this December birthstone.
Physical Properties of Blue Topaz
For more facts and information about the characteristics of topaz, check out the Topaz Gemopedia page.
Topaz has an eight on the Mohs scale, so it can be trusted to last in jewelry if you treat it right.
Something worth mentioning is that blue topaz isn’t common to be found naturally. In fact, most blue topaz is colorless topaz that is heat-treated and irradiated to give it a variety of blue colors, like sky, Swiss or London blue. But that doesn’t make it any less of a beautiful gemstone.
Healing Properties of Blue Topaz
Topaz is known for how it recharges and motivates, while also healing and soothing pain. A peaceful, revitalizing gemstone, topaz is perfect for starting to a new day with the right mindset. Some say this birthstone can help with digestion and stimulating your metabolism. Topaz is also said to give the wearer inner strength, intelligence, beauty and a long life.
2) Blue Zircon
Did you know... Zircon is found in various colors, but its color can be changed by heat treatment?
Is zircon the same as cubic zirconia?
Although these two materials, zircon and cubic zirconia, are frequently confused, they are really quite different. Cubic zirconia is not a December birthstone. It’s actually a man made diamond simulant. While natural cubic zirconia has been found, everything on the market is synthetic as the crystals found are too small for jewelry usage.
Zircon, on the other hand, is one of the oldest gemstones discovered to date. It’s naturally occurring and has been admired in many ancient civilizations. The confusion between these two gems increases because of zircon’s use as a diamond simulant. The stone, aside from its hardness and structure, has a shine similar to diamond. Zircon comes in colorless varieties as well as an array of other colors, including blue zircon, one of several breathtaking birthstones for December.
What’s the history of blue zircon?
Zircon’s been playing its part in history long before it became a birthstone for December. It may just be the oldest mineral on earth as a gemological find in Australia proved. The zircon found is believed to be 4.4 billion years old.
The Old Testament mentions zircon throughout the books, and in the book of Exodus, zircon is one of the many gemstones adorning Aaron’s breastplate.
Throughout history, zircon was admired but not to the degree of diamonds, emeralds or rubies. The value and beauty of zircon did not escape the notice of George Kunz, gem buyer for Tiffany. With an attempted name change to “starlite,” he tried to bring blue zircon into the spotlight. Although he was largely unsuccessful, the people who discover this December birthstone beauty are not often disappointed.
What is the symbolic meaning of blue zircon?
In the Middle Ages, it was thought that zircon was capable of giving someone a good night’s rest as well as good fortune. The luck associated with zircon is not always strictly “luck”to some. Many say that zircon is a gemstone that promotes prudence and discipline, which in turn, yields positive outcomes. In turn, this December birthstone has come to represent happiness, positive energy and spiritual protection.
Physical Properties of Blue Zircon
For more facts and information about the characteristics of zircon, check out the Zircon Gemopedia page.
Zircon has a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.5. It has a high dispersion rate and fire that can be similar to diamonds.
While zircon as a December’s birthstone is primarily blue zircon, other colors of zircon are equally beautiful. Reds, yellows, greens and even colorless varieties are used in jewelry, but blue zircon tends to be the most popular shade. Although most zircon is natural, much blue zircon is actually heat treated to give it the well-loved blue coloration.
Healing Properties of Zircon
Zircon is the gemstone for positivity. Said to remove negative energy while promoting prosperity and honor, zircon might be just what you need for your collection. Stress can be a major cause for discomfort, either physical or mental. Zircon is claimed to give you the self confidence to make wise decisions, thus there’s less to be stressed about at the end of the day.
Zircon is also said to help you align your chakras, allowing them to work together in harmony. How’s that for a birthstone?
Did you know... The most valuable tanzanite is a deep, saturated blue?
What’s the history of tanzanite?
Found in 1967, tanzanite was discovered in Tanzania, its country of origin. Manuel de Souza, a gem collector, stumbled upon some tanzanite. He first believed it to be sapphire, but closer inspection revealed this stone was softer than sapphire. It had to be a new, one-of-a-kind gemstone, one of the most astonishing gem discoveries since alexandrite.
Tanzanite, to this day, is only found in the hills of Merelani in northern Tanzania. Since tanzanite can only be found in a five-mile strip of land, this December birthstone is actually one thousand times rarer than diamond!
Tanzanite was added to the list of birthstones for December in 2002. The color changing ability of this extraordinarily rare gemstone has given tanzanite well-deserved popularity and attention over the years.
What is the symbolic meaning of tanzanite?
Tanzanite is new to the gemstone world and even newer to the December birthstone group. However, over the years, tanzanite has come into its own symbolic meaning.
Known as a compassionate and tranquil gemstone, tanzanite is said to promote thoughtfulness in situations with conflict. For this reason, tanzanite is also beloved as a gemstone representative of wisdom and self control.
Physical Properties of Tanzanite
For more facts and information about the characteristics of tanzanite, check out the Tanzanite Gemopedia page.
Tanzanite, also known as zoisite, has a 6 to a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. That makes it not quite as durable as diamonds or sapphires, but take care of this spectacular gemstone and it’ll keep on shining bright.
Tanzanite is best described as a bluish-violet stone, but when tilted to be shown in different lighting, the colors dance and change before your eyes. In warmer lighting, it’s said to be closer to violet while cool lighting accentuates the blue tones.
But in order to gain this stunning color-change ability, the mineral zoisite, must be heated to high temperatures. This heating process, whether natural or done in a lab, causes zoisite to change from a dull orange brown into a tantalizing tanzanite.
Healing Properties of Tanzanite
Tanzanite is said to have many amazing physical and mental healing properties. This brilliant stone is a cleansing stone that is said to detoxify the blood, relieve your mind of fears and revitalize your life. The cool blues and purples of Tanzanite speak to the truth into your heart. What better way to reconnect with reality than gazing into this dazzling December birthstone?
Did you know... Turquoise's name is derived from the French word turquois meaning 'Turkish'?
What’s the history of turquoise?
Turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones used in jewelry. Historians have been able to trace turquoise’s use in jewelry to 4000 BC, which means that it’s not just us here in the modern day admiring these stones.
Beloved by the Aztecs, turquoise was believed to be the favorite of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind. In 1519, the king of the Aztecs presented the explorer Cortez with beautiful turquoise, sure that he was Quetzalcoatl in human form.
Turquoise also plays a valuable role in Native American culture, especially in the American southwest. These traditional values are still expressed through southwestern jewelry styles today, including the ornate carving of turquoise into beads in the shape of various animals.
What is the symbolic meaning of turquoise?
Some in the past have connected rainbows with the magical appearance of turquoise. After a rainstorm, following the end of the rainbow and digging through the wet soil was the way to find turquoise.
It only makes sense then that this birthstone for December would have associations with luck, good fortune and friendship. It’s also said to protect from evil making it a popular choice in spiritual jewelry. Some even think that turquoise can help one predict danger or encourage people to fall in love.
Turquoise is also the national gem of Tibet. In Tibetian Buddist’s prayer bead necklaces called “malas,” turquoise are symbolic of spiritual journeys and wisdom.
Physical Properties of Turquoise
For more facts and information about the characteristics of turquoise, check out the Turquoise Gemopedia page.
Turquoise doesn’t have the crystalline structure of most gemstones. What this December birthstone lacks in clarity and sparkle it makes up for in bold green-blue tones that capture attention wherever they’re shown.
A popular focal piece in southwestern style, turquoise has been incorporated into decor and jewelry for centuries. Some turquoise contains matrices, which are delicate lines that spread across the gemstone giving it depth and character. Others are pure and smooth and, when polished, it looks like a piece of the sky has fallen down to earth.
Turquoise is in the middle of the Mohs hardness scale with a 5 to a 6 rating.
Healing Properties of Turquoise
Turquoise is known to be a stone for purification. Physically, it’s said to be anti-inflammatory, which relieves pain from many ailments like joint pain, cramping and stabilizing. With turquoise, many believe you can boost your immune health and regeneration of tissue.
Spiritually, this stone is lauded by a few, saying that it dispels negative energy while aligning your chakras. As a purification stone, it can supposedly ward against harsh emotional influences, assisting with mental ailments like depression, exhaustion and panic attacks. The colors of green and blue often mingle together in turquoise to create a calming effect, which is thought to facilitate peaceful introspection and creative problem solving.
December Birthstones Jewelry and Gifts
Shopping for someone with a December birthday in your life? Don’t worry - although all of December’s birthstones are blue, it doesn’t mean you’ll have a blue christmas. Bring some birthday cheer with tasteful tanzanite and tantalizing turquoise. Or try on some trendy blue topaz or blue zircon jewelry. With everything from bracelets, rings, necklace and more to choose from, you’re sure to find something sparkling to bring a smile to your friends and family with December birthdays!