Almost a year ago, I posted about December’s Blue Zircon. However, I failed to mention that there are two other December birthstones. I hope to rectify it now. YES, December does have a variety of stones it claims as birthstones. The most traditional one of course is Turquoise. The other one is Tanzanite. Each stone is very different from other, so lets not waste any time.
Turquoise is the original birthstone for December. Hydrated copper aluminum phosphate make up this gemstone. Typically found in dry, arid regions. Iran, China, Egypt, and the American Southwest are good examples. Jewelry made with turquoise has been around as long as the Egyptians have been building pyramids. Furthermore, Chinese artisans have crafted with this stone. The Aztecs found many ways to decorate with Turquoise and so did the Native Americans tribes. So you can see this gemstone has a very long history. Other interesting things to know about Turquoise.
Its popularity has ebbed and flowed over the centuries. However, many mines are closing down production due to low yields. The Sleeping Beauty Mine out of Arizona, closed down in 2012. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is a beautiful sky blue color. Because this color is not found anywhere else, it has only gone up in value. If it you get the chance to buy some, do so. It will retain and probably increase in value. Turquoise is a 6 on the Mohs scale. It works well in earrings, pendants, and belts. Additionally, if making a ring, be sure to protect it with a bezel setting.
Oh yes, one word of caution. Oftentimes gem sellers will dye Howlite, a softer stone to blue color and try to sell it as Turquoise. Ask the shop owner if they know where the Turquoise comes from, (specifically, where it is mined). This is important. First, dyed Howlite has a hardness of 3.5. Secondly, you are being sold fake Turquoise. So there you have it. I could go one and on about this marvelous stone but time to switch gears and look at the other December stone…..
One of the most important gemstones of the 20th century. Found in 1967 in northern Tanzania by a Masai tribesman. Since its discovery, Tanzanite has become very popular. If you are wondering why all the fame, it is mainly due to the intense blue color that show hints of purple. In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association added Tanzanite to the birthstone list. This is significant, as it was the first stone added to this list in the last 90 years! Quite an accomplishment, wouldn’t you say? Some people consider Tanzanite to be one of the rarest gemstones on earth. It is a member of the Zoisite family of gemstones and measures 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
What does this mean for a buyer? Consider pendants, and earrings as viable options for this stone. Rings are lovely when surrounded with sparkling diamonds. However, please remember to take precaution in setting this stone. Bezel setting is preferred but this gem can be set in prongs. With a prong setting, consider this type of ring as worn as a cocktail ring. Worn, occasionally, and take care to knock it around. Finally, when compared to buying a Sapphire, Tanzanite is a very great deal! To summarize. December is full of wonderful choices in gemstones. Don’t be shy. Go out and check out the plethora of stones. If you have a December birthday, your options just got more exciting! Happy shopping!