December Birthstone Tanzanite Zircon Turquoise

Tanzanite December Birthstone

Tanzanite – Lush blue velvet. Rich royal purple. Exotic tanzanite is found in only one place on earth, near majestic Kilimanjaro.

Named for Tanzania, the country where it was discovered in 1967, tanzanite is the blue-to-violet or purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It’s become one of the most popular of colored gemstones.

Found in just one place on earth, tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery. This blue variety of zoisite was named for Tanzania, the country where it was found, by Tiffany & Co. Because crystals show different colors depending on viewing direction, cutters can choose bluish purple or the more favored pure blue or violetish blue hue depending on how much weight they want to retain from the rough.

BIRTHSTONES & ANNIVERSARIES

Tanzanite is a birthstone for December, along with zircon, turquoise, and blue topaz. Tanzanite is also the gem for a 24th anniversary.

MINERAL: Zoisite

MOHS HARNESS: 6 to 7

Tanzanite Birthstone December
Photographed from the GIA Collection for the CIBJO project. Collection# 30881, 26.63 ct round brilliant cut vivid blue tanzanite, cut in Idar Oberstein; Collection# 35079, 3.71 ct round brilliant light blue tanzanite from the Dr. Eduard J. Gubelin collection; Collection# 35038, 11.18 ct cushion cut blue tanzanite from the Dr. Eduard J. Gubelin collection, and Collection# 35078, 3.41 ct pale lavender oval cut tanzanite from the Dr. Eduard J. Gubelin collection.

Tanzanite is relatively new to the colored stone galaxy. As the most common story of the tanzanite mining boom goes, in 1967 a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense blue crystals weathering out of the earth in Merelani, an area of northern Tanzania. He alerted a local fortune hunter named Manuel d’Souza, who quickly registered four mining claims.

D’Souza hoped that he’d been shown a new sapphire deposit. Instead, the deposit contained one of the newest of the world’s gems.

Within a short time, 90 more claims appeared in the same 20-square-mile area. No one was quite sure what the beautiful crystals were, but everyone wanted to lay claim to the profits they were certain to produce. The new gem would eventually be known as tanzanite, and it would, at times, rival the Big 3 in popularity.

Tiffany & Company recognized its potential as an international seller and made a deal to become its main distributor. Tiffany named the gem after the country it came from, and promoted it with a big publicity campaign in 1968. Almost overnight, tanzanite was popular with leading jewelry designers and other gem professionals, as well as with customers who had an eye for beautiful and unusual gems.

The instant popularity of this transparent blue to violet to purple gem was tied to its vivid color, high clarity, and potential for large cut stones.

 

Tanzanite Birthstone December
Tanzanite, “carribean green blue” unheated.

 

Tanzanite Birthstone December
Photographed by Kathryn Barnett Fort at Skatells Manufacturing Jewelers

Zircon

Zircon is a colorful gem with high refraction and fire that’s unfairly confused with cubic zirconia.

Optical properties make it bright and lustrous. Best known for its brilliant blue hues; also comes in warm autumnal yellows and reddish browns, as well as red and green hues.

Colorless zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire. These zircon properties are close enough to the properties of diamond to account for centuries of confusion between the two gems.

Zircon occurs in an array of colors. Its varied palette of yellow, green, red, reddish brown, and blue hues makes it a favorite among collectors as well as informed consumers.

BIRTHSTONES & ANNIVERSARIES

Zircon is a birthstone for the month of December, along with turquoise and tanzanite.

MINERAL: Zircon

MOHS HARNESS: 6 to 7.5 (low to high)

 


Turquoise

Azure sky, robin’s egg blue: Vivid shades of turquoise define the color that’s named after this gem.

Ancient peoples from Egypt to Mesoamerica and China treasured this vivid blue gem. It’s a rare phosphate of copper that only forms in the earth’s most dry and barren regions.

Turquoise is found in only a few places on earth: dry and barren regions where acidic, copper-rich groundwater seeps downward and reacts with minerals that contain phosphorus and aluminum. The result of this sedimentary process is a porous, semitranslucent to opaque compound of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate.

BIRTHSTONES & ANNIVERSARIES

Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for the month of December and the gem of the 11th anniversary.

MINERAL: Zoisite

MOHS HARNESS: 6 to 7

Turquoise Birthstone DecemberTurquoise Birthstone December

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HEALING POWER OF GEMSTONES

According to folklore and stories throughout history, many gemstones are thought to offer mystic healing to its wearer.  So whether shopping for a gift of fine jewelry, or considering a gift for yourself along the way, consider the healing properties of these fine gemstones. Birthday gemstones may not bake your cookies and wrap your gifts for you, but they will make you feel better while doing so.

Tanzanite – Tanzanite is  called a “stone of magic” that helps with spiritual awareness and psychic insight. It is also sometimes called the “workaholic’s stone”.  This is because it helps you slow down and take it easy. This in turn, brings success in more areas of life. It relieves stress and depression, and enhances composure, poise, and harmony. Tanzanite is also said to transmute negativity.

Zircon – power to relieve pain, whet the appetite, protect travelers from disease and injury, to ensure a warm welcome, and to prevent nightmares guaranteeing a deep, tranquil sleep.

Turquoise – A gemstone steeped in lore and tradition, Turquoise is a healing and balancing stone. Turquoise is a powerful crystal for relieving stress. It is also said to protect against pollution in the environment, and to bring abundance.  Turquoise is said also help speed the healing process, and is known as a master healer stone.