December’s Birthstones: Tanzanite, Zircon, Turquoise

December offers not one, not two, but THREE birthstone options! And what a diverse trio they are.

Tanzanite is exceedingly rare and among the newer gemstones discovered.

While tanzanite was only just discovered in the 1960s, another of December’s birthstones, zircon, is one of the oldest known minerals on Earth.

The third December birthstone, turquoise, has been mined for thousands of years.

JUMP TO: Tanzanite | Zircon | Turquoise

Tanzanite: December’s Rare Birthstone

Tanzanite is among the rarest gemstones on Earth, making it among the most expensive.

Mined only in one place in the world, studies have indicated that Tanzanite deposits could be depleted in as little as 20-30 years.

Tanzanite, one of December's three birthstones.

Tanzanite Color

Tanzanite is perhaps best known as a bright, intense blue-violet stone that appears similar to sapphire, but its color depends largely on how it is cut and the angle at which it is viewed.

Less-expensive specimens of Tanzanite will appear more violet and purple, while the deeper blue gems are typically the most expensive.

Tanzanite Significance

Tanzanite is said to promote compassion, peace, and harmony.

The gemstone has also been associated with majesty, luck, positive energy, and a sense of heightened perception.

Tanzanite History

Unlike many gemstones that have been prized for centuries, Tanzanite wasn’t wasn’t discovered in commercial quantities until the late 1960s and wasn’t designated among December’s birthstones until 2002.

Tanzanite Facts

Tanzanite is named for its geographic location — the gem is only mined in Northern Tanzania, an East African country that borders the Indian Ocean.

Tanzanite was discovered in Tanzania in 1967.

More About Tanzanite

Zircon: Many-Colored December Birthstone

Not to be confused with cubic zirconia, Zircon is a gem that occurs in a variety of colors.

Zircon can produce flashes of multi-colored light, known as “fire,” the same optical effect for which diamonds are known.

Uncut zircon gemstones, one of December's birthstones.

Zircon Color

Zircon comes in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown, and colorless.

“Hyacinth” or “starlight” zircon is a red, orange, or yellow hue.

Zircon Significance

Zircon is thought to bring about good fortune, often used around the world as a lucky charm.

In the Middle Ages, people believed zircon could promote wisdom and wealth.

Zircon History

Zircon is the oldest known mineral on Earth — dating back more than 4.4 billion years! — and has been mined for more than 2,000 years overall.

Zircon was a popular gemstone in the Middle Ages and in the Victorian era.

Zircon Facts

Zircon contains traces of uranium, and scientists have used it to learn more about the formation of the earth.

Zircon's name comes from the Persian word "zarigan," which means "gold-colored."

Zircon is mined in many parts of the world, with Australia, South America, China and Indonesia among the more prolific producers of the gemstone in recent years.

Zircon has been mined in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam for hundreds of years, and is also found in India, Brazil and the United States.

More About Zircon

Turquoise: December’s Oldest Birthstone

Both a gemstone and a color, Turquoise features recognizable bluish-green hues that have been mined and prized for thousands of years.

Turquoise has a long history that includes multiple cultures throughout the world.

Turquoise December Birthstone

Turquoise Color

Turquoise features an iconic mixture of blue and green, a color that now shares a name with the gemstone.

Also known as Persian blue, turquoise gemstones can lean more toward blue or green, depending on the specimen, and they often feature veins of copper color.

Turquoise Significance

Turquoise has had many associations in different cultures throughout history, including those of wealth and success.

The gemstone is considered by some to be lucky, bringing good fortune to those who wear it.

Aztecs and Ancient Egyptians both prized turquoise as a sacred stone, used for royalty or religious ceremonies.

Turquoise History

Turquoise is one of the first gemstones ever mined, with records indicating ancient Egyptians were mining and treasuring the gemstone as far back as 4,000 BC.

Turquoise has been mined in Iran for more than 2,000 years. It was prized by Aztecs and Mixtecs in Mesoamerica, and is crafted into ornate jewelry by Native Americans today.

Turquoise Facts

Turquoise is mined in dry regions all over the world, with large mines in the Southwestern United States, specifically in Arizona.

Turquoise is also mined in the U.S. in New Mexico, California, Colorado and Nevada, among other places.

Worldwide, quality Turquoise is found in Mexico, Iran, Egypt, China, Africa and many other countries.

Turquoise is a traditional gift for the 11th wedding anniversary.

More About Turquoise

Different specimens of turquoise, one of December's birthstones

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