December’s birthstones offer three ways to combat the blues of winter: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them are best known for their gorgeous shades of blue. These gems range from one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite), to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to the oldest gemstone on earth (zircon).
Tanzanite is a newer stone and was added to the official birthstone list in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association as an additional birthstone for December.
Tanzania, a country rich in folklore, boasts an ancient story that the local Maasai saw a bolt of lightning come down from the sky and strike all the rocks on the ground turning them to a shimmering blue – Tanzanite.
The gemstone was discovered by Manuel d’Souza in the Mirerani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania, in a very small mining area (approximately 7 km long and 2 km wide) near the Mirerani Hills.Tanzanite is believed to be a stone of good fortune, and provide wisdom and balance.
Tanzanite is the preferred gift to give on the 24th wedding anniversary and is sometimes called the “Workoholic’s Stone” because it is said to aid in slowing down, relieving stress and promoting composure and harmony.
Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth, dating back more than 4.4 billion years. Found in the Earth’s crust, it’s common in most sands and sedimentary deposits, as well as metamorphic rocks and crystallized magma. The name is thought to derive from the Persian zargun meaning gold-hued.
Zircon occurs in many colors, including reddish brown, yellow, green, blue, gray and colorless.
In the Middle Ages, this gem was thought to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits, and promote riches, honor, and wisdom.
Admired since ancient times, turquoise is known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color.
The word turquoise dates back to the 13th century, drawing from the French expression pierre tourques, which referenced the “Turkish stone” brought to Europe from Turkey.
Native Americans believed Turquoise to have many protective and healing properties including a positive healing energy, good fortune, and strength. Other cultures believe Turquoise enhances creativity, communication, serenity and wisdom. Turquoise is also believed to foster empathy, loyalty, courage, confidence, and personal power. A dream of Turquoise is thought to signify prosperity.
Turquoise is the gift to give on the 11th wedding anniversary and symbolizes friendship and brings peace to the home.