There are actually thirteen different stones listed as birthstone for December! Included are turquoise, blue topaz, tanzanite, zircon, lapis, onyx, amethyst, ruby and chrysoprase. In the U.S. today we generally recognizes tanzanite, turquoise and blue topaz. All three are very different form the on other, but have one thing in common – the unique blue color that makes them perfect for many kinds of fashionable and creative jewelry.
The most recognizable birthstone for December is blue topaz, a variation of the common gem, topaz. Topaz becomes blue when it is heated, either naturally or artificially. The heating process results in three shades of blue that varies in intensity. The more intense the blue, the more valuable, although the deepest shade, London Blue, is not produced in nature and is always enhanced. It is believed by some that the wearer of this birthstone gains a pleasant disposition and patient attitude. Blue topaz is also a symbol of fidelity and love, and has been said to cure a variety of diseases.
Turquoise is one of the earliest known stones to be used in jewelry and found in tombs dating back as early as 5500 B.C. The rulers of ancient Egypt treasured the turquoise. In fact, the iconic burial mask of King Tut is inlaid with turquoise,
among other gems. Long before it was denoted as the birthstone of December, turquoise was treasured by the Indian, Chinese, Aztecs, Persians, and Mesopotamians. Native Americans have been using the gemstone to create jewelry and ornamental pieces for the past several thousand years.In recent years it has become an extremely popular choice for designer fashion jewelry as cabochons and the rough stone. Turquoise is considered by some to be a symbol of success and good fortune. Found in weathered igneous rock that contains copper minerals, the turquoise crystallizes in veins and nodules. A sky blue shade in turquoise is due to the presence of copper, while a more greenish color is the result of the presence of more iron. The most valuable turquoise is the intense sky blue color – like the color of a robin’s egg.
In October 2002, Tanzanite was added to the official birthstone list by the American Gem Trade Association as an additional birthstone for December. This blue-lavender stone primarily mined in foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, deep in the
heart of Tanzania was discovered only in 1967 and has since been associated with the virtues of contentment and understanding. Tanzanite has a unique attribute called trichroism – which means that it can appear deep blue, violet or burgundy depending on the orientation of the crystal structure and the cutting of the stone. You may be surprised that when mined, tanzanite is usually a deep red and once it is heated to 600 degrees, it gradually transforms into a violet blue. The incredible sparkle and intense color make tanzanite one of our favorite gems for McCaskill & Company jewelry.