Jewelry Guide

December Birthstone – Tanzanite, Turquoise OR Zircon?

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If you’re a December born baby, you have three birthstones to choose from – tanzanite, turquoise and zircon. These three gemstones could not be more different from each other, but the one common thread between the three is their color – blue.

The December birthstones are among the most beautiful of all gemstones. They’re very different from each other, with each having distinct pros and cons, which means that you have a wide variety of options.  

Let’s take a look at the three December birthstones, how they came to be associated with this month and their properties and meanings.

We’ll also discuss which of the three is the best.

Why Three Birthstones?

The reason there are three birthstones for December is a result of the two birthstone lists – traditional and modern.

Traditionally, turquoise was the birthstone for December but the modern birthstone list, compiled in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers, included tanzanite or blue zircon. As a result, all three birthstones are now associated with this month.

A Quick Look at the December Birthstones

All December birthstone side by side information

  1. Tanzanite

Tanzanite ring

Tanzanite Cushion Cut Diamond. Check Price Here.

Tanzanite studs

Tanzanite Stud Earrings. Check Price Here.

Of the three gemstones, tanzanite is the rarest and the newest. It was discovered around 50 years ago in Tanzania, in a mine near the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Natural supply of Tanzanite (which is named after the country of its origin) is so limited and restricted to only this mine, that experts believe that primary sources of Tanzanite will run out in the next few decades.

The beauty of a Tanzanite can rival that of blue sapphire. These stones range in shade from light to vivid blue, with most featuring the secondary hue of purple.  Tanzanite can be cut into any popular gemstone shape and can be set into any type of jewelry. However, it’s not a very hard gemstone so care must be taken to ensure that your Tanzanite jewelry lasts for a long time.

Tanzanite has a rich and luxurious look but at a much lower price point than similar looking stones like sapphire. Because of its rarity and possible future collectible status, tanzanite is an excellent gemstone to add to your collection.

  1. Turquoise

Turquoise ring

Turquoise Eternity Ring by K Best Design. Check Price Here.

Turquoise pendant

Turquoise Pendant by Adita Gold. Check Price Here.

Turquoise is unlike most other gemstones and it’s stunning color is so distinct that it needs its own name: turquoise. Dating back to the 1200s, turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones used in jewelry. It has been highly sought after around the world, from ancient Egypt to the Americas.

Turquoise was used by Native Americans and was believed to have many mystical properties, including bringing good fortune and luck and warding off evil. The name turquoise comes from the phrase stone from Turkey as most turquoise came to Europe through Turkey. Some turquoise stones are completely blue while others feature dark veins running through them, which is called the matrix, creating unique and intriguing patterns.

Turquoise is very fragile, and because of its porous nature, it can fracture when subject to hard blows. Turquoise can discolour or damage when exposed to heat and chemicals. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners for turquoise but instead opt for a mild soap and a soft cloth to remove dirt and grime. Also, avoid submerging turquoise in water for extended periods of time.

  1. Zircon

Zircon ring

Zircon Ring by Envero. Check Price Here.

Blue zircon studs

Zircon Studs by Studio Jan Rose. Check Price Here.

Zircon is the oldest gemstone dating back to around 4.4 billion years ago… just let that sink in a for a bit. This makes it a timeless classic and one of the most special rocks out there.

Blue zircon is the most popular of zircon colors, although the gemstone comes in a wide variety of shades from black to colorless. This means that you have endless options to choose from if you opt for a zircon birthstone. Colorless zircon is often used as a diamond substitute because of its natural sparkle and luster but some other excellent options include brown, green, red and orange.

Zircon is fairly durable and can be worn on a daily basis with care. Again, use a gentle soap and non-abrasive materials to clean zircon and avoid steam and ultrasonic cleaners. Most blue zircon on the market has been heat treated to obtain this color and while this is a permanent treatment, if zircon is exposed to strong sunlight, this could result in the color fading or reverting back to the original color.

Zircon is sometimes confused with cubic zirconia – but there’s nothing similar between these two materials. Zircon is a natural gemstone, while cubic zirconia is a man made diamond simulant.

Which is the Most Popular December Birthstone?

Of these three stones, turquoise is probably the most popular due to its long history and unique color. While there are other gemstones that can imitate zircon (e.g. aquamarine, citrine, sapphire) and tanzanite (e.g. blue sapphire), turquoise remains quite distinct with no other natural gemstone looking quite exactly like it.

There’s no ‘best’ option of these three stones, as each is quite different from the other, and which you choose depends entirely on your personal preferences.

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