The December Triumvirate – Turquoise, Zircon and Tanzanite. Three of the most significant and spectacular stones of all Birthstones.
December Birthstone Meaning, Significance and Symbology
The turquoise, a lovely blue-green gemstone, is one of the oldest stones used in Talismans and Amulets in ancient times. The stone was also the symbol of wealth and prosperity in many ancient cultures. Qualities like strength, sensitivity, connection to the spiritual realm and protection against evil are attributed to the turquoise. The gemstone is also a symbol of friendship, peace and good fortune.
The Zircon, second December Birthstone, is considered the symbol of purity, chastity, integrity and dignity. The stone offers protection to the wearer against Evil, enemies, negative energy, illness and energy. The stone is believed to garner a warm response wherever the wearer goes. Zircon is believed to possess healing properties and has long been used as an antidote to improve digestion. The stone also has healing abilities, bringing restful sleep and tranquillity. The stone also brings honor and wisdom to the wearer.
December is blessed with three birthstones, the third being the rare, eternal, spectacular Tanzanite. The ancients believe that the gemstone offers wearers a special pathway to the spiritual realm, activates Chakras from the heart and is a stone that brings visions to the wearer. Many believe that the tanzanite forces the wearer to tell the truth, redeeming his honor and integrity. The gemstone also enhances compassion and promotes tranquillity in the mind and body of those around the wearer. According to legend, the Celtic chieftains used tanzanite in a ritual designed to select the new leader. Tanzanite – Once The Underdog Now Stacking Its Claim.
Interesting Facts About the December Birthstone
The turquoise is a scared gemstone, revered by the Native Americans. The gemstone was engraved with animals and birds scared to the tribe. The carved stones were placed on the tombs of the leaders and tribesmen to enable a smooth pathway to the heavens, and guard the dead. The stone was also used by healers to cure a number of ailments, and by warriors to ensure true aim. Esteemed Stone Of The Old And New World.
An interesting myth surrounds the zircon. According to Jewish legend, an angel was sent to the Garden of Eden, charged with watching over Adam and Eve. The angel was called Zircon. The stone has come to be associated with purity, loyalty, honor and chastity since then.
The tanzanite, though a relatively new discovery, has enjoyed its time in the limelight since the movie, The Titanic was released in 1997. The blockbuster movie, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, featured a prominent heart shaped tanzanite pendant necklace surrounded by diamonds. The necklace was christened ‘Heart f The Ocean’. According to legend, the Masai cattle herders first noticed the tanzanite about 30 years ago, after a fire caused by a lightning strike burned large forests in Tanzania. The herders noticed that the brown zoiscite crystals had turned a brilliant blue-purple color, causing them to believe that tanzanite was created by the heavens and transported to Earth by the passage of lightning. The tanzanite is an ideal gift for a couple’s twenty fourth anniversary, although the reasons are unclear.
Etymology Of The December Birthstone
The name turquoise is derived from the French adjective, ‘ Turqueise’ or ‘Pierre Turqueise’, meaning ‘Turkish stone’. The stone was believed to have been first brought to Europe from Turkestan or the Sinai Peninsula, a Turkish dominion.
The Zircon derives its name from the German ‘Zirkon’, Arabic ‘Zarqun’ or the Persian ‘Zargun’. The Arabic and Persian names depict the colors of the zircon, cinnabar and bright red, or gold-colored respectively. Zircon is the new nomenclature for the Jacinth, previous name of the gemstone.
The Tanzanite is a violet gemstone, christened ‘Tanzanite’ by Henry B.Platt, vice president of Tiffany & Co. since the stone was discovered in the African nation Tanzania. Zircon Takes Its Place As A December Birthstone
Scientific Make Up – Composition Of The December Birthstone
The Turquoise gemstone is an opaque, blue-green mineral, a hydrous phosphate of aluminium and copper. The stone is formed by the action of percolating acidic aqueous solutions by the weathering and oxidation of pre-existing minerals. Climatic factors play a major role in the formation of the Zircon. The stone is found in arid regions, in cavities and fractures of altered volcanic rocks, associated with limonite and other impurities.
The Zircon belongs to the family of nesosilicates, occurring in igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks and in sedimentary rocks. Large zircon crystals are rare, as these stones rarely grow beyond a few centimetres. Zircons contain a high uranium and thorium content, as a result of which the stone undergoes a process known as metamictization. As the crystal structure is constantly modified by internal radiation, its density decreases thus causing the structure and color to change.
Tanzanite is hydrated calcium aluminum silicate, a trichroic gemstone. The chemical structure of the December birthstone causes the double refraction of white light as the light passes through the crystal, causing the stone to exhibit different colors under different lights. In white light, the stone appears blue and violet, in incandescent light, the stone appears pink or red. Geologically, the tanzanite is found in metamorphic rocks, hydrothermal veins and pegmatite rocks. A startling revelation about the tanzanite is that it is found only in one location in the world, the Merelani Hills of Tanzania around Mount Kilimanjaro.
Characterstics Of The December Birthstone
Each gemstone associated with the month of December, the turquoise, tanzanite and zircon have unique characteristics that make these stones both valuable and desirable. Among the most important are the color and occurrence of the stones, making them rare and valuable.
Of Blues And Hues – Color Of The December Birthstone
The Turquoise is famous world over for its beautiful blue hues. The most expensive stones are usually sky blue, while other crystals are green or grey in color. The green in Turquoise is usually due to the element iron. The stone exhibits a grainy texture owing to its crystal structure.
Zircons occur as crystals exhibiting a wide spectrum of colors. The crystals occur in blue, green, red, pink, brown, gold, yellow and colorless. Honey colored stones from Cambodia are the rarest form of the gemstone. The natural form zircon is colorless or pale yellow. Among the most precious stones are the red and blue zircon. Many of the crystals are thermally treated to achieve the desired color.
Tanzanites are typically violet or blue. The crystals are also found in greenish and greenish-blue shades. Vanadium in the crystal structure produces a lovely violet hue in the gemstone. Larger stones exhibit vivid colors, owing to the trichoric structure while the smaller stone exhibit pastel tones.
Origin Of The December Birthstone
The turquoise is mined and exported in Iran, the Siani peninsula of Turkey, China, Afghanistan, The United States of America, Australia, North India, Chile, Turkestan, Cornwall, Silesia and Saxony..
The Zircon is mined and exported from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangkok. Sri Lanka is known for its variety of the Matura diamond, the colorless form of zircon. Zircon is also mined in small quantities in Burma, Norway, Canada and France.
Tanzanite is found in ‘boudins’, or sausage formations, associated with Rhodolite and kyanite. The rare tanzanite is found in only one location in the world, in Tanzania in the Merelani Hills of East Africa at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Experts believe that the probability of Tanzanite occurring anywhere else in the world is less than a million to one.
Healing Power Of The December Birthstone
The turquoise is believed to neutralize acidity, alleviate gout, stomach ailments, rheumatism and viral infections. The gemstone is also believed to relax cramps, contain anti-inflammatory properties and bring peace and happiness to the wearer.
According to ancient tribes, the Zircon reduces the pain of childbirth, improve appetite, bestow strength and confidence on the wearer, improves mental faculties, memory and encourages one to explore their dreams. The stone enhances creativity and fosters love, loyalty and commitment.
The Tanzanite gemstone dispels lethargy, depression and anger to spur the wearer to achieve excellence and chase dreams. The stone is associated with creativity, allowing one to explore new patterns, push frontiers and pursue one’s passion. The stone is also believed to strengthen the immune system, treat the heart, pancreas, chest, throat and spleen. Tanzanite also stimulates fertility. Popular belief entails that the stone be worn in direct contact with the skin for maximum effect.
Value Of The December Birthstone
The value of the turquoise is determined by its hardness and richness. The Robin=Egg blue is the most valued color of the stone.
The zircon is valued for its intensity and saturation of color. Clarity and size also play an important role. Colorless and Blue stones are are prized world over since they have zero or minimum inclusions. The colorless variety is often used in place of diamonds while the blue turquoise is a rare find, making these varieties the most expensive of zircon gemstones.
The tanzanite is rarer than the diamond, mined in only one location in the world. The violet tanzanite is extremely rare and prized across the world for its brilliant color and clarity, with minimum inclusions.