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December Birthstones: Their History and Meaning

Although this time of year is strongly associated with holiday hues of red and green, December birthday girls have far more color options when it comes to December birthstone jewelry: the light, bright blue of turquoise and the many shades of zircon.

Both of the beautiful stones can be found featured in our selection of one-of-a-kind vintage rings. Here’s some fascinating background on these December birthstones:

Turquoise: Ancient Amulet and Victorian Favorite

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Ranging in color from bright robin’s egg to pastel blue to light bluish green, turquoise is one of the oldest known gemstones. This December birthstone has been prized for thousands of years by cultures ranging from the Aztecs to the ancient Egyptians (who used it to decorate King Tut’s tomb) to the Persian empire. From ancient times to today people have ascribed special powers to turquoise. Native American tribes of the Southwest wore turquoise as an amulet thought to offer protection, in ancient Persia (and modern day Iran) some believe that wearing turquoise can ward off the “evil eye” (other people’s ill will), and over the centuries turquoise has been thought to protect people from misfortunes ranging from falls from horseback to poisoning.

Although the gem is ancient the name is relatively new:  dating from thirteenth century France, the word “turquoise” meaning “stone from Turkey”, came from when the gems were brought from Turkey to Western Europe. Turquoise cabochons are often found in antique jewelry from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and Queen Victoria gave her bridesmaids turquoise embellished brooches as gifts.

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Buying turquoise as a gift

If you’re shopping for a December birthday girl, turquoise jewelry is a can’t-miss choice, but don’t forget to consider her personal style. If she likes a boho or Western look, then Southwestern style turquoise jewelry set in silver would make a great gift. If she goes for a more feminine or vintage-inspired style, then consider a one-of-a-kind vintage turquoise ring. Can’t decide?  Simple turquoise beads in a necklace or earrings are a timeless style she’s sure to love.

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Caring for turquoise

As gemstones go, turquoise is a bit fragile, so we recommend taking special care when wearing turquoise fine jewelry. High heat can damage its surface or cause discoloration, and exposure to some chemicals, cosmetics and even skin oils can change its color. Clean turquoise with warm soapy water, but avoid steam or ultrasonic cleaners. Our jewelry specialists would be happy to answer any questions about care for your particular turquoise fine jewelry piece.

Zircon: Beauty from the Earth’s Earliest Days

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Zircon is another gem featured in dazzling December birthstone jewelry. Although Zircon isn’t as well-known as some other gems, this stone is a celebrity among geologists. The oldest rock ever discovered was a zircon found in Australia dating 4.4 billion years, nearly as old as the planet itself (the oldest diamonds are 3.3 billion years old).

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Zircon can be found in a rainbow of colors, including blue, brown, green, orange, yellow, red and even clear. Clear zircon is one of the most brilliant non-diamond gems, and was often used as a diamond alternative in the nineteenth century (though zircon is different than cubic zirconia, a type of imitation diamond). According to the American Gemological Society, folk wisdom says that zircon has the power to relieve pain, protect travelers and prevent nightmares.

Buying zircon as a gift

With this gem you have lots of beautiful color options. You can’t go wrong with a sparkling blue, the most popular shade of zircon and a universally flattering hue. But whatever your December-born loved one’s favorite color, you can probably find zircon jewelry to match it.

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Caring for zircon

Zircon is fairly durable, but it’s not as strong as sapphires and diamonds so you should avoid wearing it or storing it in places where it could get roughed up. If a zircon has been heat-treated to produce a certain color (many blue ones have been), prolonged exposure to light could lead to the gem changing back to its original hue. Clean zircon with warm water and gentle soap, but don’t use steam or ultrasonic cleaners with this gem.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a December baby, what do you think of your birthstones—do you have a favorite?  Do you own any birthstone jewelry?  Let us know your thoughts on  Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or in the comments section!

 Sources: Gemological Institute of America, American Gemological Society

COMMENTS

wr Says:
January 18th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

What is the December birthstone of Boys

B. Earth Says:
January 21st, 2014 at 10:48 am

Hi Wr, the December birthstones for boys are the same as the December birthstones for girls.

adele barnett Says:
October 10th, 2014 at 6:18 am

My Dad bought me a beautiful turquoise ring for my 7th birthday in 1947. That spring while playing in a sand pile behind my house, I lost it. I recently visited the old neighborhood on Locust Avenue in Burlington and that old sand pile was still there. It wasn’t much of a sand pile after all these years. I wanted to get a metal detector and see if it was still there. I never forgot that ring. December babies are special and turquoise stones are perfect for this month.

Carlton T McGhee Says:
January 29th, 2017 at 9:01 pm

Hope I Win one if none

Mark Spears Says:
February 7th, 2017 at 8:02 pm

My birthday is December 23, my biggest regret selling my birthstone class ring which was a blue Zircon. I wish I had kept it four to have shown my children.

Natash Says:
February 14th, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Cool swag

Veronica Herrera Says:
February 16th, 2017 at 9:55 am

Me encantan están hermosos.

Erika Says:
February 28th, 2017 at 5:42 pm

wow have fun reading and deciding

Erika Says:
February 28th, 2017 at 5:42 pm

beautiful stones

Susan Says:
March 15th, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Beautiful love the rings and settings so pretty but not over the top danty. At least not all of them a nice mix …. like the mx of diamonds & stones also .

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