DECEMBER BIRTHSTONE: Turquoise and Tanzanite

Wishing our December babies that happiest of birthdays! You lucky ones have two truly special gemstones to represent your birth month: Turquoise and Tanzanite.

Turquoise is best known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue.  The gemstone is found in arid regions where rainwater dissolves copper in the soil, forming colorful deposits. Copper contributes blue hues, while iron and chrome add a hint of green.  It’s color has made it an admired gemstone for thousands of years by many different cultures. Matrix, or more commonly known as ‘Spiderweb,’ is evidence of surrounding rock and is often present in turquoise.

The name ‘Turquoise’ dates back to the 13th century and comes from the French expression pierre tourques, which references the “Turkish stone” that was brought to Europe from Turkey.  However, the stone has been found buried in Ancient Egyptian tombs, dating back to 4,000 BC, which makes it among the world’s oldest jewelry. The Egyptians called turquoise “mefkat,” which also means “joy” and “delight.” Turquoise is also the gem of the 11th anniversary.

December’s second birthstone is Tanzanite, is also known for it’s vibrant shade of blue. Due to pleochroism, the stone can display different colors when viewed from different angles. For that reason, the gem must be cut properly to highlight it’s more attractive hues. Tanzanite is a variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. The presence of Vanadium, mixed with extreme heat, causes the distinct blue color.  As it is only mined in one location, tanzanite is actually rarer than diamonds!

Unlike Turquoise, Tanzanite is a more modern stone. The first crystals were discovered by a Masai tribesman in 1967. Tiffany & Co. saw the gem’s potential and are credited with giving the stone it’s name after it’s home country, Tanzania. Tanzanite is also the gem of the 24th anniversary.

Happy Birthday to you December birthdays!