If you think about it, December has it all: the first pretty days of winter before you’re tired of the cold and hating every freezing second (we’re looking at you, February), the magic of the holidays, the triumphant close of another year, and not one, not two, but THREE birthstones. If you’re like us, your first thought was probably: Wowee, December must have some real compromising photos of the other months to manage all these coups in a mere 31 days. And then your second thought was definitely: three birthstones?! Lemme at ‘em!
This gem-filled month is positively bursting with blue-hued beauties — the traditional birthstones for December are turquoise and zircon, with tanzanite coming in as a late entry, only added as an official birthstone in 2002.
First discovered in the hills of Tanzania in 1967, the vibrant violet stone now known as tanzanite began its commercial life named blue-violet zoisite, which was quickly changed after Tiffany & Co. took an interest and decided that name didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. The new moniker did double duty, letting consumers know the stone’s origin and thus, its rarity. Though tanzanite is most associated with an inviting indigo shade, it’s actually a trichroic gemstone that can appear as three discrete colors — typically blue, purple and reddish brown — depending on the light you are viewing it under. And because tanzanite is a relative newcomer to the dynamic world of gems, it doesn’t have the set of fun facts or history of lore that many other stones do… but that just means we can start our own stories about it without worrying that the people of the Middle Ages have already claimed it as the perfect thing to ward off demons or boils or whatever. Finally, a gem without all that baggage!
While tanzanite may be the popular newbie on the scene, December’s next birthstone, turquoise, is an original club kid (think Leigh Bowery). We’re talking about the stone that made an appearance on King Tut’s funerary mask! The lush, alluring blue-green of turquoise is eternally appealing, which is probably why it has been used so significantly by numerous cultures of antiquity. This oceanic-hued rock was thought to ward off unnatural death by the Ancient Persians and was believed to be a token of luck, fertility and growth by the Egyptians, who carved talismans with it. It’s a historically popular stone with indigenous tribes of Southwest America, who continue to use turquoise in jewelry, representing health, protection and bountiful harvests.
And how could we skip our nutty favorites, the people of the Middle Ages, who were certain that turquoise protected one from falling off a horse and also from being poisoned. (Seriously, they were so intense.) Honestly, we could go on about turquoise forever — it’s a classic for a reason.
And finally, we come to December’s middle child: the zircon. Added in 1952 to the official birthstone list, zircons can appear in a veritable rainbow of hues (much like sapphires), owing to their chemical components. It’s a misunderstood stone; gorgeous, but commonly confused with other gems that appear in similar shades. But it is blue zircon in particular that best exemplifies December’s early bright azure-skied, frost-tipped days. Just imagine a stone that represents the first crisp cold inhale of the season and squinting at the shining glare of sun bouncing off of new snow. Blue zircon is a wearable winter scene; an ice skating rink unmarred by blades.
So: December. Three birthstones. (Actually four, if, like some, you also count blue topaz. But c’mon already!) A month that’s usually so stuffed with yule and light that you can barely maneuver through it has been dimmed a bit by this unusual year. But it’s still got some of that old magic: Stars come out bright and early, and the first snow of the season will always cast a spell. The three cyan stones associated with December are constant emblems of this wintry beauty. And who knows? Maybe in four hundred years, people will see that tanzanite was used to ward off viruses and bring good fortune and they will say, wow, people in 2020 were so intense.
Shop our collection of December pieces, chock full of good fortune and guaranteed to add some sparkle to your day:
Kimberly DoyleLong Marquise Turquoise Pendant
Turquoise was given during the Victorian Era as a sentimental token to “forget-me-not”– the wearer would always have a reminder of their loved one. This elegant Kimberly Doyle diamond and turquoise pendant is unforgettable, whether for yourself or someone else.