December Birthstones: Turquoise, Tanzanite and Zircon

The three birthstones associated with December are Tanzanite, Zircon, and Turquoise

Turquoise

The name turquoise, from the French expression Pierre tourques or Turkish stone, originated in the thirteenth century and describes one of the oldest known gemstones. Turquoise varies in color from greenish blue, through robin’s egg-blue, to sky blue shades and its transparency ranges from translucent  to opaque. Turquoise is plentiful and is available in a wide range of sizes. It is most often used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and inlays.

14 Karat White Gold, Turquoise, Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond Necklace-Brooch

A vintage 14kt white gold, turquoise, emerald, blue sapphire and diamond necklace, the clasp of which can be worn as a brooch.

bague_cartier_turquoise_1

Vintage Cartier turquoise and diamond ring, circa 1950’s

18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Turquoise and Diamond Necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels, France

An 18kt white gold, platinum, turquoise and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels

GE1305-284Fabulous vintage Cartier turquoise and diamond bracelet, circa 1960’s

Tiffany Co necklace turquoise diamonds Jean Schlumberger

Tiffany & Co. Tassels necklace with turquoise stones and round diamonds set in yellow gold and platinum, inspired by an original design by Jean Schlumberger.

18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Turquoise, Ruby and Diamond Necklace, Bulgari

An 18 karat gold, platinum, turquoise, ruby and diamond necklace by Bulgari

Although its popularity fluctuates in fashion, it is a perennial favorite in the American Southwest.

Bvlgari Le Gemme Noorah

 

Tanzanite

Discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania, and found exclusively in this tiny area of the world, tanzanite exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which the gemstone is treasured; often it is heat-treated to achieve this color.  Colors range from blue to purple, and tanzanites that are medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation, and slightly violet blue command premium prices.

As tanzanite can be less expensive than sapphire, it often was purchased as an alternative.  However, it has increased in popularity and now is valued more for its own beauty and brilliance than as a sapphire substitute

Zircon

Derived from the Arabic words zar and gun, meaning gold and color, zircon is found in a wide range of colors such as: blue, yellow, orange, brown, green, colorless, and red (the most prized color). For many years colorless zircon was used to imitate diamonds.  Folk wisdom grants zircon the power to relieve pain, whet the appetite, protect travelers from disease and injury, to ensure a warm welcome, and to prevent nightmares guaranteeing a deep, tranquil sleep.

 

Major sources of zircon are the Chanthaburi area of Thailand, the Palin area of Cambodia, and the southern part of Vietnam.

by Jean Amr

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