December birthdays have claim to three beautiful gemstones; Blue Topaz, Tanzanite and Turquoise. Each of these gemstones carries a unique blue tone making it a perfect birthstone for frigid December winters.
BLUE TOPAZ BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
Blue topaz is one of the modern birthstones for the month of December. Blue topaz is a silicate mineral made up of aluminum and fluorine. It has a glass-like luster and deep cleavage, making it delicate and brittle. Its colors range from dark to cool blues. Depending on the depth of the color, a blue topaz may be known as London Blue (a deep, inky color), Swiss Blue (vibrant light blue) and Sky Blue (a light aqua color). Natural blue topaz is often confused with aquamarine.
There are many significant meanings behind this fascinating stone. While blue topaz signified protection in early human history, its relevance in our lives has altered and evolved. Currently, blue topaz is associated with affection and is often given as a sign of love. Blue topaz is the true anniversary gift to signify both four and 19 years of marriage together (a stone so beautiful they had to include it twice!). The phonetic meaning behind the word topaz comes from the Greek word topazion, meaning fire. Additionally, many believe the name topaz might have derived from the Egyptian island of topazos - now called St. Johns.
Blue topaz can be found all over the world, the more quality stones can be found in southeast Asia. In addition to southeast Asia, topaz stones can be extracted from the mountains in central Europe, Australia, Brazil and southern Africa.
TURQUOISE BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
Turquoise is a semi-translucent to opaque gem that ranges from blue to green and often has veins of matrix (remnants of the rock in which it formed) running through it. This December birthstone has been cherished for millennia. The pharaohs and other rulers of ancient Egypt adorned themselves with it. Chinese artisans carved it more than 3,000 years ago.
The turquoise birthstone was thought to possess many beneficial powers, like guaranteeing health and good fortune. From the 13th century on, it was believed to protect the wearer from falling (especially off horses), and would break into several pieces at the approach of disaster. Hindu mystics maintained that seeing a turquoise after beholding the new moon ensured fantastic wealth.
Turquoise has been mined in the Nishapur district of Iran for more than 1,000 years. The prized even-colored, intense blue turquoise from this region is dubbed “robin’s egg blue,” “sky blue” and “Persian blue.” Trade professionals now use these terms to describe turquoise of this color – regardless of the source.
TANZANITE BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
Tanzanite may be a relative newcomer to the world of colored stones, but it was one of the most exciting gem discoveries of the 20th century. Blue stones emerging from Tanzania were identified as the mineral zoisite in 1962. Not until 1967 though, did prospectors locate the primary source for this gemstone: the Merelani Hills. It was eventually named tanzanite in honor of its country of origin. The tanzanite birthstone is often described as “velvety,” mostly because of its deep and saturated color, which ranges from a pure rich blue to violet, with the blue considered most valuable.
The Merelani Hills of northern Tanzania is the only place on earth where tanzanite is mined comercially. Grass-covered hillsides, scrub brush, rocky soil and an occasional tree form the local landscape. In the major mechanized operations there, thousands of workers recover tanzanite from mines dug over a 100 meters (more than 300 feet) deep into the earth. North of the mines tower the snow-covered slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.