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December Birthstones

What is the December Birthstone?

There are three birthstones for December - Turquoise, Tanzanite and Blue Zircon.

Those who celebrate a birthday in December are very lucky, they have three choices for official birthstones this month when most have just the one or at best two.

(I know June has three as well but one is the almost impossible to find and extremely expensive Alexandrite.)

In turquoise, tanzanite and blue zircon, we have a trio of bright blue gemstones with a wealth of history that are readily available in a variety of sizes, shapes and prices.

December Birthstone – Colors


Turquoise was introduced into Europe from Turkey a few centuries ago. Since then, anything sky blue has often been called 'turquoise' as the gemstone had such a characteristic color although the gemstone itself can be light blue to sea green. The only other minerals that have become better known as colors than turquoise are gold, silver and copper


Tanzanite can have a legitimate claim to have the finest blue color in the gemstone world. The best examples have such vivid royal blues with a hint of violet and a flash of red that they can put the mighty sapphire to shame.

Blue Zircon

It is the blue Zircon that is officially the birthstone for December although this gemstone can be found in many other colors – golden brown, pinkish red and burnt orange being the most loved.

The sparkling gemstones with a characteristic fire are able to flash different colors as they are turned from one angle to another in a phenomenon known as pleochroism.

The December Birthstone Price

How expensive is Turquoise?

Turquoise is generally a very affordable gemstone. Color and patterns are a matter of personal preference but in most cases the classic sky blue color with as few blemishes as possible is the most preferred and the most valuable.

Turquoise gemstones that appear more green or have a lot of patches or markings on the surface will be lower in price.

Overall, turquoise gemstones will range from $2 - $5 per carat except for some exceptional pieces.

Please refer to our full Turquoise Info page for a more details.

How expensive is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a rare top grade gemstone and the prices will reflect this with the very finest gemstones able to demand up to $1500 per carat with the right combination of color, cut, clarity and carat weight.

Top of the range tanzanite gemstones will have a deep saturated blue color with flashes of violet and red and a carat weight above 2 or 3 carats. Less valuable are the light colors and smaller sizes although they would still be considered a quality gemstone.

For more details please refer to our full Tanzanite Info page here

How expensive is Blue Zircon?

Blue Zircons are very often the result of heat treatment which creates bright even colors and exceptional clarity. The differences in price come from the size of the gemstone with larger carat sizes becoming increasingly rare and the price per carat rising at the same time.

A 1 carat Blue Zircon will range from $15 - $50 per carat but a Blue Zircon over 5 carats could be between $70 and $350 per carat – a dramatic jump.

For more details please refer to our full Zircon Info page here

What are the spiritual benefits of December Birthstones?


As with many light blue gemstones, Turquoise brings serenity and calm, but it also has several other qualities:

  • Wisdom
  • Good Luck
  • Promotes Communication
  • Brings Hope


Tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery so does not have an extensive background as a spiritual stone although the Maasai tribes people who live in the hills where it is found believe it brings good fortune.

Other attributes include:

  • Boosts Psychic Abilities
  • Aids Clairvoyance
  • Increases Creativity

Blue Zircon

Blue Zircon will also contain the spiritual strengths that all Zircons possess as they are basically made up of the same minerals, these powers include:

  • Serenity
  • Strengthens Willpower
  • Financial Prosperity
  • Helps Concentration

See our detailed article on Gemstone meaning and uses

The December Birthstones and the Chakras

Turquoise/Tanzanite/Blue Zircon

The Chakras are energy centers situated around the body which can influence us physical and emotionally. Each Chakra point has an associated color and a gemstone of the same color can help unblock and realign a troubled Chakra.

As all the December birthstones are basically blue, they can aid with the Throat Chakra. Symptoms of a blocked Throat Chakra can include a fear of public speaking, lack of communication with loved ones, sore throats, toothaches and so on.

Find more details on Chakra gemstones here

The December Birthstones Species


Turquoise is an opaque mineral made up of aluminum and copper, with the copper and other extra minerals being responsible for the colors – light blue to sea green.

Turquoise is often mixed with a variety of host rock or other materials which can create patterns and patches on the face of the stone – the matrix. Pure sky blue turquoise is preferred but these blemishes, which can include chrysocolla and malachite, can be interesting and attractive.


Tanzanite is actually a type of mineral called Zoisite and when first introduced to the gemstone market it was labeled 'Blue Zoisite'.

This name did not go down very well at Tiffany's headquarters, who had decided to promote and sell this gemstone, and they came up with the name 'Tanzanite' to honor the country of origin and to sound much more exotic and catchy.

Blue Zircon

Zircon is one of the oldest minerals found on earth, with some crystals being nearly 4.5 billion years old – almost as old as the planet itself! Tiny zircon crystals can be found all over the world and are so tough they almost never disappear and can be detected in the soil, sands, sediments and rocks of every continent.

Just occasionally these crystals are large enough and transparent enough to be turned into stunning gemstones. Zircons are famous for their high levels of dispersion which gives them their extraordinary fire and sparkle.

The December Birthstone Treatments


Turquoise usually comes in one of four different types when it comes to treatment:

  • All-natural untreated gemstones – Just cut and polished from original turquoise stone. The best quality in our opinion.
  • Stabilized Turquoise – a fairly common treatment where the original turquoise is impregnated with a polymer to increase durability. A recognized and accepted treatment.
  • Composite Turquoise – Small pieces of turquoise and sometimes finely crushed turquoise is mixed with a polymer and set into blocks. When hardened these blocks can be cut and polished into cabochons.
  • Dyed Turquoise – Natural Turquoise is quite porous and can be dyed quite easily.

We will not comment on the ethics of these and other treatments of turquoise other than to say all treatments should be disclosed at the point of sale.


It is pretty much accepted that just about all tanzanite for sale has benefitted from heat treatment which changes the brownish rough material into amazing violet blue gemstones.

Blue Zircon

To achieve the intense blue colors found in zircon, most gemstones are heat treated with very few blue zircons found in nature.

The December Birthstones History


Turquoise is a relatively soft stone so was easily carved by human's early tools. This means it was one of our first gemstones and we have probably all seen an example of this featured in the famous death mask of Tutankhamun.


The history of most gemstones is lost in the clouds of time but Tanzanite was first discovered in the 1960s in the hills of Tanzania.

We even have the names of a few men who were responsible for its rise to the top of the world of jewelry - Maasai tribesman, Ali Juuyawatu, who first found the tanzanite rocks which had turned blue from wildfires, and took them to local geologist, Manual de Sousa.

Manuel, in turn, brought them to the attention of Henry Platt, the President of Tiffany's, who declared them, "the most beautiful gemstone to be discovered in 2000 years".

In fact there are a few clouds as, even though Tanzanite only emerged around 50 years ago, its route to the jewelry store windows is hotly disputed with several others claiming its discovery.

Blue Zircon

Natural Blue Zircon is a very rare gemstone indeed and they do tend to be light blue at best. The various zircons mentioned in ancient writings would more likely be golden yellow, burnt orange or rose red in color.

The process of heating brown zircons was developed in the early part of the 20th century, probably here in Thailand, so the true history of Blue Zircon is quite recent.

One of the first references to Blue Zircon was by George Kunz in 1927 when he put forward the name 'Starlite' as a way to promote this gemstone, however it never caught on.

Where are the December Birthstones found?


The best and most esteemed Turquoise is found in northern Iran but it is also mined in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Tanzania and the USA.


Tanzanite is found in one small location on a small strip of land which is barely 4km long in Tanzania not too far from Mount Kilimanjaro and nowhere else on earth.

Blue Zircon

Cambodia is the best and most reliable source of Blue Zircons and neighboring Thailand and Vietnam are also suppliers.

What jewelry is the December Birthstones suitable for?


Turquoise is rated a fairly durable 5 to 6 on Mohs hardness scale which makes it fine for use as pendants, brooches, earrings but rings should have protective settings to avoid chipping or breaking.

Turquoise has been used for traditional Native American jewelry so it is ideal for anyone interested in a tribal or ethnic look.

Large turquoise cabochons are readily available which make them a good choice for home made jewelry items or wire-wrapped pieces.

In addition to being the December birthstone, Turquoise is also the traditional gemstone to celebrate the 11th wedding anniversary.


Tanzanite is rated at 6.5 to 7 on Mohs hardness scale which makes them a little bit less durable than most high quality gemstones such as rubies and emeralds. However, tanzanite can still be used for pendants, necklaces, earrings – we would suggest a protective setting and occasional use for rings.

Tanzanites are available in singles, pairs and lots in a variety of shapes and sizes and are perfect for matching jewelry sets.

In addition to being the December birthstone, Tanzanite is also the traditional gemstone to celebrate the 24th wedding anniversary.

Blue Zircon

Zircons have a rating of 7 to 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale so they are tough enough for all types of jewelry including daily wear items.

With their spectacular scintillation, brilliance and flashes of color, zircon makes excellent jewelry pieces and they are found in singles, pairs and lots so matching or coordinated sets are easy.

In addition to being the December birthstone, Blue Zircon can be given to celebrate the 4th wedding anniversary.

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Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

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Select gems by size, not by weight!
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