“If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do”
December is the first month of winter, but as the poem states, contains not just snow and ice but also mirth by way of Christmas. Although this might leave December’s babies feeling like they are unlucky to get their presents so close together, they are lucky to have such gorgeous gems to choose from.
Both gems are blue; and both are relatively rare gems. In fact, blue gems as a whole are quite rare, though their colour makes them popular.
Turquoise is found in dry and barren regions where acidic, copper-rich groundwater seeps downward and reacts with minerals that contain phosphorus and aluminium. The colour of the stones varies from very green blue to light sky blue shades. Spiderweb turquoise contains some dark brown or tan splotches or veins, and this can be preferable as it gives the gem depth and a more natural look. These veins are usually thin and delicate, in web-like patterns across the face of the gemstone (which gives them their name).
Turquoise is among the oldest known gemstones – it has been mined since 3,200 BC. The turquoise jewellery found in ancient Egyptian tombs is some of the oldest jewellery in the world. With age comes mysticism – Turquoise graced the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs and adorned the ceremonial dress of early Native Americans. It is also sacred for the Tibetans. Turquoise is said to promote mental and spiritual clarity and expansion to enhance wisdom, trust, kindness, understanding and even good luck.
Very few minerals have a colour that is so well known and so impressive that the name of the mineral becomes commonly used. Only three other minerals - gold, silver, and copper - have a colour that is also used in day-to-day language. This is probably partly due to age as well as popularity.
In the US, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada have all held the position of the leading turquoise-producing state. Significant amounts of turquoise have been produced in California, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Arkansas.
Special care is required for turquoise regardless of whether or not it is enhanced. A porous gemstone, turquoise can absorb anything it touches. Avoid contact with cosmetics, perfumes, skin oil, acids, and other chemicals. Avoid dehydrating it or exposing it to heat.
Tanzanite is so called because it was only ever found in one country – Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. The gem itself is actually ziosite, with a rare blue colour, but was named Tanzanite by Tiffany & Co, and it stuck. Tanzanite wasn’t actually discovered until the 1960s, and its natural beauty has made it so popular, that it is reported to be the most popular blue gemstone, after sapphire. This popularity led to Tanzanite being the first gemstone to be added to the birthstone list since 1912, and being added in 2002, it is the modern choice of birthstone for December.
Zoisite occurs in a number of colours, but the name Tanzanite is given the range that starts at light blue and ends up a deep violet colour. There is always a distinct hint of purple or violet in Tanzanite, making it a remarkable and unusual choice, bound to get your jewellery noticed. People who have experience studying gems and paying attention to colour will often notice Tanzanite in a display case of blue gems.
Tanzanite is said to be connected with profound meditation and to unite the heart and mind. It is believed to be a soothing and calming stone especially enhancing communication.
Turquoise could be said to be the “sea” colours for December’s birthstone, while Tanzanite is more like the sky, day or night. The rarity of both these gems make them an extra special gift for those born in December.
“If cold December gave you birth,