Canadian Jewellers Association

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These Winter Blues are a good thing!

December 3, 2018

December marks the official start of winter and those lucky enough to be born in December have their choice of three fabulous and famously “blue” birthstones.

Turquoise

This was one of the first stones to be mined and used in jewellery. In fact, turquoise was used in the death mask of King Tut over 3000 years ago. Turquoise will be found in yellowish-green, green, and bluish-green hues, but the most valuable and best-known variety is “Robin’s Egg Blue”. In fact of all the gemstones, the only turquoise has the distinction of having a Pantone colour namesake.  The name Turquoise comes from the Old French “Pierre turquoise” meaning Turkish Stone, because Turquoise, likely of Persian origin, was first traded in France in the 17th century.   

In addition to the pure even colour of the Robin’s Egg variety of Turquoise, you will also find a variety featuring a matrix or black veining of the host rock referred to as the spider web effect, the more evenly distributed the matrix is, the more desirable the stone.  China and the USA are reported to be the largest suppliers of Turquoise.

In addition to being the December birthstone, Turquoise is also representative of the 11th Wedding Anniversary and was long thought to provide the wearer with health and good fortune (and prevented people from falling off horses)!

Zircon

Zircon is the second blue stone associated with December. Not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia (a synthetic stone used in fashion jewellery), Zircon is found in a number of hues including colourless, red, orange, yellow, brown, green and usually considered to be the most valuable variety “blue”.  Zircon is affordable and a very attractive stone noted for its brilliance and fire and has the distinction of being the oldest gemstone on earth with samples dating to between 4 and 4.4 billion years old. Australia is the leading source of Zircons but Zircons can be found in many places around the world including North America.

Zircons were particularly popular during the Victorian era and during the Middle Ages, Zircons were thought to promote deep sleep and scare away evil spirits.

Tanzanite

This gem is a relatively new addition to the December birthstone list.  Discovered at the foot of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967 and noted for its spectacular blue to bluish-violet colour, this stone was first introduced to the world by Tiffany & Company in 1969. The gem was named Tanzanite after the country in which it was discovered and this area of the globe remains the only source for this stone. Current projections suggest that the gem will be totally depleted within about 30 years.  

This exotic stone is also the gemstone symbol for the 24th Wedding Anniversary.