Bridal & Engagement
Jewellers Vigilance Canada
Blue topaz is one of December’s most popular birthstones, and comes in a wide range of hues. However, nearly all blue topaz is heated in order to create the rich colour we identify as December’s birthstone.
Most famously, topaz comes from Brazil. However, it can also be found in Mexico, Australia, Africa, Russia and parts of Europe, as well as the US. Blue topaz is the state gem of Texas.
Topaz is a silicate mineral and a hard gem. They are heat-treated to permanently improve their hue. Conventional jewellery cleaners are safe to use on all colours of topaz.
Zircons are transparent and come in many colours. Because of the vast range of hues, zircons may be confused with diamond, topaz and aquamarine. The most desired colour of zircon is pastel blue, but some exceptional gems have a bright blue colour; golden hues are also popular. Most zircons today are heat-treated to improve their colour.
The largest deposits of zircons are found in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myamar (Burma) and Australia.
Zircons are nesosilicate minerals. They are relatively hard, but also easily chipped and should be stored carefully. Heat treatment is sometimes less permanent than with other gems. Steamers and ultrasonic cleaners should never be used with zircon jewellery.
Tanzanite is a transparent gemstone, varying from blue to violet and bluish purple. It is the most precious variety of the mineral zoisite. Its crystals achieve their colour with careful heat treatment.
Tanzanite was aptly named after Tanzania, where it was first discovered in 1967. The name zoisite comes from the name of its discoverer, Baron Von Zois.
Tanzanite is rather fragile. Its impact resistance is rated medium to low, and it discolours and melts under the heat of a jeweller’s blowtorch. Use care in storing, wearing and cleaning tanzanite jewellery. Do not use a steam or ultrasonic cleaner with tanzanite.
Turquoise is an opaque mineral; a hydrous phosphate with copper and aluminum. Turquoise varies in colour from greenish-blue to deep blue, with sky blue stones being most popular.
The name turquoise comes from the French expression “pierre Tourques” or Turkish stone, based on the 13th century source of turquoise. Turquoise is found in China, Iran, Chile, Sinai, Australia, the US and other countries.
Turquoise was valued by many ancient cultures, and throughout the world, has been worn as natural protection against the powers of darkness. In earlier times, this gemstone was used to protect horse and rider from unexpected falls. It is still considered a symbol of protection, particularly for pilots and other high-risk professions. The cheerful colour of turquoise is said to promote confidence, and is also symbol of friendship.
Turquoise is relatively soft, and is sensitive to solvents. The colour may change with exposure to cosmetics or perfume, as well as commercial cleaning fluids. Care should be taken in storing turquoise to protect it from being scratched by other gems. Turquoise should not be stored in an airtight container or cleaned in a steam or ultrasonic cleaner. After use, turquoise should be gently wiped with a soft cloth, to limit the buildup of an oil or other residue.