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Traditional and Modern December Blues

Shake off the winter blues with December’s birthstones! There is a gem for every budget in the happiest time of the year, and all in 50 shades of blue. From the traditional birthstones of turquoise and lapis lazuli to the sparkly, modern alternatives of tanzanite, blue zircon, and blue topaz, you can have the 12 days of birthstones to celebrate! Just want one to give your sweetheart for their birthday but don’t know where to start? We got you! Let’s look through all of our options together.

Traditional Birthstones

First up, we have the traditional gems of turquoise and lapis lazuli. Lapis for short, is a deep blue metamorphic rock that has been prized for its intense color that is reminiscent of the night sky. Named for the Latin word for “stone” and lazulum, which derives to “sky” or “heaven”. The most prominent mineral within this gem in lazurite, but it commonly contains varying levels of calcite (white), Sodalite (blue), and pyrite (gold). In the Middle Ages, it began being exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine—the most expensive of all blue pigments. Artists in the Renaissance and Baroque eras used this fine pigment in their paintings, where it was generally reserved for central figures; particularly the Virgin Mary. This gem is prized for not just its mesmerizing color, but also for its historical significance. It was used extensively by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Greeks, where it adorned the tombs of pharaohs and was commonly featured in ceremonial jewelry. For example, it was used in the funeral mask of none other than Tutankhamun. Lapis lazuli is believed to possess metaphysical properties like stimulating creativity, enhancing self-awareness, and promoting harmony in relationships. It also has been associated with qualities such as wisdom, truth, and communication, making this gem a very thoughtful gift.

Persian poem by Ferdowsi:

As the sun struck the dome of lazuli,

A golden curtain was drawn, most truly.

Turquoise is another gemstone that has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Historians have been able to trace its use back to 4000 BC! The Aztecs believed that turquoise was the favorite gem of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wind. They presented it to Cortez in 1519 as they were convinced that he was their god of wind in human form. While this gem may not possess the crystalline structure of most other gemstones, it has a unique look that is popular in southwestern jewelry and valuable in Native American culture. The Apache thought turquoise could be found by following a rainbow to its end and digging through the wet soil, which only makes sense that it is associated with luck, good fortune, and friendship. They also believed that attaching turquoise to a bow made that hunter’s aim more accurate. What it may lack in clarity and sparkle is made up for in bold green and blue hues that are sure to capture attention. Some contain matrices that spread across the stone giving it depth and character, while others are solid colors that, when polished, look like a piece of the sky has fallen just for you. It is said that this purification birthstone protects the wearer from evil and is thought to encourage people to fall in love. What a perfect gem for the Christmas season!

Modern Birthstones

Blue zircon is the first of our modern December birthstones that shines alongside blue topaz and tanzanite among the Christmas lights. While it may be considered modern in birthstone lists, this gem may just be the oldest mineral on Earth! A sample was found to be 4.4 billion years old according to a gemological find in Australia. Zircon, or zirconium silicate, is not to be confused with cubic zirconia, the diamond simulant that can be found in a good percentage of affordable jewelry. Although, colorless zircon has been confused with diamonds for centuries due to its incredible brilliance and fire. Throughout history it has been admired, but not to the same degree of diamonds. In the Middle Ages, zircon was thought to be capable of lulling someone into a deep sleep and scaring off evil spirits. While it is often associated with luck and good fortune, many say that it promotes prudence and discipline which, in turn, presents positive outcomes. The value and beauty of zircon caught the attention of the gem buyer George Kunz, who worked for Tiffany & Co. He tried to bring blue zircon into the spotlight with an attempted name change to “starlite.” Even though he was unsuccessful, anyone who comes upon this December birthstone is not disappointed in its exquisiteness. Although most zircon is natural, a good percentage of blue zircon is actually heat treated to give it the well-loved blue coloration. It is said to be a gemstone for positivity and for removing negative energy. Zircon might just be what you need for your collection and for getting rid of the winter blues!

Our next birthstone for this chilly month is blue topaz. While this is the most common color seen in jewelry, topaz actually comes in a wide range of hues. In its natural state, topaz is typically colorless, though it can sometimes naturally display pale blue, golden brown, or yellow orange colors. The luscious hues that fill the market are often treated gems by either heat or radiation; a common practice that creates the desirable birthstone gems. The different types of topaz are categorized by color, however there are a few specific types that have broader names such as Imperial topaz or Sherry topaz, named after the sherry wine. There are many legends that surround topaz throughout history. For example, ancient Romans believed that it could provide protection from danger while traveling, while Englishmen thought that it could cure lunacy. In the Middle Ages, it was thought that attaching the gem to the left arm could protect the wearer from any curse and would ward off the evil eye while enhancing mental powers. In Hindu mythology, it was linked to the blue throat of the God Shiva, symbolizing communication and self-expression. While history anchors topaz in tradition, its contemporary symbolism reflects modern sensibilities. This blue gemstone is often associated with communication, truth, and inner peace. Its calming hues evoke tranquility, making this December birthstone a popular choice for those seeking balance in their lives. Topaz is also typically a very affordable gem, so obtaining a larger, clean piece is very obtainable. Good news for anyone looking for a birthday gift!

Our final birthstone to wrap up our modern options is tanzanite. This gemstone is relatively new to the gemology world and even newer to the birthstone list. However, it has come to be a definite favorite! The discovery of tanzanite was one of the most exciting gem finds of the 20th century. Emerging from Tanzania in 1962, these blue violet stones were identified as the mineral zoisite, but it wasn’t until 1967 that the primary source was located in the Merelani Hills. The stone was named in honor of its origin country and is prized for its deep and saturated color, which ranges from rich blue to violet. The bluer the gem, the more valuable it is. When shown in different lighting, the colors dance and change right before your eyes. In warmer lighting, it leans closer to violet while in cool lighting it will shift to bluer tones. But in order to gain this stunning color-change ability, the mineral zoisite, must be heated to high temperatures. This heating process, whether natural or done in a lab, causes zoisite to change from a dull orange brown into a tantalizing tanzanite. In 1968, Tiffany & Co. launched a major advertising campaign to promote it after becoming its main distributor. Of course, it became a sensation and has been gaining popularity ever since. Today, not only is it a December birthstone, but it is also the gem for the 24th wedding anniversary. With tanzanite being found in just the one locality, it is more expensive than its fellow December birthstones for premium color and ample size. In fact, they are much rarer than diamonds! Tanzanite is said to have amazing physical and mental healing properties; for example, it is believed to detoxify the blood relieve your mind of fears, and revitalize your life. Its also said to promote thoughtfulness and be representative of wisdom and self-control (which some of us can definitely use during the holiday season). This gem is an absolutely stunning option for representing your birth month, and Backroom Gems can help you find one at an amazing price!

If you are shopping for someone with a December birthday, even though all the birthstone options are blue, you can’t go wrong with any of these options! Ranging from the oldest on Earth to the most recently mined, traditional or modern, each of these gemstones present a unique beauty that can be matched with the personality of your Sagittarius. Just because the gemstones are blue, doesn’t mean your Christmas has to be. Visit Backroom Gems to find the perfect December birthstone!