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Spotlight on antique birthstones – December

December birthstone jewellery


Just when you thought some months were lucky to have two birthstones, along comes December with three! We take a close look at turquoise, tanzanite and zircon.

For people born in December it can be tough for anyone buying gifts for you and we’re sure there have been years when you’ve received ‘combined’ birthday and Christmas gifts. But with the enviable choice of three different birthstones, you can more than make up for it.

Turquoise birthstone

With its striking blue colour, turquoise has been widely prized since the Chinese first carved it more than 3000 years ago and it is widely associated with the jewellery of native North American tribes. Believed to warn of impending doom, turquoise is also said to protect against evil and give the wearer good health and peace.

What colour is turquoise?

A semi-translucent to opaque gemstone, turquoise is found in a wide palette of blues, from powder-blue to a greenish-blue. Its colour will be determined by the copper and iron content  of the soil where it has been mined.

Where is turquoise found?

Traditionally found in Ancient Persia (modern day Iran), the US is now the largest supplier of turquoise, with rich sources in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado.

Tanzanite birthstone

Named after the only place on earth where it is found, Tanzania, tanzanite is a variety of zoisite. While zoisite has been known since the 19th century, tanzanite was only discovered in the 1960s, on a limited area of land near Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzanite mines are slowly reducing productivity which will only lead to an increase in price and value as demand outstrips supply.

Tanzanite is believed to improve perception and to detoxify the body, bring a calm and soothing influence to the wearer.

What colour is tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a striking blue-purple in colour that ranges from a very pale blue to an intense ultramarine with hints of violet. Less desirable brown tones occur naturally in the gemstone and these are often kept to a minimum by heat treating the stone. Expert cutting will also emphasise the blue and violet tones, reducing the brown ones.

Zircon birthstone

An often misunderstood and definitely underrated stone, zircon is in fact a gemstone and it should NOT be mistaken for cubic zirconia or synthetic diamond. Since the Middle Ages, zircon has been used to encourage good sleep and protect against evil and it is said to improve mental strength.

What colour is zircon?

Naturally occurring in a brownish-red colour, quality zircon stones are heat treated to produce a colourless variant, as well as yellow, green, red, and blue. Although available in this wide range of colours, it is blue zircon that is the birthstone for December.

Where is zircon found?

A naturally occurring, mined mineral, zircon is found in many places around the world including Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Brazil, Nigeria, and Vietnam. Today, Australia is world leader for zircon mining and produces over one third of the world’s supply.

December birthstone jewellery from Hemswell Antique Centres

Our jewellery experts and dealers display a wide selection of antique jewellery for sale online but it is only with an in-person visit to our four centres that you will experience the wide and beautiful array of blue and purple hues that can be seen in our tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon jewellery.


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