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December Birthstone (Turquoise, Zircon, and Tanzanite) Meaning, Color, and History

The traditional December birthstones include turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite, symbolizing success, wisdom, and transformative growth. The stones representing December have rich histories that link them to their symbolism to fuel their desirability. People born in December can choose between turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite to emphasize the beneficial aspects of each stone.

An overview of the December birthstones
An overview of the December birthstones’ meaning, color, and history

Turquoise is distinguished for its vibrant blue-green color, reminiscent of the sky and the sea. The turquoise birthstone symbolizes protection, strength, and success or triumph. The use of turquoise dates back thousands of years and holds cultural significance for many indigenous groups in North America. Moreover, in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Persians, and Aztecs, turquoise has been used in jewelry and art.

Zircon is the oldest mineral on Earth, and due to its chemical composition, it can withstand geological erosion and pressure shifts. The zircon December birthstone is auspicious for its durability, wisdom, and complexity. During the Middle Ages, zircon gemstones were used to ward off evil spirits and ensure restful sleep. The modern purpose of the zircon birthstone is to develop psychic intuition and enlightenment, which is fitting for December-born individuals.

Tanzanite is celebrated for its deep blue to violet-blue shades, often displaying a captivating trichroism that exhibits different colors from different angles. The tanzanite December birthstone promotes spiritual growth, insight, and transformation, stimulating the throat chakra, which aids communication. Tanzanite is a relatively new December birthstone found in the Merelani Hills near Arusha in 1967 but became a December birthstone in 2002.

Below, learn more about the history, significance, and benefits of the December birthstones.

What does the December birthstone mean?

The December birthstone options symbolize success, wisdom, and transformative growth. Firstly, turquoise is a birthstone that means protection, deliverance, and success. In various cultures, turquoise is revered for its healing properties and ability to attune one to one’s spirituality. It is a stone that fosters communication, enhancing the connection between the spiritual and physical realms.

Secondly, zircon is known for its brilliance and fiery luminescence. It incites prosperity, wisdom, and self-confidence to the wearer. Arabian and Nordic cultures have traditionally valued its ability to bring peaceful sleep and ward off nightmares.

Furthermore, Zircon is a birthstone that symbolizes spiritual insight and meditation. To center your mind when meditating, incorporate Zircon in your meditation rituals. Zircon’s calming presence connects to your base chakra, bringing forth self-confidence that pushes you to connect with others. The communal energy zircon inspires a step toward expanding your spiritual journey and connecting with others who resonate with you, possibly leading to twin flame connections or soulmate bonds.

Thirdly, Tanzanite is a relatively modern addition to the December birthstone list. However, it corresponds to the energy of the previous December birthstones as it’s associated with transformation, spiritual growth, and insight. Tanzanite helps December-born individuals develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their surroundings. Each birthstone for December offers the wearer vibratory frequencies that align with their internal energies.

Infographic for the December birthstones
An infographic explaining the meaning of December’s birthstones

What is the difference between modern and traditional December birthstones?

The modern and traditional December birthstone lists have evolved to reflect the influence of various organizations, cultures, and gemstone lore. Traditionally, ruby and lapis lazuli were the December birthstones, revered for their beauty and symbolic meanings. Ruby is associated with vitality, while lapis lazuli’s intense blue symbolizes wisdom.

The modern list, however, includes turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite. Turquoise is known for its blue-green hue and historical significance in native cultures. Zircon, varying in colors, is valued for its brilliance, and tanzanite, exclusive to Tanzania, is appreciated for its unique blue-violet color.

This shift from ruby and lapis lazuli to the current selection reflects changes in the gem trade and cultural trends, offering a diverse range of options with distinct qualities and histories for December birthstones.

What are the alternate birthstones for December?

The alternate birthstones for December are blue topaz, onyx, and beryl, which vary depending on cultural beliefs and modern standards. The main alternative for December is blue topaz, representing communication and mental clarity. The blue hues of topaz gems resemble zircon, giving people more birthstone options that transfer similar spiritual qualities to restore the soul with a calming energy.

The second alternative stone is onyx, known for its strength and protective qualities. Onyx is a December birthstone of Tibetan origin and represents a connection between the physical and metaphysical realms. Onyx reflects the security that’s brought forth by December’s turquoise. A third alternative birthstone is beryl, which symbolizes healing and love. Beryl is a purported guardian angel stone of December that connects with the transformative power of the tanzanite birthstone.

Is there a December zodiac birthstone?

Yes, the two choices for a December zodiac birthstone are tanzanite for Sagittarius and garnet for Capricorn. Sagittarians reflect the passion and freedom that tanzanite exudes from its lustrous sheen. The tanzanite stone dually energizes people born in December as it aligns with their birth month and celestial patterns.

Alternatively, Capricorns align with garnet’s courage and stability. The red gemstone mirrors the harmony that turquoise and zircon bring forth. People born late in December can incorporate garnets into their birthstone set to add variety and boost their spiritual engagement.

What color is December’s birthstone?

December’s birthstone options come in varying shades of blues. Turquoise exhibits a captivating blue-green color reminiscent of the sky or a serene body of water. This association is deeply rooted in historical and cultural contexts, where the stone has been revered across civilizations for its protective properties and connection to good fortune.

Additionally, modern interpretations have expanded the range of December birthstones to include alternatives like blue zircon and tanzanite, which showcase more luminescent blues. The prevalence of blue tones in these gemstones reflects the winter season and aligns with the cool, calming properties attributed to December. Blue embodies a sense of tranquillity, spirituality, and positive energy that people born in December connect to.

What is the December birthstone crystal shape?

Each December birthstone possesses unique crystalline structures and properties that complement the following four shapes.

  • Cabochons: Turquoise is frequently cut into cabochons, which requires shaping and polishing the stone into smooth, rounded shapes without facets. Cabochon cuts suit turquoise because it highlights the stone’s color and matrix patterns.
  • Round brilliants: Zircon is featured in round brilliant cuts to highlight the light reflection and enhance the stone’s natural brilliance. The cut features numerous facets that are symmetrically arranged to showcase the sparkling qualities of zircon.
  • Ovals: Ovals are a common cut for tanzanite and zircon that shows an elongated cut to highlight color and clarity. The cut suits tanzanite and zircon because it enhances the luster.
  • Cushions: The cushion cut is chosen for its ability to enhance the depth of color in tanzanite and provide a soft yet elegant appearance. It’s ideal for highlighting tanzanite’s unique color properties and trichroic nature.

Turquoise, Zircon, and Tanzanite, all December birthstones, are distinguished by their unique crystalline structures. Turquoise, known for its captivating veining or matrix patterns, possesses a triclinic structure, contributing to its signature appearance and texture. Zircon, a zirconium silicate mineral that forms in tetragonal crystals, is typically found in granitic and metamorphic rocks and is celebrated for its variety of colors, especially the popular blue zircon achieved through heat treatment. Tanzanite, a variety of mineral zoisite, exhibits an orthorhombic structure influenced by its striking blue-violet color due to vanadium. Each gem’s distinct crystalline structure is crucial in defining its physical properties and aesthetic appeal.

What’s the history of the December birthstone?

The December birthstone choices carry a rich and varied history, symbolizing success, transformation, and protection. Turquoise is a stone revered for centuries. It’s known for its distinctive blue-green hue and has been used in cultural and spiritual artifacts worldwide. For example, the indigenous peoples of North America, such as the Navajo, associated turquoise with the sky and creation.

Turquoise’s significance is captured in literature in a poem in Gems and Gem Minerals by Oliver C. Farrington, which refers to turquoise as a symbol of success. It has been used historically in significant artifacts, such as the mask of Tutankhamun, which featured turquoise inlays. It was officially recognized as a December birthstone by the Jewelers of America in 1912.

Tanzanite was discovered in Tanzania in the 1960s. It is a relatively new addition to the gem world but has gained prominence for its unique blue-violet color. Tanzanite’s inclusion as a December birthstone by 2019 reflects its growing popularity. A notable reference to tanzanite is the Queen of Kilimanjaro, a famous tiara adorned with one of the largest faceted tanzanites, set amidst diamonds and tsavorite garnets.

Zircon is celebrated for its brilliant variety of colors and has over 4.4 billion years of history, making it one of the oldest minerals on earth. It was officially added to the December birthstone list in 2019. Historically, zircon has been featured in various artifacts, like the al-Sabah Collection dagger sash-cord ornament in Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait, showcasing its enduring appeal.

Each of these December birthstones brings its unique charm and history. Turquoise showcases its ancient legacy and poetic symbolism of success. Tanzanite boasts modern appeal with royal connections. Meanwhile, zircon is an ancient mineral with royal historical references. Together, they provide a fascinating array of choices for those born in December.

Where is the December birthstone found?

The December birthstone options are found primarily in North America, Asia, and Africa. Mines in Mexico, especially Sonora and Chihuahua, yield turquoise with distinctive matrix patterns. Some Mexican turquoise is known for its bright blue color.

Moving farther north, the southwestern United States is renowned for producing high-quality turquoise. For example, states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada have long been known for their turquoise deposits. The Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona was a prolific source of turquoise known for its pure blue color. Additionally, zircon is mined in Canada, with extensive operations in Quebec.

China, Vietnam, and Iran have mining operations throughout Asia, including turquoise and zircon. China is a significant producer of turquoise, with deposits found in various regions such as Xinjiang and Hubei. In Western Asia, The Nishapur region in Iran is particularly famous for producing turquoise of exceptional quality.

Africa is prominent for its gem trade, with mines throughout the continent. Ancient Egyptians valued turquoise and used it in jewelry and art. The Sinai Peninsula in Egypt has been a historical source of turquoise. Moreover, Tanzania boasts a unique gemological infrastructure with zircon and the rare tanzanite gem. Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania, making it a highly prized find for the nation.

Which December birthstone is the rarest?

Tanzanite is a recent discovery that’s considered the rarest December birthstone. Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, which remains the sole source of the gemstone. The geological limitations make supplying tanzanite difficult. The gemstone’s unique blue-violet color and its limited availability contribute to its desirability, making it a luxurious option for a birthstone gift.

December birthstone chart

Below is a chart that explains the main aspects of December birthstones.

December birthstones
Modern Turquoise, tanzanite, zircon
Traditional Ruby and lapis lazuli
Zodiac Tanzanite (Sagittarius) and garnet (Capricorn)
Meaning Success, wisdom, growth
Color Blue
Historical significance Triumph, transformation, and protection

What are the December birthstone personality traits?

Below are the main personality traits for each December birthstone.

  • Calm: Tanzanite displays characteristics of calmness, tranquillity, and inner peace. During stressful situations, tanzanite will assuage your anxiety and fear. It is believed to have a soothing energy that helps alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting peace and relaxation. Those who wear tanzanite may feel more serene, especially in challenging or stressful situations.
  • Introspective: Tanzanite encourages introspection and self-reflection, a key tool for character development. Self-awareness comes from self-reflection, and Tanzanite helps develop this trait within you. This introspective quality enhances one’s ability to express thoughts and emotions more clearly.
  • Confident: Zircon promotes perception and mental clarity, enhancing confidence and discernment. It’s thought to promote mental clarity and wisdom, helping individuals feel more sure of their decisions and personal choices. This increased perception and discernment contribute to stronger self-assurance in one’s abilities.
  • Creative: Turquoise is latent with intricacies and fine details that penetrate the creative complex within the wearer, helping them identify and hone the details of their craft. The lore suggests that turquoise can help unlock the creative potential within an individual, inspiring new ideas and aiding in the detailed execution of artistic endeavors.
  • Protective: Turquoise protects its wearer from insidious energies and people who project undue malice. This December birthstone is renowned for its protective properties and is thought to shield against negative energies and offer protection from external harm or malefic influences. This belief in its protective qualities makes turquoise a popular choice for those seeking security and safety.

Are there benefits to wearing a December birthstone?

Yes, wearing a December birthstone has five notable benefits: achievement, spiritual awareness, color therapy, improved sleep quality, and adaptability. Achievement is possible with hard work and determination from the inspiring hues of December’s birthstones. For example, turquoise signifies success, and wearing the stone reminds you to work toward achieving success in your own right. Furthermore, the stones symbolizing the 12th month connect to the angel number message of 1212, symbolizing proactivity and determination.

Tanzanite and zircon enhance spiritual awareness by helping you delve deeper into your emotions. Some forms of depression stem from unrecognized emotions, and tanzanite helps you confront unpleasant emotions. Zircon promotes mental clarity, stimulating epiphanies and breakthroughs in your current dilemma. Consequently, you cipher through emotional detritus, which keeps you subdued. Color therapy involves working with different colors to stimulate and release specific emotions. The blue stones, tanzanite, and turquoise are calming and soothing, which promotes mood regulation for depression and anxiety.

Turquoise and zircon are two December birthstones thought to facilitate emotional balance, which supports improved sleep quality. Keeping the birthstones near your bed reminds you of the positive energy, and your body subconsciously absorbs the stones’ energy. As a result, your parasympathetic nervous system is activated, and you’re likely to fall into a deep and restful sleep. Adaptability is a beneficial reason for wearing the tanzanite December birthstone because it inspires transformation. The luster of a tanzanite stone showcases the shifting hues and symbolizes the beauty of change.

What happens after wearing turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite?

You will likely observe three things after wearing turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite. Firstly, wearing a turquoise December birthstone will give you a sense of surety and self-preservation. The stone has been used to protect against malefic energy and spirits for centuries, thereby building a layer of protection around you while wearing the stone. Secondly, your mind and decisions will be sharper after wearing the zircon birthstone. Zircon promotes mental clarity, confidence, and wisdom, improving focus and decision-making abilities. Thirdly, after wearing the tanzanite December birthstone, you’re more likely to feel less anxious, more content, and overall more easy-going. Tanzanite purveys a calming energy that instills inner peace and reminds the wearer to take life in stride.

Who should not wear turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite?

There isn’t a definitive rule for who shouldn’t wear a particular gemstone, but people with sensitive skin or active lifestyles should avoid turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite. These stones are porous and retain minerals and oils that cause allergic reactions in people with hypersensitivities and should be swapped for alternative stones.

Furthermore, if you have an active lifestyle, gemologists caution against wearing the December birthstones because rough conditions will deteriorate the stones quickly. Enjoy wearing them on special occasions or when you’re not working out to avoid damaging the gems.