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Fun Facts About December Birthstones

December is a month known for celebrations and gifts. If you were born in December, you have the fun of choosing between three beautiful birthstones.

The December birthstones are turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon. Each has a distinctive beauty that makes them special. Here are a few December birthstone facts.

Fun Facts About Turquoise

Turquoise Stone

Turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones, making it a popular choice for jewelry for centuries. Queens and the ancient Egyptians enjoyed them. The word “turquoise” dates back to the 13th century, drawing from the French expression “pierre tourques,” which referenced the “Turkish stone,” brought to Europe from Turkey. Today, the largest supply of turquoise comes from Arizona.

Here are more fun facts about turquoise:

  • It’s mined in a variety of countries, but the most valuable ones are found in Iran.
  • This is a timeless stone that is very striking in color.
  • Turquoise has the distinction of being the only gemstone to have a color named after it. Everyone knows turquoise for its beautiful blue-green hue.
  • Turquoise often has a “spiderweb” pattern, which is actually pieces of host rock, called matrix. These appear as dark webs or patches, making the turquoise distinctive and beautiful.

Fun Facts About Tanzanite

tanzanite stone

Tanzanite is a blue-violet colored gemstone that is a form of the mineral zoisite. A cool fact about Tanzanite is that it is only found in a small radius of land at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. This beautiful blue gem was named “tanzanite” by Tiffany & Co., after the location of its origin.

Tanzanite, discovered in 1967, is a relatively recent discovery in gemstones. Zoisite had been around for more than a century before this rare blue variety was discovered. The blue-purple color is very popular for the December birthstone.

Another tanzanite fun fact surrounds its discovery. Originally, it was thought to be a sapphire, but tanzanite is its own gem and is 1,000 times rarer than a diamond.

Fun Facts About Zircon

zircon

Zircon is the oldest known mineral on Earth. Zircons can be found in multiple colors, from blue and pink to yellow or colorless versions. Blue zircon is typically the choice for a December birthstone. 

Most of the world’s zircons are mined in Australia, but they can be found in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Cambodia, Canada, and the United States.

Zircon is often confused with cubic zirconia. In reality, they are not related in any way. Cubic zirconia is a man-made gem, while zircon is a natural mineral.

Some believe that the name “zircon” comes from the Persian word “zargun,” meaning, “gold-colored.” The gem commonly occurs as a brownish-red, but the blue zircon is the most popular.

For more information on birthstones, see our complete guide. If you’re shopping for birthstone jewelry, the best place to start is with an American Gem Society (AGS) jeweler. Use our Find a Jeweler search tool to locate an AGS jeweler near you.