December Birthstone: (Almost) Anything Blue Works
Looking for your December birthstone? Well you are in luck, because there is not one December birthstone, but a total of four modern birthstones as well as two traditional birthstones!
Their names are turquoise, zircon, blue topaz and tanzanite. They range from cheap (turquoise and blue topaz) and affordable (zircon) to expensive (tanzanite). So there is a December birthstone for every budget.
Unfortunately all the modern birthstones of December are blue. However there’s a solution to this as well. You can take a look at one of the traditional December birthstones: ruby or bloodstone.
‘If cold December gave you birth.
The month of snow and ice and mirth.
Place on your hand a turquoise blue.
Success will bless whate’er you do.
Turquoise is the original modern birthstone for December. This green-blue to sky-blue gemstone has been used as a gemstone for thousands of years. Today its popularity is increasing again, even as new gemstones are discovered.
Its unique color and low price have made it a favorite of fashion designers all over the world. Unfortunately it is relatively soft so you should handle it with care. Sleeping beauty turquoise, pictured above, is considered the highest quality of turquoise found today.
It is found in and named after the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Mine in Globa, Arizona. Even this high quality turquoise is still very affordable, due to the high productivity of the mine. So it shouldn’t be a problem to find turquoise jewelry to your liking for less than $100 or even $50.
Zircon can be found in many colors one of which is blue. Zircons are amazing looking stones, with high brilliance and fire. It has a higher hardness than turquoise, but they are fairly brittle.
Which means you should be careful about setting them in a normal ring. It’s best to either get them in a protective setting or only buy a zircon necklace, pendant or earrings.
Only discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, tanzanite has found a place among the most treasured gemstones. The striking purple-blue color, high hardness and durability makes it an excellent gemstone for daily wear.
Tanzanite is still only found in Tanzania and there’s a good possibility that it will be completely mined out over the next two decades. Together this has made tanzanite the most expensive of the december birthstones.
Keep in mind that virtually all tanzanite on the market has been heat treated to gain its permanent blue color. So if you are looking for an all-natural gemstone, turquoise will be your best bet. As blue topaz is almost always irradiated and often heated for good measure, while blue zircon is almost always heat treated.
Blue topaz is another great gemstone that can be worn every day. The high hardness and durability has made it a very popular and expensive in history. Because while natural blue topaz can be found, it is very rare.
More recently however large amounts of regular white topaz is being irradiated to permanently gain a striking blue color.
It has quickly become one of the most popular blue gemstones as its price plummeted. Blue topaz is by far the cheapest option if you want a clear blue faceted birthstone. Treated loose blue topaz is often sold for less than $5/carat.
Natural blue topaz will set you back quite a bit more at between $50-100/carat. Many people also like the vivid blue colors of a treated topaz more than the pale blue colors of natural topaz.
December Birthstone Alternatives
The ruby is one of the traditional birthstones of December. It is known as the ‘king of gemstones’, because it is rare, beautiful, extremely durable and expensive.
Its red color will contrast nicely with the cool blue colors of the other December birthstones. Making it an excellent gemstone to add to december birthstone jewelry.
Unfortunately rubies are very expensive, a good quality 1 carat ruby will easily sell for $1,000-$5,000! Which makes it more suitable for a unique engagement ring rather than birthstone jewelry.
Another traditional December birthstone is the bloodstone. A green gemstone with red spots resembling blood on it. Which is where the name bloodstone comes from. Bloodstone is an opaque gemstone (not clear) and is often cut or polished into a cabochon. Though faceted bloodstones are available in almost any shape you desire.
Bloodstones are very cheap often selling for as little as a few dollars per carat. I advise getting a polished cabochon as faceting an opaque gemstone is little more than a marketing trick. It doesn’t add to the beauty of the stone at all. Unless you like the shape of course!
Other alternatives for the birthstone of December are usually based on the color blue. They include, but are not limited to, lapis lazuli, aquamarine, blue sapphire, azurite, kyanite, iolite and benitoite.
Keep in mind that these are not official birthstones. They are just an alternative if none of the options above are to your liking.
For more articles on birthstones feel free to take a look at: Birthstones Overview