If you or a loved one has a December birthday, consider a gift of tanzanite or turquoise for the holidays or their birthday, two of December’s striking blue-toned birthstones.
Here are some rare and interesting facts about these festive gemstones.
- Tanzanite is named after the East African state of Tazmania, the only place in the world where it can be found.
- The blue variety of tanzanite is called zoisite.
- Tanzanite comes in a rich blue tinged with purple hues.
- Tanzanite ranks 6 or 7 on the Mohs scale, meaning it has fair to poor toughness. It should not be set in a ring that will be worn during strenuous activity.
- Never clean tanzanite in an ultrasonic cleaner.
- Tanzanite was found in 1967 and is a relatively recent discovery. The gemstone was offered to Tiffany & Co.
- Originally known as blue zoisite, the mineral’s name was changed to tanzanite—the place where it was found—by Henry Platt, Vice President of Tiffany & Co., because he felt zoisite sounded too much like suicide.
- In October 2002, the American Gem Trade Association officially named tanzanite as the third December birthstone (the other two are turquoise and zircon).
- In the 1997 movie, Titanic, the beautiful heart-shaped blue pendant necklace that Kate Winslet wore called the “Heart of the Ocean” was in fact a tanzanite stone surrounded by diamonds.
- Turquoise is a blue-green mineral, with the chemical name of hydrated copper aluminum phosphate.
- The gemstone’s blue color can be attributed to the presence of copper while the presence of aluminum adds a greenish hue to the gem.
- With a rating between 5 and 6, turquoise should be handled carefully and stored separately from other harder gemstones.
- The word turquoise is derived from the Old French word meaning Turkish stone.
- The ancient Egyptians used turquoise in jewelry, art, ornaments, and statues because they believed it had magical powers.
- Some of the finest turquoise is known to come from Iran, but high-grade turquoise is also mined in Arizona and New Mexico.
- Turquoise is sacred to many Native Americans. In the past, Native Americans would use it as a shaman’s stone, which were stones believed to have strong metaphysical properties for spiritual growth.
- It takes millions of years and the right conditions for turquoise to be formed when water enters an iron-rich limonite or sandstone that contains copper, aluminum, and other minerals.
- Turquoise may contain narrow vein-like markings of its host rock. These markings are known as the matrix. Limonite creates a dark brown marking while sandstone creates tan markings. The presence of a matrix can lower the value of a turquoise.
If you’re looking for a gift for someone born in December, that’s perfect for the holidays, Empire Jewelers has a beautiful and affordable collection of tanzanite and turquoise pieces at Empire’s eBay store!