Zircon, Tanzanite, and Turquoise ~ by Grace Augustine

December is another one of those odd months with three birthstones. The Traditional gem for December is turquoise. Tanzanite and Zircon
were added later. Let's look at the properties of these beauties individually.

Photo courtesy: Deposit Photos

The Zircon is a luminescent tetragonal with with prismatic crystals that are often twinned. This gem comes in a variety of colors, with ice blue being the most common. The stone is found world-wide, especially imbedded in granites.

It is often mistaken for cubic zirconia, which it is not. It is a gem of it's own, not manmade. When cut properly, the zircon closely resembles the diamond. Even though this gem mimics the diamond, the zircon is rarer than the diamond.

On the MOHS scale, it comes in at a 6, a relatively soft gem compared to the diamond that is a 10. To read more about the zircon, please visit  gemsociety.org

Photo Courtesy: Deposit Photos
The Tanzanite  In it's natural state, the gem, also known as zoisite, is a reddish brown. With heat treating it turns a beautiful blue or violet color. Virtually all tanzanite is heat treated to bring out the luster and color of the gem.

Their relative softness requires tender treatment when wearing and cleaning. A simple bump of the gem may cause non-repairable issues.

Zoisite is named after Baron Sigmund Zois, who presented the first specimens to Abraham Gottlob Werner, a great mineralogist. The name Tanzanite is the Tiffany & Co. trade name for blue zoisite, named after it's country of origin.

For more information on this lovely gem, please visit gemsociety.org


The Turquoise
 This gem is well-known, especially in the southwestern United States. It's traditional blue to green colors are normally set in silver. When you think of this gem, you can't help but think of the beautiful squash blossom necklaces.

Photo courtesy: Hoel's Indian Shop
This gem is moderately priced, making it a collectible for many. Its softness, coming in on the MOHS scale at a 5-6 at best, lends for delicate care. The stone was first brought to Europe from Iran.

Turquoise is formed by bubbling ground waters in aluminous rocks where copper is present. It can be found in Iran, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Tibet, and here in the United States in New Mexico and Arizona.

For more information on this traditional December birthstone, please visit gemsociety.org

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