• Turquoise and Tanzanite: December's birthstones

Turquoise and Tanzanite: December's birthstones

Turquoise and Tanzanite: December's birthstones

Those born in December have a fabulous choice of birthstones available to them: bright, bold turquoise or stunning Tanzanite. The two gemstones are individually beautiful but significantly different in both their appearance and their history.

Turquoise has been used for personal adornment and decoration for thousands of years. Historically the finest material was said to be found in Persia (modern-day Iran is still regarded as a producer of very fine turquoise) and the gem was especially popular with the Ancient Egyptian civilization who could import it from the Middle East. They produced carvings from turquoise and used it for inlay work; the bright colour is particularly attractive when put to such uses.  


The colour of turquoise can vary from almost green to a beautiful sky blue, with shades of blue-green and turquoise in between. While some turquoise has solid, unbroken colour, most has dark veins running through, referred to as matrix, which can form lovely patterns.

As an opaque stone, turquoise is usually fashioned for jewellery as beads or cabochons (stones with a smooth, domed surface rather than flat facets). As a relatively soft and porous stone it is best to remove your turquoise jewellery for activities such as cleaning, DIY or going to the gym.

Tanzanite is now one of the most popular coloured gemstones available, but it was only discovered in the 1960s; a contrast to the long history of turquoise. It very quickly became popular due to the incredible beauty of its famous deep violet-blue colour and its fantastic sparkle.

Tanzanite is sourced solely from a single area in Tanzania. It has been found nowhere else on earth, and the complex combination of chemical and geological factors that caused its formation mean that experts think it is virtually impossible that it will be discovered elsewhere. This lends an extra sense of mystery and uniqueness to the stone that increases its desirability.

The beautiful combination of blue and purple seen in Tanzanite is due to the way the stone interacts with light. In simple terms, when a ray of light enters the stone it is split into two parts. As these vibrate through the stone they travel at slightly different speeds and change the way light is absorbed. This means that the two rays produce distinct colours, which in faceted Tanzanite usually results in a violet-blue colour, with one or other of the colours dominating depending on the orientation of the stone. Tanzanite is routinely heat treated to intensify the colour and produce the popular deep hues.

While it is a stunning gemstone and fully deserves to be shown off as much as possible, it is important to bear in mind that Tanzanite is a more delicate gemstone than diamond or sapphire. It is of medium hardness and is brittle, so it is best to save your rings for the evening when they are less likely to get knocked or damaged.

Whether it is turquoise or Tanzanite whose stunning hue tempts you, we have a lovely selection of pieces on offer and a highly experienced team of jewellers to help you make your choice. A small range of the turquoise or Tanzanite jewellery that is on offer can be also be viewed on our website, with much more to enjoy on display in our showroom.

  • Post author
    Zoe Lewis

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