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December Gemstones

Turquoise is the birthstone for those born in December, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Capricorn (December 22-January 19) – the alternative gemstone for December is Zircon.

Did you know there are also flowers associated with birth months?  December’s flower is Holly.

Holly Blossoms


The word Turquoise comes from the Anglo-French turkeise.

The color of Turquoise has a range of color from hues of green to blue.  I love wearing this stone when the weather begins to warm – it just feels earthy and organic against your skin!

For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran (Persia) but today some specimens mined in the southwestern United States compete with it. Currently, “Persian Turquoise” is generally used to designate any stone without the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States.

Native Americans believed Turquoise to have many protective and healing properties including a positive healing energy, good fortune, and strength.  Other cultures believe Turquoise to enhance creativity, communication, serenity and wisdom.  Turquoise is also believed to foster empathy, loyalty, courage, confidence, and personal power.  A dream of Turquoise is thought to signify prosperity.


The Zircon was one of the earliest, if not the first, gems used by man.  Zircon gems come in a range of colors from red to yellow, brown, blue and green.  It has a high refractive index – which gives it brilliance and sparkle.

In the Bible, zircon is noted by its ancient name, ‘jacinth‘ – a term used to describe the pale yellow to clear zircon.  Ancient travelers wore Zircon to protect themselves from the plague, wounds and injuries.

Zircon is credited with guarding sailors from lightning and expelling evil spirits with its brightness. It is an alternative birthstone for December, as well as one of the stones for the 4th year of marriage.

Zircon is thought to bestow wisdom, honor and wealth to those who possess it. It is especially prized for protecting travelers from harm, and even today, the Hindus believe zircon can stimulate spiritual growth. The name, Zircon, originates from the Persian word zargun which means “gold-colored.”

In the Middle Ages, this gem was thought to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits, and promote riches, honor, and wisdom.


Tanzanite is a newer stone and was added to the official birthstone list in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association as an additional birthstone for December.

With a chemical composition of calcium aluminum silicate is a member of the Zoisite mineral family, Tanzanite is found only in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, East Africa. This sole source for the supply of Tanzanite makes it a gemstone rarer than diamonds.

Uncut blue Tanzanite
Pure tanzanite can be a blue color when first mined, but is also found in brown hues and is typically heat-treated to create the sought-after bluish-purple color.

Being a new and rare stone – Tanzanite has little folklore other than the folklore from the Maasai tribe that lives in the area of the Tanzanite source. The Maasai tribe believe tanzanite to be a magical stone.  Their story tells of the ground being set on fire by a bolt of lightning,  whose heat altered the color of the stones into what is now known as Tanzanite.

Tanzanite is believed to be a stone of good fortune, and is thought to activate one’s psychic abilities, and provide wisdom and balance.


Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.

In his book, turquoise is listed as the gemstone for July, while ruby is listed as the birthstone for December.  In all my other references – this is the complete opposite – as ruby is listed for July, turquoise for December – eeeek – time for some chocolate!!!!.  I will leave you with the poem for Turquoise from July:

‘Sentiments of The Months’:


The heav’n-blue turquoise should adorn

All those who in July are born;

For those they’ll be exempt and free

From love’s doubts and anxiety.

No other gem than turquoise on her breast

Can to the loving, doubting heart bring rest.