December!! The last month of the year, how did we get here so quickly?!
The month of mistletoe and holly, mince pies and mulled wine, tinsel and baubles.... but the baubles I'm interested in are the ones that make our jewellery sparkle! December has three birthstones, one a much newer addition. They are zircon, turquoise and tanzanite.
Zircon, for many years was used to imitate diamonds which is a shame as it is a beautiful gemstone in its own right. Its name comes from the Arabic words "zar" meaning gold and "gun" meaning colour although it is found in a wide range of colours including blue, green, orange, yellow and red, which is the most sought after. Found in the Chanthaburi region of Thailand, the Palin area of Cambodia and the southern part of Vietnam, it is said to protect travellors from disease and injury, ensure a warm welcome and ensuring a deep tranquil sleep.
Turquoise is one of the oldest known gemstones and varies in colour from greenish-blue, robins-egg blue to sky blue. Turquoise is plentiful and most often cut as a cabochon, beads, carvings and inlays. This gemstone goes in and out of "fashion" but is always a favourite in the American Southwest.
Tanzanite is a one locational gemstone that was discovered in the 1960's. Colours range from blue to violet and can be found with pale green running through, known as a bicolour tanzanite. Often bought has a cheaper alternative to sapphire, tanzanite is now valued more for its own colour and brillance.
So,which will you choose?