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Turquoise: A December Birthstone

Updated on June 22, 2015

The Origins of Birthstones

The idea of a birthstone, or wearing a specific gemstone for your birth month, is a relatively modern tradition based on a blend of religion and astrology.

In the Book of Exodus, Aaron wore a sacred breastplate adorned with 12 gemstones to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. As with many Christian traditions, the church would align their celebrations and observances with secular traditions to ease the process of converting to Christianity. By the 5th century, priests began to associate this biblical list of twelve shining gems with the twelve cycles of the zodiac calendar.

However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the idea to trade in gemstones specific to birth months began to be promoted by Jewish gem traders in Poland. In 1912, the Jewelers of America (formerly the National Association of Jewelers) released the first official birthstone list.

The Birthstone Chart

The Birthstone Chart
The Birthstone Chart

Best Jewelry Choices

While tanzanite is frequently considered the official birthstone for the month of December, it wasn’t always so. Prior to 2002, the official birthstones for December were turquoise and zircon.

Turquoise Jewelry
Turquoise Jewelry

Gemstone Colors

Turquoise is an opaque blue-green hue and may possess a matrix of contrasting veins in shades of copper, brown and black. Some varieties may appear greener or bluer, depending on the ratio of minerals like copper and iron contained within the stone.

Some varieties of turquoise undergo a dying process to color the stone rich shades of royal purple, apple green or bright orange. One of the most popular colors of turquoise is a natural robin’s egg blue obtained from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona.

Other Birth Month Inspired Gifts

If you're not big on birthstones, there are other gift options to consider. The official flower for December birthdays is the narcissus, also called the daffodil or jonquil. A potted narcissus bulb is a fragrant reminder of their birthday that will bloom year after year with proper care.

Additionally, gift in shades of blue and blue-green are a nice way to celebrate December birth months. A turquoise colored throw blanket or deep blue scarf can be a cozy keepsake for the birthday boy or girl.

Arizona Sleeping Beauty turquoise -The fairest in the world

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      One thing I always thought of as unfair was the different stones are not all of the same value. It seems to be better to have been born in certain months if one is to wear a birthstone piece of jewelry.