December is a month of stark contrasts. In the northern hemisphere, it marks the start of winter and the solstice – the shortest day of the year and longest night. It was during this period that the Romans celebrated with an agricultural festival lasting a week (those Romans sure knew how to party!) called Saturnalia. And of course December hosts the the last day of the year, New Year’s Eve, which we think is the best excuse ever to dress festively and welcome in a new year in high style!
Where November’s birthstones, the Yellow Topaz and Citrine, saluted the sun, December’s reference the blue of the sky and the sea. From the rich purple overtones of Tanzanite, to the delicate blue of zircon or the inviting aquatic blue of turquoise…that’s right: there are three birthstones for lucky December.
While we love blue gemstones because, well, what’s not to love, they are thought to help promote patience and forgiveness (and ‘tis definitely the season for that). As well as letting go of guilt and the past. What a fabulous gemstone hue for ringing in a fresh and happy new year!
Photo Courtesy GeorgeThompson.com.
This rich, violet-blue zoisite is a relative newcomer to the world of jewelry and accidental one. It was discovered in 1967 by a Masai tribesman who happened upon a cache of these beautiful blue stones in the north of Tanzania. Local fortune-hunters hoped a motherlode of sapphires had been uncovered, igniting a local boom. It was Tiffany & Co. that recognized the potential that the vivid color this mysterious stone presented with its prismatic blue – light violet to deep ultramarine – with a purple halo. They were also the ones who named the stone, honoring the country in which it was found.
The following year, Tiffany’s began promoting it heavily with a splashy marketing campaign, rocketing Tanzanite to overnight gemstone fame. While some have regarded tanzanite as merely a substitute for the more pricey sapphire, its beauty and violet brilliance have long since made it desirable in its own right.
Image Courtesy Ebay.com.
Tanzanite’s association with the energy of sky blue makes it a stone that people believe contains qualities like trust, faith and protection. Its lovely touches of purple, a mystical hue, are no doubt why it’s thought to enhance the wearer’s psychic perception. As a bridge between the mind and the heart, it helps enlighten the former and flood the latter with compassion.
Photo Courtesy PrettyRock.com.
Not only does the zircon have to share the December gemstone spotlight with two other stones, but it’s often mistaken with the cubic zirconia, a manmade, lower cost alternative to the diamond. However, the lovely stone in question is no cheap imitation but an original found in Cambodia, Thailand and southern Vietnam. Despite being a native of Southeast Asia, its name is of Arabic origins. Possibly zarkun, which translates as cinnabar, or zargun, the Persian word for gold-colored. Indeed, zircons do come in yellows and oranges, but blue has been the highly treasured hue since Victorian times. In the 1880s, the famous gemologist George F. Kunz, also a gem buyer for Tiffany & Co., began promoting the zircon. He even proposed “Starlight” as a name, hoping to highlight the stone’s fiery feel, but zircon stuck. Perhaps starlight would have been the better choice – prettier, certainly – and an homage to the way the stone has been associated with inducing sound sleep since the Middle Ages. It also has connotations of driving off evil spirits and bolstering one’s bank account. Which is always most welcome any time of year.
Photo Courtesy Gia.edu.
December’s third birthstone has a long jewelry history, dating back at least 5,000 years to Iraq. Over 3,000 years ago, Chinese artisans were already carving turquoise and in ancient Egypt, there is evidence of the stone being mined in the Sinai in 3200 BC. The rulers of the day liberally enjoyed the decorative powers of this pretty stone and King Tutankhamun even took his to the grave, literally, in a death mask studded with turquoise. Native American tribes have also long used turquoise in protective amulets and jewelry. Its color-changing ability made it prominent when divining the future and during special ceremonies, it embodied the living god of the sky. Members of the Apache tribe attached it to their bows to increase their accuracy in battle and when hunting. Countless others have added it to a horse’s bridle, a pet bird’s cage or dog’s collar to prevent animals from straying or being stolen.
Image Courtesy ISHARYA Studio.
Here are some of our favorite blue ways to beat the December blues:
Our Turquoise Gypsy Statement Ring features a bright turquoise oval set in 18k gold plating and is girlie, but still kinda tough.
Wearing a stack of Turquoise Pyramid Luxe Flat Cuffs would take the frosty edge off even the most wintery of ensembles.
Slip on some Turquoise Pyramid Luxe Stud Earrings to add vintage allure.
The Moon Bali Comet Pendant features a cluster of turquoise set in a beautiful filigree 18k gold design for lavish luxe.
How do you accessorize away your winter blues? Be sure to show us with the hastag #Isharya.