13 December 2022
December's Birthstones- Tanzanite, Turquoise & Zircon
Poised between lush blue, vibrant violet, and rich purple, exotic Tanzanite is found in only one place on earth, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro and is one of the most exciting gem discoveries of the 20th century.
Discovering the ‘Gem of the century’
Back in 1962, a man named Manuel De Souza was exploring the Tanzania region, when he came across blue stones emerging from the ground. The glistening gems found in the Merelani Hills, caught his eye as he explored the area on foot. A sample of the gemstones were collected and were identified as the mineral zoisite in 1962.
Following the exciting discovery, jewellery giants ‘Tiffany & Co.’ believed that the gemstone had international appeal. They renamed the gemstone from Zoisite to Tanzanite, to honour its country of origin. In 1968, Tiffany launched a major advertising campaign to promote the gemstone and it quickly became known as the gemstone of the century, owing to its limited supply and one and only source. With its vivid colours, high clarity and potential for large cut stones, tanzanite quickly became a sensation.
Today, it is not only a December birthstone, but it is also the gem for the 24th wedding anniversary.
Most Tanzanite begins as brownish zoisite that is heat treated to produce the blue to violet hues that characterise this December birthstone. The resulting colour is permanent, and there are no additional durability concerns.
The birthstone is often described as “velvety,” mostly because of its deep and saturated colour, which ranges from a pure rich blue to violet, with the blue considered most valuable.
Whilst we don’t recommend daily wear in a ring, with a protective mounting and some care this December birthstone can be an attractive special-occasion jewel. It also looks spectacular set in a pendant or a pair of earrings.
Warm, soapy water is the best way to clean this December birthstone, and a gentle polish with a polishing cloth.
Tanzanite is one of the most precious gemstones discovered to date. Supplies may be stashed in just a small part of the world, but the stone is adored and desired across the globe. We are fortunate and proud to bring you a beautiful selection of fine jewellery in our Tanzanite collection, a gem collector’s dream, and the perfect centrepiece for any jewellery collection. To own one of these precious jewels is to become part of the legacy of Manuel De Souza, a rich heritage that we hope every Tanzanite wearer is proud to join.
The earliest evidence of turquoise gemstones comes from ancient Egyptian tombs, containing elaborate turquoise jewellery dating back to 3000 BCE. Egyptians loved the gemstone and set turquoise into gold necklaces and rings, used it as inlay, and carved it into scarabs.
Archaeological excavations reveal that the rulers of ancient Egypt adorned themselves with turquoise jewellery, and Chinese artisans were carving it more than 3,000 years ago. In the ancient Persian empire, the gemstones were worn around the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death. Turquoise is the national gem of Tibet, and has long been considered a stone that guarantees health, good fortune, and protection from evil.
The gemstones name comes from the French expression pierre tourques, or “Turkish stone.” The name, which originated in the thirteenth century, reflects the fact that the material probably first arrived in Europe from Turkish sources.
Natural zircon, known for its vivid colours and diamond-like appearance, is one the most ancient materials on Earth. A gemstone able to withstand incredible pressure, some pieces of zircon date over 4 billion years old. In the middle ages, zircon was believed to promote sleep, as well as bring prosperity, honour, and wisdom to its wearer. The name of this gem comes from the Persian word zargun, meaning “gold-hued.”
These birthstones make a beautiful gift for someone who celebrates their birthday in December. All 3 stones have a unique beauty and are very versatile to wear as a ring, pendant necklace or pair of earrings.