December's Birthstones – Turquoise and Zircon

December is an exceptionally lucky month for birthstones. Since techniques to scientifically distinguish different gemstones are a relatively new occurrence, traditionally it was the colour of the gemstone that was more important than the type. It might have been that Lapis Lazuli was the original December birthstone, and with lots of cases of mistaken identity, it became accepted that almost any blue stone could be chosen. Turquoise, Tanzanite, and Blue Zircon are the current top contenders for the honour of being December's birthstone, though blue zircon is relatively rare and most blue zircon on the market is regular zircon that has been heat-treated to gain its colour. So which blue December birthstone will you choose? Our favourites are the modern turquoise and traditional zircon.

December birthstones info graphic

What is turquoise?

Turquoise is considered a semi-precious stone that's an opaque blue-green colour. It can have a solid colour, or be veined throughout with browns and greys. It takes millions of years for turquoise to form, and it all begins when water trickles into sandstone that is rich with copper, aluminium or other minerals. The copper provides the blue colouration, while aluminium adds the green hue. The brown-grey veins, called matrix, are remnants of the host rock and devalue the turquoise gemstone slightly.

Samples of North American matrixed turquoise

Iran (formerly Persia) is considered to have some of the finest turquoise deposits. The term "Persian Turquoise" is used to describe turquoise of the highest