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What are December two birthstones?

What are December two birthstones?

December has two official birthstones associated with it: turquoise and zircon. Both of these gemstones are unique and have special meanings and symbolic attributes. In this article, we will explore the history, lore, and significance behind December’s two birthstones.

What is the history behind December’s birthstones?

The tradition of associating certain gemstones with calendar months dates back thousands of years. In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers officially adopted and standardized the modern list of birthstones, including designating turquoise and zircon as the two birthstones for December.

Turquoise has been prized for its brilliant robin’s egg blue color since ancient times. It has been used extensively in jewelry and ornamentation throughout the Middle East and Native American cultures. The oldest known turquoise mines date back to 3200 BCE in ancient Egypt. It was believed to promote healing and bring good fortune.

Zircon has similar ancient origins, mentioned in Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek texts as early as the 5th century BCE. The brilliant fire and wide range of colors of zircon led it to be imitated for other gems. The more colorless varieties were the most highly prized. The word “zircon” comes from the Persian word “zargun”, meaning gold-colored.

So turquoise and zircon have histories spanning thousands of years. Their lore and reputations as prized, protective, and beautiful gems made them natural choices for December birthstones.

What do turquoise and zircon symbolize?

In addition to their brilliance and beauty, turquoise and zircon have symbolic meanings and associations.

Turquoise is believed to promote wisdom, trust, and understanding. The stone is thought to provide protection and even bring good fortune, healing, and luck to the wearer. Turquoise has long been associated with the blue of the sky and the energy and flow of water. It represents calmness, serenity, and open communication.

Zircon is believed to provide wisdom, honor, and prosperity. It has been regarded as a protective stone that relieves pain and heals. Zircon is said to connect the wearer with integrity, virtue, and self-esteem. The brilliance of zircon means it is also associated with bringing hope, boosting energy, and stimulating mental clarity.

So despite their differences, turquoise and zircon share uplifting and empowering symbolic meanings centering around wisdom, healing, and positive energy. Their reputations developed from ancient beliefs about their protective powers.

What are the properties of turquoise and zircon?

In addition to their cultural symbolism, turquoise and zircon have unique properties as gemstones.


  • Color ranges from sky blue to greenish robin’s egg blue
  • Hardness is 5-6 on the Mohs scale
  • Triclinic crystal system
  • Often contains natural dark spiderweb matrix veining
  • Mined in select locations including Iran, Egypt, and American Southwest
  • Sensitive to direct sunlight, skin oils, chemicals, heat
  • Requires gentle care to preserve color


  • Colorless, yellow, brown, red, and blue varieties
  • Brilliant fire and flashes of rainbow dispersion
  • Hardness 7.5 on Mohs scale
  • Tetragonal crystal system
  • Mined globally including Australia and Asia
  • Durable and suitable for daily wear
  • No special care required

The properties of the two stones differ significantly. Turquoise is softer, more porous, and requires more care. Zircon is incredibly durable with fiery brilliance. But both possess unique beauty.

How can you wear and style turquoise and zircon?

December birthstones can be worn in a variety of styles:


  • Turquoise rings, pendants, bracelets
  • Southwestern silver and turquoise jewelry
  • Bohemian beaded turquoise necklaces
  • Turquoise earrings and statement pieces
  • Turquoise cabochons, smooth oval shapes
  • Native American styles with extended gemstone shapes
  • Turquoise can be combined with gold, silver, copper


  • Zircon engagement rings, anniversary bands, cocktail rings
  • Solitaire pendants, drop earrings
  • Tennis bracelets, necklaces
  • Antique and vintage styles
  • Brilliant round, princess, and oval cuts
  • Colorless white zircon mimics diamonds
  • Fancy vivid blue is rare and valuable

For a December birthday, wearing either or both turquoise and zircon birthstones is a great way to celebrate. The variety of colors and cuts means the stones can be styled in many different ways.

How can you identify and evaluate turquoise and zircon?

To identify and value turquoise and zircon gemstones, here are some important factors to look for:


  • Natural or treated color – evenly distributed, no visible dye
  • Clarity – some visible matrix veining expected
  • Cut quality – smooth polish, no visible pits or porosity
  • Carat weight – heavier stones more rare and valuable
  • Provenance – locally mined natural American turquoise most valuable
  • No odors – plastics and resins have distinct scents when heated


  • Color – blue most valuable, colorless, golden brown, and red also popular
  • Clarity – free from inclusions
  • Cut – precise faceting and proportions to maximize fire
  • Carat – larger stones command higher prices
  • Origin – no treatments
  • Certification – gemological lab report

An experienced jeweler can also help verify authenticity. High quality examples of December birthstones are smart investments.

How much do turquoise and zircon cost?

There is a wide range in pricing for turquoise and zircon:


  • Low: $5 to $30 per carat for stabilized stones
  • Medium: $50 to $100 per carat for untreated natural stones
  • High: Over $100 per carat for natural American turquoise


  • Low: $50 to $80 per carat for brown zircon
  • Medium: $100 to $250 for colorless or red stones
  • High: Over $1,000 per carat for natural vivid blue zircon

Factors like size, clarity, color intensity, and origin impact value. But beautiful examples of December birthstones can be found at many price points.

What are some famous turquoise and zircon jewelry pieces?

December birthstones have been featured in world-famous jewelry pieces:


  • Tutankhamun’s burial mask decorated with turquoise, gold, lapis, and obsidian
  • Queen Zarina’s crown from ancient Persia set with over 150 turquoises
  • Paul Morelli 18K hammered gold cuff with American turquoise cabochons


  • The tiaras of Marie Antoinette accented with rose cut zircons
  • Van Cleef & Arpels 1939 Zip Necklace with round zircons
  • Harry Winston Premier Chinese New Year Dragon brooch with thousands of zircons

Both turquoise and zircon have embellished royal crowns, ancient artifacts, and iconic jewelry designs throughout history.

Stone Color Hardness Crystal System
Turquoise Sky blue to blue-green 5-6 Triclinic
Zircon Colorless, yellow, red, brown, blue 7.5 Tetragonal


December’s two birthstones, turquoise and zircon, have unique histories and symbolic associations. Turquoise promotes wisdom and prosperity. Zircon provides healing and hope. Both make meaningful December birthstone gifts with a wide variety of styling options. Their enduring popularity and presence in famous jewelry mean these two gems will continue to dazzle for years to come.