December’s official birthstone, according to the American National Association of Jewelers, is the Blue Topaz. This beautiful blue gemstone is also the traditional gemstone for a couple’s fourth wedding anniversary. The blue topaz has also been the official gemstone of the State of Texas since 1969 and is a worldwide favorite because of its lovely blue hues and its clear quality.
The topaz gems are not always blue in color, though. Topaz is naturally found in shades of red, orange, pink, beige, brown and green. This versatile stone actually isn't often found in a natural blue color! In fact, natural blue topaz is quite rare. Typically clear topaz gems are treated with radiation and then heated to get that gorgeous blue color.
The Blue Topaz is one of the more popular stones in the United States. Even though blue topaz is the most popular color, many people immediately picture a yellow-orange gem when they hear the word topaz. If fact, the yellow topaz is the alternate birthstone for November.
Topaz comes from the Greek word meaning “to shine” and the Greeks associated the topaz with strength. Many people also associate the word with fire as well. The Ancient Egyptians used the topaz to represent their sun god, Ra. The orange, red and pink topaz gemstones are the rarest and most expensive.
The topaz gemstone is most commonly found in South America’s country of Brazil and it is found in Nigeria as well as Sri Lanka. The topaz is in great demand today but it has always been a very popular gemstone throughout civilized history.
The popularity of the December birthstone may be attributed to the curative elements that the gem is thought to have. Some believe that the topaz can lessen the symptoms of insomnia, giving way to the wear’s peaceful night’s sleep. The gem is thought to have a calming effect, particularly the blue topaz since blue is a color associated with calm. Other health benefits that are attributed to the gemstone include relief from asthma and protection from sudden death. Some believe that the topaz can restore a person’s sanity.
Fanciful qualities that the topaz is thought to possess include the stone’s ability to make the wearer invisible when there is trouble, which sounds more like something out of The Hobbit series than a description of the quality of a gemstone. Another fanciful attribute given to the stone is its supposed ability to warn the wearer of danger. The topaz is thought to change color in the presence of poison.
While these attributes to the topaz are a little far fetched the quality and the appeal of the topaz gemstone, especially the blue topaz, are not debatable. This popular gemstone will remain a favorite for people even people who don’t have December birthdays and who don’t live in Texas. The blue topaz is for everyone.
A Brief Guide to December Birthstones
Blue topaz is the December birthstone. Blue topaz is one of the most popular gemstones due to its stunningly clear blue color. There are different varieties of the blue topaz such as sky blue, swiss blue and london blue. Greeks in ancient times thought topaz had the power to increase strength and make one invisible. Blue topaz was thought to do that as well as cool tempers and restore sanity.
Topaz is a common gem and has been used in jewelry for centuries. Gem quality topaz is quite durable with a hardness of 8. It is suitable for every day wear. The London Blue color of blue topaz is not naturally found, but is a blue topaz that has its color enhanced with heat. Blue topaz is the most well known, popular and expensive color of topaz.
Because of the contrast, December's birthstones not only make excellent birthday gifts, they also can be combined into jewelry that represents all the nuances of love and hate in a passionate romantic relationship. Combine ruby with blue zircon to capture the differences between fire and ice, or place it with turquoise or lapis lazuli for even greater contrast. But however you blend it, however you give it, however you wear it, few birthstones can rival December's for sheer emotional power, endurance, and desirability.
December Modern and Traditional Birthstone: Blue Topaz
Perhaps no birthstones show a wider range as far as color and character goes than December's birthstones. All the smooth, cool blue of artic ice caves and deep, frigid water is bound up in the modern December birthstone, turquoise, which seems brushed with winter's cool hues. Similarly, opaque lapis lazuli, one of the alternate modern birthstones, plays its blues in rich and frosty shades. And while translucent tanzanite is found in both cool blue and warm lavendar, only its clearest blues are generally accepted as the second alternate birthstone for December. Similarly, the blue zircon, the first of two traditional birthstones for December, while paler than its tanzanite counterpart, is as clear and icy blue as a winter's day. At first glance, it would seem that December's birthstones were chosen solely for their similarity to the frosty month whose name they bear, and that those who prefer warmer colors should seek elsewhere for their gemstones.
December Alternate Birthstone: Tanzanite
And yet, we find in the second traditional birthstone for December, the ruby, such a contrast of color and character that it hardly seems possible it should belong to the same month as turquoise, lapis lazuli, tanzanite and blue zircon. But what could be more natural? If out-of-doors is a chill and frosty place in the middle of December, it only makes the warmth inside contrast more sharply. If turquoise and lapis lazuli, tanzanite and blue zircon, contain all winter's ice and snow, then the ruby contains firelight and family, warmth and laughter, Christmas and love. Like December itself, December's birthstones blend cool and warm, fire and ice, for a dazzling effect reminiscent of watching snowflakes falling outside a warm kitchen window.