Folklore of Zircon – the Oldest Mineral on Earth

Zircon is the oldest mineral on Earth. Due to its chemical makeup, it has survived ages of geological events, such as erosion and pressure shifts, recording these changes like a time capsule.

Zircon Gemstone

You can find zircon in a variety of colors, including blue, brown, red, orange, yellow, and green. Sometimes the gems are heat treated to enhance certain colors.

During the Middle Ages, people believed that zircon could induce sleep, ward off evil, and bring prosperity and wisdom. In the past, others felt it could heal madness, reduce temptation, and improve intelligence.

Zircon is now known as a “Stone of Virtue.” Folklore states that people believed it to have healing and grounding properties that helped them feel more balanced, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The believed healing properties included relieving pain and cramps, removing toxins from the body, and reducing fevers. Grounding properties included limiting nightmares, reducing stress, and alleviating symptoms of withdrawal.

Other people have felt that zircon helped with feelings of grief, sadness, anxiety, and fear. They said it promoted letting go of old feelings and helped them reevaluate what is important in life, including relationships with others and with material objects.

Zircon is often confused with man-made cubic zirconia. However, zircon is a naturally occurring mineral called zirconium silicate. Both zircon and cubic zirconia are great alternatives to diamonds.

If you’re looking for zircon jewelry for yourself or to gift to someone with a December birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend, and historical lore of zircon gems and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

Legends and Folklore of Turquoise

Turquoise has a rich history throughout millennia and across a variety of cultures. The earliest uses were beads found in Iraq, dating back to 5000 BCE. Turquoise gemstones were found in jewelry in Egyptian tombs, dating back to 3000 BCE. It was even used in King Tut’s burial mask.

Turquoise necklace from Lika Behar Collection.

Native Americans have mined turquoise in the southwestern part of the United States for nearly a thousand years. They’ve worn it during ceremonies to call upon spirits and to symbolize the god of the sky. They used it to guard burial sites and in divining since it enhances communication between spiritual and physical worlds.

Legends state that the blue-green stone could protect the wearer, so it was often used in shields, weapons, and bridles for warriors going to battle. It was also thought to instill tranquility and promote wisdom. Some have even believed it to have the power of immortality.

Turquoise is widely known as a symbol of friendship and happiness. In folklore, the stone’s energy would be programmed with a specific intention for daily wear or meditation uses. Many people would wear it near their heart as they believed it promoted positive, happy vibes.

With its blue color streaked with brown ribbons, the stone symbolized the earth and sky coming together and the joining of female and male energies.

Other legends believed that turquoise helped the user communicate and manifest wholeness and truth.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous piece of turquoise jewelry for yourself or to gift to someone with a December birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend, and historical lore of turquoise and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

The Folklore of Tanzanite

Tanzanite gets its name from the only location it can be found: Tanzania in Africa. Legend has it that this rare, deep blue stone—which is one of three birthstones for December—could develop intuition and deepen psychic abilities. It was considered a stone of transformation.

Tanzanite Gemstone

Legend has it that tanzanite could strengthen the immune system; regenerate cells, skin and hair; and detoxify blood. It was also believed to help with mental and emotional issues such as stress and fear.

Tanzanite is primarily blue in color, which can range from lighter lilac to deeper blue sapphire colors. It can also be found in shades of purple, yellow, and brown. In folklore, its color transformations, along with its high vibrational energy, could raise the consciousness of those who wear it.

If you’re looking for tanzanite jewelry for yourself or to gift to someone with a December birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend, and historical lore of tanzanite and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

Make the Season Bright With Tanzanite

Sleighbells ring, are you listening?
December’s birthstone, pretty and glistening
A beautiful sight
Blue tanzanite
Sparkling in a winter wonderland

Tanzanite is the primary birthstone for December, along with zircon and turquoise. Found only in Tanzania, it is also the gemstone for a 24th wedding anniversary. If you’ve made it to 24 years of marriage, you definitely deserve the gift of tanzanite!

If it’s not your birthstone or an anniversary gift, tanzanite still makes a perfect present for the holidays. Being blue never looked so good.

 

Are you feeling tantalized by tanzanite? Visit an American Gem Society (AGS) jeweler and they’ll help you find tanzanite and other fine jewelry gifts for the holidays!

 

Jewelers Mutual Presents: Your Birthstone Guide

JM-birthstone-guide

There’s something about birthstones that creates fascination, whether the focus is on their history and lore, or the emotional connection an individual may have with their birth month’s gem(s). In fact, the most searched topic on the American Gem Society website is “birthstones.”

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, in collaboration with the American Gem Society, has created a handy, go-to guide for birthstones. The guide features interesting facts about each birthstone and how to care for them. Click here to learn more!

Gemstone Spotlight: Tanzanite

tanzanite-UCG

Pear shape tanzanite and diamond ring by United Color Gems.

We often come across a gemstone that inspires us to learn more about its origins and history, as we search out jewelry designs that feature it. Today’s blog spotlights the alternative birthstone for a month other than this one, December. We’re referring to tanzanite.

Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, tanzanite has quickly risen to popularity since its relatively recent discovery.

Zoisite had been around more than a century and a half before this rare blue variety was found in 1967. Trace amounts of vanadium, mixed with extreme heat, cause the blue color – which ranges from pale blue to intense ultramarine with violet undertones.

Due to pleochroism—an optical phenomenon in which a substance displays different colors when seen from different angles—tanzanite must be cut properly to highlight the more attractive blue and violet hues, and deemphasize the undesirable brown tones.

The majority of tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colors found naturally and to enhance the blue shades that can rival sapphire.

Tanzanite is still only found on a few square miles of land in Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Its price and availability are directly tied to mines in this region.

Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many—whether you happen to be born in December or not!

 

If you’re drawn to the eye-catching blue, violet, and purple hues of tanzanite, contact an AGS credentialed jeweler near you to find a design that best suits you!

Chase Away the Winter Blues With December’s Birthstones

decemberbluesDecember’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise—all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue.

These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon) to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite).

Below is a collection of beautiful blues designed by our AGS members. Click on the images to see all the beautiful details!

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, tanzanite has quickly risen to popularity since its relatively recent discovery.

Due to pleochroism, tanzanite can display different colors when viewed from different angles. Stones must be cut properly to highlight the more attractive blue and violet hues and deemphasize the undesirable brown tones.

The majority of tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colors found naturally and to enhance the blue shades that can rival sapphire. Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many—whether one is born in December or not!

 

Zircon

Zircon is an underrated gem that’s often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia due to similar names and shared use as diamond simulants. Few people realize that zircon is a spectacular natural gem available in a variety of colors.

Zircon commonly occurs brownish red, which can be popular for its earth tones. However, most gem-quality stones are heat treated until colorless, gold or blue (the most popular color). Blue zircon, in particular, is the alternative birthstone for December.

Whether you’re buying blue zircon to celebrate a December birthday, or selecting another shade just to own a gorgeous piece of earth’s oldest history, zircon offers many options.

Turquoise

Turquoise, the traditional birthstone of December, is also gifted on the 11th wedding anniversary. But buying turquoise doesn’t require special occasions; its namesake blue color has been internationally revered for centuries as a symbol of protection, friendship, and happiness.

Thanks to its historical and cultural significance in many Native American tribes, turquoise remains most popular throughout the southwestern U.S.—which supplies most of the world’s turquoise today.

Turquoise is one of few gems not judged by the 4Cs of diamond quality. Instead, the main factors that determine its value are color, matrix, hardness, and size. The most prized turquoise color is a bright, even sky blue. Greenish tones can lower the value of a stone, although some designers prefer it.

Because of its fragility, turquoise is often treated to enhance durability and color. Some treatments involving wax and oil are relatively harmless, while other methods—including dye, impregnation, and reconstitution—are more controversial. Seek out an AGS jeweler who can help you find the best quality turquoise.

 

Shopping for fine jewelry should never make you blue! Make sure you shop with a trusted jeweler and buy it with confidence. Click here to search for an AGS jeweler near you.