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.
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.
As summer stretches out toward its final dog days, and the thermometer keeps bobbing toward the high end, you are probably feeling the need to cool down. We have some nice ice to help. As usual with us, it’s the jewelry kind of ice.
Let’s look at five amazingly lovely pieces of jewelry we’ve recently featured on our AGS Facebook page to help us take our minds off of the temperature.
First up, these blue topaz and peridot earrings, and blue topaz pendant, from Goshwara are as calming and cool as the ocean itself.
Staying with the light blues, we love this custom engagement ring from Tacori:
Let’s keep the light blue theme going, with this big, beautiful zircon ring from Carizza:
Straying from the lighter blues, let’s get a little deep, as in the deep violet hue of this Tanzanite beauty from United Color Gems.
Last, but certainly not least, imagine this blue-green sapphire from Gem 2000 in the style of your choice. What would you do? A pendant? A solitaire ring?
December’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 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!
Pear shaped tanzanite earrings by United Color Gems.
Carved tanzanite ring by Goshwara.
Tanzanite and diamond ring by Erica Courtney.
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.
Blueberry Zircon™ by Le Vian.
Custom cut blue zircons by Simone & Son.
Blue zircon and diamond pendant by Yael Designs.
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.
Turquoise and black sapphire ring by Lisa Bridge Collection.
Arizona turquoise bead and sterling silver necklace by John Hardy.
Mexican turquoise and champagne diamond pendant by Lika Behar Collection.
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.