Birthstones have existed across cultures throughout history. Often, these were attributed to significant aspects of a particular society, such as religion or custom. Modern times reflect these themes as well, as groups have updated these symbolic stones to reflect current tastes, thoughts, and trends. Join us as we examine the nature of the December birthstone.
If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do.
-Traditional Birthstone Poem
December babies are super lucky! Of all the months of the year, only December and June feature three separate birthstones. December’s birthstones are turquoise, blue zircon, and tanzanite. Evocative of the cold winter month, it should be no surprise that all three of these gemstones exhibit various tones and hues of blue.
Initially, at the turn of the century, the Jeweler’s of America updated the birthstone list. This was intended to standardize the list, which before could be open to many forms of interpretation. Initially, turquoise and lapis lazuli were established as the birthstones for the month of December. Both were selected for the evocative blue hues they present. Over time, this list would evolve.
Eventually, lapis lazuli would be dropped in favor of blue zircon in the early 1950’s. In 2002, tanzanite would also come to join turquoise and blue zircon as official December birthstones.
Historical December Birthstone
There are two birthstones historically associated with December. These are bloodstone and ruby.
Bloodstone is the lesser known of the two. A variety of jasper, it has a green body color with red inclusions derived from hematite. Bloodstone’s name comes from these red spots, as they are meant to resemble blood. Bloodstone may also be known as heliotrope.
The second historical birthstone, ruby, needs little introduction. One of the traditional four precious stones, ruby, has long been popular as a gem. While ruby was the traditional December birthstone, it is currently the modern birthstone for July. A variety of corundum, ruby and sapphire are from the same family. In the United States, there is a distinction between pink sapphire and ruby. Elsewhere in the world, however, they can be both be considered to be rubies.
December Birthstone Quick Facts
- Turquoise, blue zircon, and tanzanite are considered the modern U.S. birthstones.
- The United Kingdom only recognizes turquoise and tanzanite as birthstones.
- Sagittarius (11/22-12/21) utilizes topaz as their stone.
- Capricorn (12/22-1/21) is assigned ruby as a birthstone.
- Bloodstone and ruby are historical December birthstones.
Birthstones were often thought to bestow luck on the wearer. They continue to be an excellent gift for lovers of jewelry and mementos. Whether you prefer tradition or modern sensibilities, birthstones are a unique way to tell a story about yourself. Which would you choose?