December Birthstone – The Breathtaking Blue Topaz
Winter is finally here! There’s a flurry of snow, people are dressed in their warmest coats and the scent of pine trees and sparking fires fills the air. It is appropriate then that the December birthstone embraces the season and celebrates the icy elegance of winter. And while winter is associated with the cold and the snow, it also begins in the last month of the year. It’s simply perfect that December's gemstone, blue topaz, features the same properties as this frosty season.
What is the Birthstone for December?
Rich and majestic, the regal blue topaz is the traditional December birthstone. The topaz gemstone comes in a variety of colours including colourless, yellow, orange, red-brown, pink, violet and light green. However, there is topaz, and then there is blue topaz.
The December birthstone colour is in the blue family. Additionally, the blue variety of the topaz is recognized as the most popular.
Topaz is pleochroic which means that it can show different colours depending on the angle you're viewing it from or the light source you are viewing it in. This unique feature gives each topaz gemstone a unique colour makeup. December's birthstone is specifically the blue topaz. It ranges from a paler sky blue, also known as Swiss blue, to a deeper, richer London blue – and of course all the blues in between.
Natural blue topaz gemstones are extremely rare and hard to find in nature. In the 1970s, in order to increase availability, jewelers began using treatments such as radiation and heat to produce a variety of blue hues in the topaz. Over the years, the gemstone has become a more affordable option for people to own.
Now, you can easily find the blue topaz gemstone on the mass market with uniform shape, colour and size more often. Along with being the traditional birthstone for December, the blue topaz is also used to celebrate a 4th wedding anniversary.
History of the Blue Topaz Birthstone
Ancient civilizations believed the blue topaz was a "cooling" gem and could temper physical and emotional attributes. They believed this gemstone had the ability to cool boiling water, relieve burns and even calm hot tempers and anger. Winter cools everything around it, so blue topaz, with its purported cooling properties, makes the perfect option for the December birthstone.
Topaz comes from all corners of the world, including Brazil, Australia, China, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and the U.S. Given this great geographic diversity, it’s no surprise that topaz history includes tales and legends from many places — including Europe and the Middle East.
The blue topaz birthstone name has many theories associated with it. Some believe topaz got its name from the Greek word "Topazios," which is is the name of an island in the Red Sea where the ancient Greeks mined a yellow gem historians believed to be topaz. Others believe the name topaz comes from the Sanskrit word "tapas" which means fire and pays tribute to its fiery orange-yellow variation.
December Birthstone Meaning
The meaning of the December birthstone and what it represents ties into its historical significance. Ancient Greeks believed that the topaz birthstone was a powerful stone and could increase the physical strength of the person wearing it. They also believed the topaz could provide invisibility in emergency situations.
During the Renaissance period in Europe, the topaz made for a valuable gemstone for many reasons. People thought the topaz could break magic spells, bring magical powers and lead to good luck. Legend says that topaz can change colour in the presence of poisoned food or drink.
Today, the blue topaz is associated with learning, creative inspiration, peaceful communication and understanding. Many believe it is beneficial for self-expression and that the blue topaz can help artists, writers and public speakers to think and communicate clearly.
Care of Your Blue Topaz Birthstone
The Mohs Scale of Hardness indicated that the blue topaz is an eight on its scale of one to ten. This means that the December birthstone is softer than a diamond or sapphire and harder than quartz. This hardness makes blue topaz a great stone for everyday wear, however, you have to be careful because the blue topaz can be broken if it is hit hard. It's recommended to have your blue topaz set in a protective type of setting.
The December birthstone should not be exposed to high temperatures or even sudden temperature changes from hot to cold. Temperature changes may cause the stone to crack or break.
To clean and care for your blue topaz, use mild soap and warm water. Let the gemstone soak in warm water for about 30 minutes. Clean the item using a soft-bristled toothbrush and then allow it to air dry or wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth. You should never clean topaz jewellery in an ultrasonic cleaner or with a steam cleaner. These cleaning machines could damage the stone.
Do not wear your topaz while using cleaning products because the harsh chemicals could cause damage. Also, avoid wearing your blue topaz in the tub, shower or swimming pool.
Shop the December Birthstone
No matter which shade of the December birthstone you're looking to wear, this unparalleled gemstone looks stunning in all metals – including sterling silver, yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. The blue topaz can give you the pop of colour you're looking for without being overbearing.
Visit your local Peoples Jewellers retail store to find exceptional December birthstone jewellery and blue topaz gemstone jewellery. You can count on Peoples to have both classic and contemporary blue topaz jewellery that celebrates life, love and that special December birthday.