It’s the start of December and we are feeling blue here at the F&B office… but it’s a good thing! We mean to say that in welcome of the three birthstones of this month: tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise. These three come in beautiful shades of blue, with the exception of zircon also available in other colors. Blue is a primary color, which means it comes straight from natural sources. We can find it in all that surrounds us, that is to say, through the clouds in skies above, in illustrious bodies of water stretching far and wide, and not to mention in minerals found buried deep in the crusts of Earth. (Photos are courtesy of GIA.)
Tanzanite can be found predominantly in the Merelani hills of Northern Tanzania, making it rarer than diamond. Its name is inspired from the country in which it was discovered and was given by Tiffany & Co. It is often compared with sapphire because of its saturation in color, but it certainly has an irreplaceable beauty all on its own. It is pleochroic, so we can see how a single crystal can differ in color range dependent on the viewing orientation. From the purest of blues to blue violets, from the lightest of lilac, to the richest of purple blues, tanzanite is for all lovers of blue.
Zircon, 4.4 billion years old and found in Australia, is well known for its fire and brilliance and occurs in colors yellow, orange, blue, green, brown, red, and even colorless (a popular diamond substitute not to be confused to CZ). Some of these colors can change with the application of heat treatment and it helps that zircon is impermeable to heat and corrosion. Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are major sources of the mineral.
Turquoise, in contrast of the two before, is an opaque mineral, ranging from blue to green, and is rare in the account of its occurrence. As GIA states, “Turquoise is found in only a few places on earth: dry and barren regions where acidic, copper-rich groundwater seeps downward and reacts with minerals that contain phosphorus and aluminum.” It is colored by copper, allowing for maximum intensity in the blues and greens we see. Also, because of the surrounding rock, this process sometimes results in the vein-like texture we see in turquoise.
Of all colors to choose from for December, we’re definitely big fans of blue. (Have you seen our logo and website theme?) We hope our bit of researching helped keep you calm, cool, and collected this month. Enjoy!