What is the Birthstone for December?
The December Birthstone is Zircon.
The traditional birthstone for December is the Zircon. The zircon is a type of mineral that belongs to the family of nesosilicates. Zirconium silicate is its chemical name. Green, brown, red, golden yellow, and colorless are the natural colors of Zircon. They are not to be confused with the cubic zirconia which is a synthetic mineral with a totally different chemical composition.
Where Does the Name Zircon Come From
Zircon came from the Arabic word zarqun which means vermilion and the Persian word zargun which means golden colored. The yellow zircon is commonly called the hyacinth which is a word originating in East India. During the middle ages, people called all yellow stones hyacinth, however today, this term is only used to describe or identify the yellow zircons.
Where is Zircon Found
Zircon is a great and remarkable mineral. It is primarily found in igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks. The least abundant type of zircon are the large zircon crystals. Zircon is one mineral that is found worldwide. TZircon can be found in Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Canada, Quebec, United States and Italy. The largest producer of zircon, accounting for 37% of the world's total production, is Australia the leading country in zircon mining.
The Colors of Zircon
The zircon can be found in a wide variety of colors. It is a gemstone that is characterized by its great brilliance, clarity and fire. They can be found in black, colorless, hazel, yellow, blue, brown and red. The color of zircons can be changed by heat treatment. The degree of color change depends on the amount of heat being applied to the mineral. They can be changed to blue, golden yellow, and colorless.
Modern Uses of Zircon
Zircons are commonly used as an insulator and as an abrasive.
Traditional Uses of the December Birthstone
Zircon was used as an amulet for people who were travelling during the 11th Century. It was a gemstone believed to protect people from insomnia, diseases and injury. It was also used to ensure the traveler wearing it would receive a warm cordial welcome where ever they traveled to! The zircon, according to ancient civilizations was believed to hold magical powers and used to fight evil. It was used to fight the black death or the great plague that killed scores of people across Europe. The zircon was often a popularly prescribed medicine to people who couldn't sleep, to stop poison and as an aid to proper digestion.
The zircon can be easily broken because it is a brittle stone. However, despite of its brittleness the zircon is still a very valuable rock because of its brilliant beauty. It was even mentioned in the book “Arabian Nights” because it is considered to be the favorite gemstone of the Arabs.