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December

December Birthstone Part 4

Lapiz Lazuli

The beautiful blues in paintings from the Renaissance are thanks to the blue of lapislapislazuli
lazuli, the opaque blue gem material that was the secret ingredient in ultramarine, the
valuable pigment that all the old masters used to capture the rich blues of the sea
and sky and the robes of the Virgin Mary. The color wasn’t duplicated by any other
substance until 1834 but even now, some argue there is no substitute: unlike other
pigments ultramarine centuries old still glows with rich color today.

As befits a gem that has been international currency for millennia, the name lapis
lazuli is mélange of languages. From the Latin, lapis means stone. From the Arabic,
azul means blue.

Lapis lazuli is still mined at the deposits of the ancient world in Afghanistan. Today
lapis lazuli is also mined in Chile. Small quantities are also produced in Siberia, in
Colorado in the United States, and in Myanmar.

Lapis lazuli is somewhat porous and should be protected from chemicals and solvents. Lapis is not very hard, and should be protected from other jewelry when stored to avoid scratches. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

December Birthstone Part 1

December has several accepted birthstones Blue Zircon (not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia, a man-made stone) is one of them.

Blue Zircon

In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honorzircon
and wisdom in its owner. The name probably comes from the Persian word zargun
which means “gold-colored.”

The fiery, brilliance of zircon can rival any gemstone. The affordability of its vibrant
greens, sky blues, and pleasing earth tones contributes to its growing popularity
today.

Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries.
Because it can be colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the
colors in between, it is a popular gem for connoisseurs who collect different colors or
zircon from different localities.

Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully because although this ancient gem is hard, facets can abrade and chip. Clean with
mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect. Better yet, bring all your jewelry in and have it professionally inspected and thoroughly cleaned – for FREE!