Focal Piece of the Month

For our final birthstone Focal Piece of 2012, we are highlighting the Blue Topaz. Being a December baby myself, I have a bit of "advanced" knowledge about this particular month's birthstone. When I was in high school, my parents bought me a birthstone ring I'd picked out for Christmas. The stone is a Blue Zircon; I still have it and wear it occasionally. At the time, the jeweler told me that the December birthstone is "any synthetic blue stone." I've seen Aquamarine also attributed to December on occasion, although it is most often associated with March. Since Blue Topaz is cited in both resources we have been using for the majority of this year, I will defer to them for the sake of this feature.


As cool and inviting as a blue lake on a blistering summer day, December's birthstone is derived from the Sanskrit word "tapas," meaning fire. This is because Blue Topaz was considered by ancient civilizations to have cooling properties. Not only was it believed to cool boiling water when thrown into the pot, but to calm hot tempers as well! This gemstone was credited with many other healing powers, among them the ability to cure insanity, asthma, weak vision, and insomnia. The Blue Topaz was even thought to have magical properties in its ability to make its wearer invisible in a threatening situation

Blue Topaz is the hardest of the silicate minerals. While pure Topaz is colorless, minor changes of elements within the stone result in a variety of other colors, such as blue, pale green, red, yellow, and pink.

The blue hue is created when Topaz is heated, whether the heat source is natural or engineered by man. The three shades of Blue Topaz are Sky, Swiss and London Blue. The latter is the deepest blue and is often used as a less expensive substitute for Sapphire.

Topaz is found primarily in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Pakistan, China, and the United States.

A gift of Blue Topaz is symbolic of love and fidelity. Luckily, this cool blue gemstone has no legendary power to put out the burning flame of love!

An alternate birthstone for December is the Turquoise. So named because it was initially brought to Europe by way of Turkey, this stone is one of the first gems to be used in jewelry. Turquoise was considered by ancients to be a sacred stone, protective against all manners of evil and ill health. This beautiful gemstone is mined in Iran and the southwestern United States. A gift of Turquoise represents friendship and luck.

From Mike Madigan at

The North American tradition says December is symbolized by three choices of three blue stones: Tanzanite, Turquoise or Blue Topaz. The Hindu religion also assigns it to Topaz, and the Russian and Polish traditions assign it to Turquoise. The Arabic, Roman and Hebrew traditions say the rosy-colored Ruby rules this month.

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