This article is part of our Birthstone Rings series, where we share the beautiful and varied ways our customers have featured birthstones in their rings.
December is one of only two months with three birthstone options. It's also one of the few months that's seen an update to its birthstone list in recent years — tanzanite was just added in the early 2000s. Let's take a look at the three options as choices for a ring's center stone.
Turquoise has been a December birthstone longest, and it's unquestionably beautiful, but it's a riskier choice for a ring. Turquoise gets a "Delicate" wearability rating. It is likely to scratch and some varieties are even more prone to breaking or chipping, due to the beautiful veining that marbles the surface of the stone (referred to as turquoise matrix). For a Southwestern or Boho Chic design, turquoise can be the perfect look, so we won't talk you out of it. But make sure you choose it with the awareness that it may need replacing as the turquoise wears.
Zircon may be one of the most confused and unfairly maligned gems out there, so let's get this out of the way: zircon is not cubic zirconia. It's a beautiful, natural gem and is found in a number of different colors, with blue being the most popular. Varying shades of light blue all make for an excellent center stone choice. Zircon is also found in other colors, so if you want to break out of December's birthstone blues, zircon is your path to peach, pink, yellow, colorless, and more.
And the newest member of the December birthstone club: tanzanite. It's a relatively newly discovered gem and gets its name from the country where it's mined. Tanzanite is heat treated to bring out its color, which ranges from intense violet-hued blue to a more pure violet. After its discovery, it became popular so quickly it was an easy addition to the birthstone list.
So what do we recommend? Tanzanite and zircon are just about tied on durability and price, so we'll call it a tie.
We said it's a tie, right? Now we'll give away a bit of our bias by showing off the tanzanite rings just a bit more prominently. The color is just so easy to love! This first design features a more violet-colored tanzanite in a modern ring, with a five stone trellis setting of princess cut tanzanite and spinel.
Staying a bit modern, but adding a whimsical twist, this design surrounds a heart cut tanzanite with a cluster of aquamarine, sapphire, and violet tanzanite. The center stone's color is far more blue, with a violet secondary hue. On one side, the curves of the band also form a twist that's reminiscent of an infinity sign, one of the most popular symbols that couples include in an engagement ring.
This last one brings together an incredible color combination: a lighter violet from the tanzanite center stone, and peachy pink from two trillion cut Padparadscha sapphire side stones. It's nestled in a twisting band with diamond accents for sparkle.
This first blue zircon ring set out to capture two things that our customer requested: the feel of cold, northern climates and the antlers of a deer. Each of these things reflects something important in their lives, and the combination of an icy blue zircon and diamond accents captures the feel of ice or snow scattered across the branching "antlers" of the white gold setting.
Here is a zircon with a deeper blue. The oval center stone is framed by subtle braided rope detail that quickly twist and fades into the bottom half of the band. An understated interpretation of the popular theme of intertwining that rings often include with rope or knot designs to celebrate the joining of a couple.
Even though we've recommended caution about the stone's durability, we absolutely love designing rings with turquoise center stones. We've picked just one to include here, and it captures the kind of earthy, nature-inspired design that's perfect for turquoise. The intricate, almost wild shapes of rose gold on the band actually reveal themselves to be two wolves. They're accented with a handful of black diamond accents, which also create an outward-facing halo underneath the center turquoise. And the center stone is a beautiful, pear cut Kingman turquoise with perfect veining across its surface.