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December’s Dazzling Birthstones & Birth Flowers for Your Wedding!

Were you born in December or do you wish to honor a loved one born in December during your wedding? We’ve got all the info you need on the meanings behind the birthstones and birth flowers of this beautiful holiday month! Read on to find out more!

Barbara Babcock (Kathy's mom) from a page in a Walter T. Foster art book c. 1950

Hey, Christie!

We have had so much fun planning our Ainsworth House & Gardens wedding! You and John have been terrific at answering our questions and presenting amazing ideas we can incorporate into our wedding to make it truly unique! Thank you!

One last question (t think): I’d like to honor my parents by placing their birthstones in a 5 or 10 pt. size on my engagement ring. Thank you for helping me find Dad’s birth gems and birth flowers for August. To honor my mom, what are the birthstones and birth flowers for December? (That’s Mom to the left.)

Thanks in advance for all your help!

–Kay the Confused in Vancouver, Washington

Hey, Kay!

You two have been such a joy to work with on your wadding! Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey!

December is a wonderful month in which to be born! The world celebrates Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza. At the end of the month, we welcome a New Year and new opportunities for adventure, love, and personal growth. Your mom was so lucky to be born in December!

Here’s a quick list of December’s birthstones and birth flowers!

December Birthstones:

Blue Topaz

Turquoise.

Christmas bride
red poinsettias Pixabay

December Birth Flowers:

Holly

Poinsettia

Orchid

Narcissus.

let’s dive in and learn more!

December Birthstones: Blue Topaz.

What is the history of blue topaz?

Pliny, an ancient Greek scholar, wrote that topaz was first mined on the legendary island of Topazos, which according to him, floated serenely in the Red Sea. Others believe that topaz was first mined on St. John’s Island, which does exist and is found in the Red Sea.

flue topaz and diamond pendant Pixabay

Topaz is mentioned in the King James Bible and in later translations thereof.

During Europe’s Renaissance, qualities were attributed to various gems. If you wanted to break a spell cast on you by some malcontent, you carried a topaz with you. If you wanted to hold your anger in check, you carried a topaz.

Among the Hindus, topaz is consider so sacred that wearing a pendant of the gem brought wisdom and longevity.

African medicine men and shamans thought topaz was sacred and used in certain of their healing ceremonies.

How do we get blue topaz?

Light blue topaz occurs naturally and is mined in Texas, Russia, and Brazil.

For those looking for a less expensive or deeper blue topaz, when colorless topaz is irradiated, it turns blue. When this changed blue topaz flooded the market in the 1960’s, it drove the price down significantly.

Is blue topaz the official state gemstone of any state?

Yes! Two states, Texas and Utah, adopted blue topaz as their official state gemstone in 1969.

Does any wedding anniversary say it is the “Blue Topaz Anniversary?”

Yes—the 4th.

From what is the word “topaz” derived?

There are several theories. The name may come from Topazos, a Red Sea island. In Greek, topaz is derived from the infinitive, “to shine.”

In Sanskrit, “topaz” means “fire” or “heat.”

In which colors is topaz available?

In addition to a golden yellow color, topaz also comes in honey-brown, red, pink, blue, light green, and completely clear.


Are there curative powers ascribed to topaz?

The Ancient Greeks thought that holding a topaz gave them strength and restored mental health/sanity, cooled down a hot temper, relieved sleeplessness, improved breathing, and protected from sudden death. Fun fact: They believed that topaz would change color when it was near a disloyal person.

What does topaz symbolize?

  • Faithfulness

  • Constancy

  • Loyalty.

turquoise necklace Pexels

Turquoise

How was the name “turquoise” derived?

Pliny the Elder, the Greek scholar we met under topaz, wrote about turquoise as a valuable, opaque blue or green gem. The Aztecs used turquoise in their art, jewelry, and religious ceremonies. Since the gem was brought from Turkestan to Europe, it was called “turkeis” (which means “Turkish’) in the 14th. century.

While some of us might think that those native people living in the Southwest have made turquoise jewelry since the dawn of time, we would be incorrect. 

It was not until 1880 that the Navajos, a Native American people of the Southwest United States, began to set turquoise into silver to create the amazing jewelry for which they are so well known.

 

(Caution: A few decades ago, the Apache people, another Native American nation, asked the Navajo to teach them how to make turquoise jewelry so they too could create an income stream. The Navajos did. The Apache opted for a different business model: Instead of creating beautiful jewelry which was finely crafted—and carried a higher price—the Apache opted to make inexpensive jewelry to appeal to tourists on a budget.

Not all Native American turquoise jewelry is created the same!)

What does turquoise mean?

The Navajos believed that turquoise gave the person wearing it blessings and spiritual protection.

The Apache believed that wearing turquoise improved an archer’s skill so that the person had deadly accurate aim.

Native American turquoise ring Pexels
turquoise Native American jewelry Unsplash

Other Native American peoples believe that turquoise honors the blue of the life-giving water and the verdant green colors found in nature.  

They wear turquoise to attract spirits who will bless and protect them while fending off harmful spirits.

To the Ancient Greece, young women wore turquoise because it represented purity.

The Persians used turquoise in almost every aspect of their lives because it represented heaven.

In England and in Russia, turquoise was worn because it symbolized everlasting love.

 

In many cultures, turquoise symbolizes:

  • Wisdom

  • Protection

  • Tranquility.

Why does some turquoise have veins running through it and others do not?

It depends on where it was mined. A reputable jeweler should be able to tell you the source of the turquoise of the piece you are contemplating purchasing.

If the seller can’t tell you where the stones were mined and the history, you might want to select another vendor. Just sayin’…

turquoise Pixabay
red holly berries and green leaves

December Birth Flowers:

Holly

 

What is holly?

It is an evergreen bush or small tree with vibrant red berries.

What is the history of holly?

Stretching back into the mists of time, the holly was considered a sacred plant by the Celts and Druids. Thought to offer protection, they believed that holly fended off evil spirits while bringing good luck to homes during the gloom of the Winter Solstice. As Christianity spread across Europe, the meaning of holly changed to adapt to this new religion. The prickly, spiky leaves were used to remind Christians of the crown of thorns thrust down on the head of Jesus during the horrors of the Crucifixion while the red berries reminded the Christians of his blood that was spilled on that day.

During the Middle Ages, holly was hung in Christian homes and churches as a symbol of protection and hope during the Christmas season.

Holly berries Pixabay
holly dark green red berries Pixabay

What does holly symbolize?

  • Love

  • Hope

  • Protection

  • Rebirth

  • Fertility

  • Renewal

  • Eternal Life.

Is holly a state tree or national tree?

In the US, holly is the state tree of Delaware and the state flower of Mississippi. In the UK, holly is national tree of the Isle of Jersey.

Poinsettia

As the flower most often associated with Christmas because of its bright red flowers and dark g foliage, the Poinsettia is a wonderful birth flower for December! Growing wild in Mexico and Central America, the plant derived its English name from John Roberts Poinsett, the first minister from the US to Mexico who introduced the shrub to America in the 1820s.

In which colors does the Poinsettia bloom?

While vibrant red was the original color, the staff of the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, California, develop more shapes and colors each year. They bloom in a single color of creamy white, pink, salmon, and bright orange or in two colors such as red and white or green and white.

Poinsettias Pixabay
poinsettias pink and white Pixabay

What does the Poinsettia symbolize?

 

  • Love

  • Hope

  • Goodwill.

 

The Poinsettia in World History

The Aztecs used the flower to make a red dye and as a traditional medicine.

In the 17th. century, Franciscan friars began to use the Poinsettia to teach about Christmas The flower’s star-shaped petals reminded Christians of the Star of Bethlehem while the flower’s red color reminded them of Jesus Christ’s blood which was spilled during his Crucifixion.

In 1820, John Roberts Poinsett, an American official in Mexico, began shipping the flowers to the US. This started the Poinsettia industry in America.

In the US, December 12 is National Poinsettia Day to commemorate the death of John Roberts Poinsett.

Poinsettias red and white Pixabay
Poinsettias red Pixabay

Why is the Poinsettia associated with Christmas?

 

In 1900, Albert Ecke immigrated from Germany to the US to find a location for his German vegetarian spa in the warmer climate of Los Angeles.

Discovering that poinsettias flourished in the Southern California weather, the family grew what they called “the Christmas flower” and sold it in their family’s roadside stand on Sunset Boulevard.

As the movie industry grew and needed more land, the Ecke family was pushed out of the Hollywood area and moved to Encinitas in San Diego County.

There, poinsettia  production flourished.

 

To promote the flower for the Christmas season, Paul Ecke, Sr. (Albert’s son) sent free poinsettias to TV stations so that they could decorate the news set He sent free poinsettias to the hosts of TV shows to decorate their sets with the gorgeous red flowers. Johnny Carson, Dinah Shore, and Ronald Regan all broadcast their shows surrounded by poinsettias!

Paul Ecke, Jr., took this a step further. After being told by the editors of Women’s Day and Sunset magazines that they did their Christmas photo shoots in the summer, he developed poinsettias which bloomed vibrantly in summer so that it could be included in these promotional activities. And that’s why people decorate their homes with prolific poinsettias—so that they can look like the homes featured in these magazines!

Poinsettias red petals Pixabay
White Orchid flowers for wedding

Orchid

You can find orchids growing almost everywhere on Earth…except on glaciers where it’s a bit too cold.

In fact, there are more than 28,000 species of orchids!

Orchids bloom in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

 

In which colors do orchids bloom?

 

  • White

  • Pink

  • Salmon

  • Red

  • Orange

  • Yellow

  • Yellow-green

  • Green

  • Blue

  • Lavender

  • Purple.

  •  

Pink orchids in a vase Pixabay
Purple orchids Pixabay

What does an orchid symbolize?

  • Love

  • Charm

  • Beauty

  • Refinement

  • Thoughtfulness..

Narcissus (Paperwhite)

How was this flower named?

According to Greek mythology, a young man named Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pond. He was enamored with himself, that he didn’t budge from the spot. Eventually, staring at his reflection all day meant he withered away to nothing and finally passed on. In his spot, a beautiful, fragrant white flower grew which now bears his name.

Now you know where the word “narcissist” comes from!

Where does the narcissus grow?

It is native to Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean area.

 

Paperwhite Narcissus flowers for wedding
Narcissus Paperwhites Pixabay

What does a narcissus symbolize?

  • Purity

  • New beginnings

  • Renewal

  • Wealth & Prosperity.

For those celebrating Hanukkah, a Jewish festival, the flower stands for:

  • Hope

  • Light

  • Rebirth.

For Christians, the flower stands for the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

If you have any other questions, please reach out to me.

 

Your friend in the wedding business,

Christie Shyne

 

Title image is courtesy of Pexels.com.

The image of the red headed woman is from a Walter T. Foster art book on how to draw in pastels, copyright 1950 by Walter T. Foster Publishing.

All other images above here are courtesy of Pexels.com, Pixabay.com, and Unsplash.com. All images below here are from the Ainsworth House & Gardens wedding gallery.

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