Spotlight on December’s Birthstones: Tanzanite, Zircon, and Turquoise

For those lucky enough to be born in this festive month, December has three birthstone options to choose from: tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise. They are all known for their beautiful blue shades, and they are all relatively affordable, but each has distinctive features that make it unique. Here’s what you need to know to decide which is the best fit for you.

December birthstone

Tanzanite: Discovered in 1967, this rare variety of the mineral zoisite is found in only one spot in the world, near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It is prized not only for its rich blue hue, which rivals that of sapphire, but for its pleochroism, which means the stone can display different colors when viewed at different angles. This gem has a Mohs hardness of 6.5 to 7, which makes it most suitable for use in earrings or necklaces, or in rings worn for special occasions. When you’re purchasing, look for stones with a deeply saturated hue, as color is the most important factor in determining tanzanite’s value. Due to the extremely limited source for this gemstone, experts expect its price to rise in the years to come.

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Zircon: Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth, at more than 4.4 million years old. While the blue variety of this stone is the most popular with collectors, accounting for about 80 percent of the zircon sold, it comes in a variety of shades that are used as gems. This gemstone has high luster and double refraction, which gives it a pronounced fire—it is often cut in the brilliant style to enhance this effect. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that zircon could ward away evil spirits and bring prosperity to its owner. Blue zircon was also particularly popular in Victorian times. Zircon is a 7.5 on the Mohs scale, but it is somewhat brittle, so it can be prone to chipping. As with other types of transparent gems, the most valuable zircons have deep color and no eye-visible inclusions.

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Turquoise: Turquoise has been prized throughout history in both the Old World and the New, from Egypt and Persia to the pre-Columbian Americas. This opaque mineral, which ranges from sky-blue to green in color, is a compound of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate. Its relative softness on the Mohs scale (5 to 6) has made it an attractive material for carving as well as for jewelry. Turquoise usually forms within a host rock, limonite or sandstone, which may create markings called matrix within the stone. Turquoise can also vary in porosity and texture depending on the exact conditions of its formation. Turquoise that is dense, finely textured, and has no inclusions of host rock will command a higher price than a coarser stone or one with significant matrix. A bright, even, robin’s egg blue is considered the most valuable color for this stone. Turquoise is vulnerable to chemicals and high heat, so it should be worn with extra care.

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No matter which December birthstone you decide on, Auction King regularly stocks a variety of rings, pendants, bracelets, and more. Their live online auction format gives you the opportunity to purchase high-quality jewelry at below-market prices from the comfort and convenience of your own home. Sign up for a free account today and start browsing.

How to Get a Great Deal on a Remington Bronze Statue

Frederic Remington (1861-1909) was an American artist who specialized in scenes of the Old West. Through his paintings, illustrations, and sculptures, he depicted images of cowboys, Native Americans, and the U.S. Calvary, capturing a way of life that was rapidly disappearing as civilization marched westward across the continent.

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Remington created his first statue, Broncho Buster, in 1895, after he had already established his reputation as an illustrator and painter. From 1895 to 1909 he created 22 sculptures, including a larger revised version of his original Broncho Buster. The original bronze casts were made from the clay models that he produced. Bronzes of his first four sculptures were made using the sand-casting method, while his later bronzes were made using the lost-wax method. Like his illustrations and paintings, his sculptures showed dynamic images of the West that sparked the imagination of his audience back in the eastern United States.

An extremely limited number of authorized bronze castings were made of Remington’s original sculptures, and the ownership, location, and provenance of these pieces is, for the most part, well known. These pieces sell for $75,000 or more—for example, an authentic casting of The Broncho Buster was sold by Christie’s in 2009 for $482,500. However, the popularity of Remington’s work was such that additional, unauthorized castings were made before the works lost copyright protection in the 1960s. Now that the works are out of copyright, many companies produce replicas of varying degrees of quality.

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So the good news and the bad news is that you don’t need to worry about whether the Remington bronze you see up for sale is an “original”—it is almost certainly a reproduction. That does not mean, however, that it is of poor quality or that it is an unwise purchase. Remington’s art has been reproduced over the years precisely because of its appeal, and many companies making reproductions work carefully to capture the artistic detail that won Remington his well-deserved reputation as a master of his craft. However, you should be wary of any seller making dubious claims of authenticity, as they are highly unlikely to be true.

If you are a fan of Remington’s sculpture, you can purchase replicas of his works directly from manufacturers or from museums that offer high-quality reproductions for sale. The cost for one of these replicas can range from hundreds of dollars for small-scale models to thousands for those recreated at original size or larger. However, there is no need to buy at retail price. High-quality Remington bronzes can readily be found at auction, which gives buyers the opportunity to own the artworks they love at a more budget-friendly price.

Auction King specializes in luxury goods, fine art, and high-end collectibles. We thoroughly vet our goods for quality to help ensure that our bidders have the best possible auction experience. Browse and bid from the comfort of your own home, using our live online bidding platform. Sign up for a free online account today.

Auction King Releases a New Mobile App

Since its inception, Auction King has been dedicated to bringing the superior experience of a live auction to its customers wherever they happen to be. The foundation of their business is the knowledge of three generations of auctioneers, but their passion is combining that expertise with the most up-to-date technology to recreate the excitement and opportunity of a live auction online. Now Auction King is excited to announce that its new mobile app makes it more convenient than ever to stay in the action, even when you’re on the move.

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The Auction King mobile app brings you the same great live online auctions as at AuctionKing.com, now at your fingertips. It combines the convenience and security of their online bidding platform with the helpful features you expect in a mobile app to help raise your experience to the next level of ease and accessibility.

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Auction King brings the unique, the exquisite, and the exceptional to its clients from all over the world. Whether you’re looking for deals on high-end jewelry, luxury watches, fine art, collectibles, designer handbags, or sports memorabilia, Auction King is the place to find items that have been scrupulously checked for quality and authenticity at prices far below retail. Now its mobile app makes this extraordinary collection available to you wherever you go.

The Auction King app is available free of charge for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Download it today to bring opportunity to your fingertips.