If you love luxury and jewelry, then you’ll want to know about zircon stones. These beautiful gems are often used in high-end pieces, and they come in a variety of colors that will make your jaw drop.

If you’re looking for something unique to add to your collection, then a zircon stone is definitely worth checking out. In this article, we will discuss the properties of zircon stone and how it is used in jewelry and other applications.

What is Zircon Stone?

Zircon is a natural gemstone that is found in many countries. It is also thought to be the oldest mineral in the world.

Scientists have dated zircon crystals from the Jack Hills region of Southwestern Australia to 4.4 billion years old! As scientists believe that Earth was formed roughly 4.56 billion years ago, zircon is one of the earliest gems.

This valuable element is a zirconium silicate mineral with a chemical composition of ZrSiO4. The crystal structure of zircon is tetragonal.

Its name comes from the Persian word zargun, meaning gold colored. Nevertheless, this unique mineral comes in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, brown, blue, green and colorless zircon.

Zircon stone is often used in jewelry because of its beautiful colors and durability. In the Victorian era, blue zircon was popular with jewelers such as Tiffany & Co. for its exceptional “fire” or light splitting.

Macro of a zircon mineral stone
Macro of a zircon mineral stone

What are the Properties of Zircon?

Zircon is a beautiful stone that has been used for centuries in jewelry and other decorative items. It is well known for its brilliance and luster, but zircon also has a number of other impressive properties.

This unique stone is relatively hard, with a Mohs hardness of 6-7.5. This durability and hardness makes it an excellent choice for use in engagement rings and other fine jewelry.

Zircon can create a brilliant sparkle when cut into facets. Thanks to its high refractive index of 1.92, zircon is a cost-effective substitute for diamonds, although its brilliance is usually less pronounced. This gemstone is also known for its high dispersion of 0.039, which gives it a special fire or sparkle.

Transparent zircon is a popular semi-precious gemstone, with a high specific gravity between 4.2 to 4.86. It is transparent to opaque. In terms of optical properties, zircon usually has a vitreous luster, but it can also be found with a pearly or resinous luster. Heat treatment of zircon is sometimes used to change the color, for example to blue zircon stones.

Compared to diamonds, which have a cubic crystal structure and single refractive index, zircons have a tetragonal crystal structure and are doubly refractive. This double refraction means that when a ray of light passes through, it splits into two different directions.

Zircon is incredibly resistant to heat, making it an ideal material for use in high-temperature environments. The melting temperature of high-grade zircon is around 2190 °C.

All of these factors make zircon an excellent choice for use in a variety of applications. Zircon is also relatively affordable, making it a cost-effective option for many different uses. For all of these reasons, zircon is a valuable material that is sure to be appreciated for its beauty and versatility.

Yellow zircon crystals from Vietnam
Yellow zircon crystals from Vietnam – Rob Lavinsky, Wikimedia

What is Zircon Used For?

Zircon is a popular gemstone, however it is also used in a variety of industrial applications. Zircon stone is relatively hard, making it perfect for use in rings and other fine jewelry. In fact, zircon has been used in jewelry for centuries.

Zircon is often used as a substitute for diamond because it is just as strong and sparkles just as brightly.

In addition to jewelry, zircon is also used in other applications such as in the foundry industry. It is often used for sandblasting and in refractory paints.

Zircon flour can also be used in TV cathode ray tubes and LCD and plasma screens, as it absorbs X-rays and increases glass toughness.

Zircon can be processed to create molten zirconia or zirconium oxide (ZrO2). Zircon sand, also known as zirconium silicate, is melted at temperatures exceeding 2,600oC in an electric arc furnace. Once the zirconia has cooled, it is crushed and used in various applications such as ceramics and biomedical implants.

Zirconium (the element Zr) is an indirect product of zircon. It is made by reducing the chemical . zirconium oxychloride (ZOC), which derives from zircon.

This greyish metal is added to aluminium and steel alloys to increase resistance to corrosion. It is used in the nuclear industry and for paint pigments.

Zircon crystals from Pakistan
Zircon crystals from Pakistan – Parent Géry, Wikimedia

Where is Zircon Found?

Zircon stone is found in metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous rocks. It is also a common constituent of beach sands and alluvial gravels.

Most zircon is mined in Australia. However, Zircon stones are also mined in Brazil, Cambodia, India, Florida, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.

In recent years, zircon has become increasingly popular as a gemstone, due to its unique colors and brilliant luster. The best gem-quality zircons are found in Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Blue zircon stone
Blue zircon stone – Wikimedia

Zircon vs Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia is a man-made stone that is often used as a diamond simulant. It shares many of the same properties as zircon, but it is not a natural gemstone. Cubic zirconia stones are less expensive than zircon or diamonds.

Although zircon and cubic zirconia have a similar appearance, there are some key differences between these two materials. Zircon is a natural mineral that is found in sand and other sedimentary rocks. It is usually a pale yellow or light brown color, but it can also be blue, green, or red.

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic mineral that is made in a lab. It is usually a clear or white color, but it can also be made in other colors. Often referred to as a synthetic diamond, cubic zirconia is popular due to its optically clear single crystals and its high refractive index. 

Cubic zirconia is harder than zircon. It has a hardness of 8-8.5 on the Mohs scale, while zircon has a hardness of 6-7.5. This means that cubic zirconia is less likely to scratch or chip than zircon.

Cubic zirconia jewelry set - not to be confused with zircon
Cubic zirconia jewelry set – not to be confused with zircon

Zircon Birthstone

Zircon is an alternative birthstone to tanzanite and turquoise for the month of December. Zircon has a long history and has been used in jewelry for centuries.

As zircon chips relatively easily, it’s most suited to necklaces and earrings. You can however set it in a ring if the setting style gives some protection to the stone.

In ancient times, zircon was thought to help with sleeping and drive evil spirits away. Some people believe that zircon stone can help to relieve stress, to promote clear thinking and have a positive impact on self confidence. Zircon is also a symbol of wisdom, wealth and prosperity, as well as purity.

In astrology, white zircon is the Astrology Gemstone of the planet Venus. This beautiful gemstone is supposed to help invoke feelings of love. However, if a zircon stone loses its lustre, some believe that this warns of impending danger.

One thing’s for sure, whether you’re looking for a beautiful piece of jewelry or a stone to help you relax, zircon stone is a great option.

A natural zircon gemstone
A natural zircon gemstone

Zircon Stone Colors

Zircon comes in a wide range of colors. It is usually yellow, brown, orange, or red in color. The rarest natural color is green zircon and the most expensive color is blue zircon.

However, blue zircon is heat treated, not naturally occurring. Cambodia is the source of the most suitable zircons for heat treatment to become blue zircons. Tanzania is a source of natural red zircon and green zircons.

Red, yellow, orange and brown zircon is often referred to as the Jacinth or Hyacinth Zircon variety. Colorless or gray zircon is referred to as Jargon.

Zircon gets its color from trace elements in the stone, such as iron and chromium. For example, black zircon contains iron oxide. No matter what color it is, a zircon gemstone is sure to add beauty to any jewelry collection.

Zircon stone colors
Zircon stone colors

What is Zircon Worth?

The cost of zircon varies depending on the quality of the mineral. The main quality criteria are color saturation, size and clarity. The cut quality also plays an important part.

Zircon is a relatively rare mineral, so it’s not always easy to find high-quality specimens in large sizes. Gem-quality crystals, and blue stones in particular are worth the most.

A carat of zircon costs from $50 to $400 per carat. Pure green zircons are worth from $250 to $300 per carat. Good quality heat-treated blue zircons over 10 carats go for $300 to $400 per carat, or $200 to $300 per carat for blue zircons between 5 to 10 carats.

Red zircon can fetch between $75 to $125 per carat, and golden zircon from $50 to $100 per carat.

0.45 carats gem-grade blue zircon stone
0.45 carats gem-grade blue zircon stone – Wikimedia

How to Care for Zircon Stone Jewelry

It is important to take care of your zircon jewelry so that it lasts for years to come. Here are a few tips on how to care for zircon gemstones:

– Store your zircon jewelry in a cotton or velvet cloth in a moisture-free environment, and avoid steamers.

– Avoid hard knocks to your zircon jewelry.

– Never expose your zircon jewelry to harsh chemicals or cleaners such as bleach.

– Clean zircon gemstones with a soft brush or cloth and a mild soap if required.

– Rinse zircon stones with warm or tepid water to remove any residue of soap.

– Polishing your zircon jewelry with a soft cloth is recommended.

Tiffany & Co. pendant with blue zircon and diamonds
Tiffany & Co. pendant with blue zircon and diamonds – Walters Art Museum

In Conclusion: Zircon Stone

So there you have it – everything you need to know about zircon! This beautiful and diverse gemstone has a long history and can be used for a variety of purposes.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone special or simply want to add a touch of glamour to your own wardrobe, we hope you consider incorporating some zircon into your style. And don’t forget, as with any other type of gemstone, it’s important to take proper care of your zircons so they stay looking their best.

Be sure to read our other style articles for more tips on how to care for your jewelry. Thanks for reading and happy shopping!

Read next: The Most Expensive Diamonds in the World

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