Zircon

Zircon

Zircon is a Secondary birthstone for two months, February and December, and the Zodiac sign Virgo. For February it is the variety called Hyacinth or Jacinth, a yellow, yellow-red to yellow-brown variety.

It is understood to be the 7th stone on The Breastplate of Aaron, representing Gad, one of the sons of Israel.

Zircon Benefits

Mental Health

Through assisting with sleep, zircon is believed to aide with good mental health. With rest, ones focus is improved and hence goals are more achievable.

Physical Health

Travellers in ancient times wore amulets made from zircon, in particular Hyacinth. They believed it would protect them from sickness and injuries and even the plague.

In particular, it was believed it would help heal things like blisters, open sores and varicose veins.

Other Life Benefits

Worn by travellers in ancient times, it was thought to help them receive a warm reception on arrival at inns. An extra benefit was some protection against lightning strike.

Zircon is also believed to bring knowledge to the wearer, and hence wealth and wisdom. It is worn as a grounding stone to bring a general overall balance to ones life, strengthening purpose and resolve to achieve goals.

Buying Guide

Zircon, not cubic zirconia, is a valuable gemstone. Due to its amazing brilliance and fire it is the original diamond alternative. That brilliance is mostly due to the stones double refraction, making it appear to have more facets than it does.

Clear, sizeable and good coloured zircon’s are rare and not cheap.

Colour

This stone comes in almost any colour of the rainbow, but the most popular are the colourless, blue, pink and yellow varieties.

Whilst blue is the most sought after and currently the most valuable, be aware that natural blue zircon’s are very rare and most blue stones are the result of heat treatment.

For collectors the green variety is the most prized, simply because it is extremely rare

Clarity

Eye clean zircons are readily available due to the stones natural clarity. However, like all stones they can contain inclusions that will be visible using a loupe.

Always aim for the clearest stone you can afford.

Cut

Zircon’s are cut in a variety of styles. Choose a style that fits your need, but keep in mind that zircon has a high brilliance and a style that maximises this will probably be best.

You will find that colourless zircon’s are usually cut into a style that maximises this brilliance.

As with all gemstones, the quality of the cut is of high importance. Most stones in commercial jewellery are production cut. Look for custom cut stones, if you can find them and can afford them. A stone should be brilliant across the entire stone. A dead and dull centre is a certain indicator of a bad cut.

Carats

Large zircon’s are very rare and thus larger stones will command a premium per carat.

Keep in mind that zircon is very dense and when compared to other stones of the same size will be heavier. Compared against a diamond of the same size zircon can be 50% heavier.

History of Zircon

Zircon has been known, under a variety of names, since ancient times. The modern name of ‘zircon’ was probably derived from the Persian word ‘zargon’, meaning ‘gold-hued’. For the lighter coloured stones this word was corrupted into ‘jargoon’ and from that the German word ‘Zirkon’ to our modern word ‘zircon’.

The colourless variety of zircon is usually called Matura diamond, and the blue variety, mainly derived from heat treatment, is called Starlite or Stremlite.

Zircon, like a lot of gemstones, has been used throughout history for jewellery and many other purposes.

Zircon Gemology

Zircon is the oldest mineral found on Earth, with some specimens estimated to be around 4.4 billion years old.

Do not confuse zircon with cubic zirconia. They are very different gemstones.

While cubic zirconia (CZ) can be natural, the stones you find readily available are a manmade stone of much lower value.

Zircons are composed of Zirconium Silicate, but cubic zirconia is composed of Zirconium Dioxide.

Colour

Zircons can come in a range of colours from colourless to blues, greens, various shades of yellow through to brown and even red. Pink and even purple can occur under the correct geological conditions.

Treatments

The brown varieties of zircon can be heated to produce a colourless or blue zircon. The temperatures required are in the 800 – 1000 C range.

The resulting colour may however change with further exposure to sunlight, and in particular ultraviolet light.

Where Found

Zircons are common throughout the world, though large specimens are rare.

Significant locations where zircons can be found include Australia (the largest producer at around 35%), Cambodia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.

Physical Properties

PropertyValuePropertyValue
Category: Nesosilicates Lustre: Vitreous to adamantine
Colour:Reddish brown, yellow, green, blue, gray, colorless; in thin section, colorless to pale brownSpecific Gravity:4.6 – 4.7
Crystal System:Tetragonal Refractive Index:1.925 – 1.961
Crystal Class:Ditetragonal dipyramidal Pleochroism: Weak
Crystal Habit: Short, stocky 4-sided prisms with pyramidal ends Melting Point: Around 2500 F
Cleavage:Indistinct
Fracture:Conchoidal to uneven
Mohs Scale:7.5

CREDITS: Zircon image by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0]

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