Zircon and some of its properties.
Zircon is a zirconium silicate well-known for its popular gem-quality stones. The name derives from the Arabic word “zargun” meaning ” golden colour”.
Zircon is a source of the metal zirconium, which took its name from the mineral and is now used in the production of nuclear reactors.
This gemstone is the very creation of beauty. After all it started its journey at the very moment our world began to spin.
Zircon is said to be the oldest gem on earth and it is far older than even the most ancient Diamond. A series of tests were done in 1988 and were able to ascertain that it was 4.27 billion years old. By studying the construction of the gem, scientists have been able to gain a far better understanding of how the earth was actually created.
In the middle Ages, Zircon was believed to induce sleep, and encourage honour and wisdom. It was also thought to bring prosperity to its owner and to drive away plagues and evil spirits. During the Black Death it was worn as a protective talisman.
Zircon was believed to increase ingenuity, glory and wealth and would prevent travel sickness. It is still used by some healers to this day.
Gem quality Zircon can be found in a number of colours. Impurities produce blue, red, brown, green, yellow and orange varieties. It can also be heat treated to produce other varieties of colours. The best known is the blue variety. Twinning is common, using two or more colours on the same piece of jewellery.
Because of its wide range of colours, it is yet to appear on any of the main Birthstone lists or the Zodiacal stones.
One of the reasons Zircon has such amazing brilliance is that it is doubly reflective. As light enters the gem, it splits in two and effectively the facets on the pavilion act like a wall of mirrors. This sends the double rays in different directions.
Some gem collectors believe that Zircon is the most brilliant gem that exists and it has been set into jewellery since antiquity.
For many years the most popular was the colourless variety, which looks more like a Diamond than any other gemstone.
Gem-quality Zircon crystals have an adamantine lustre and are normally found as pebbles in alluvial deposits. In Pigmatites the crystals can reach a considerable size.
Sri Lanka has produced gem-quality Zircon for more than 2,500 years. Jewellery has been made there and in India for centuries. It did not become fashionable in western countries until the 1920s. It can be heat-treated to create a variety of colours, the most popular being the vivid sky-blue.
The gemstone’s lustre, hardness and variety of colours make it a popular stone for use in rings. The transparent Zircon is used for gemstones and the colourless Zircon resembles Diamond and has been sold as such especially when fashioned as rose cuts in earlier times. Like diamonds it can break up white light into spectral colours.
Historically the gemstone was known as “Hyacinth” as it was similar in colours to that of the flower.
A recent find of Zircon is that found in Singida, Tanzania. Here it is “was” discovered in the 1990s and is normally found in the river bed. The pieces found so far are mostly quite small in size as they have been tumbled and rounded in the river bed over a long period of time.
This recent find of incredible quality Zircon has a wide range of natural vibrant colours.
When somebody next remarks on your stunning piece of Zircon, be sure to tell them that it is “a piece of history”. Tell them that the gemstone you are wearing is a crystal that possibly was formed at the time the earth started to spin.
A beautiful gemstone to own and wear.