Retro Blue Zircon Bracelet.
Retro Blue Zircon Bracelet.

Zircon is a zirconium silicate that crystallizes in the tetragonal crystal system. It is highly dispersive and brilliant. Natural zircons range from colorless to pale yellow or green. These colors result from trace amounts of hafnium, uranium, and thorium. Over time, these radioactive components break down the lattice of the crystal, eventually (over tens of thousands of years) destroying the crystal, leaving it with an amorphous structure and a dark pithy appearance.

Zircons that are young and unaffected by radioactivity are termed high zircons. These stones are transparent yellowish-green, golden, and greenish-brown in color with extremely high dispersion. High zircons can be heated and become colorless or blue. These heat-treated zircons imitate diamond’s optic properties better than any other naturally occurring gem mineral. For that reason, they have long been used as diamond substitutes. That is why the name zircon has been associated with being synthetic or imitation.

Zircon is a relatively common constituent of igneous rocks, particularly granite. Inclusions of zircon, containing Uranium 235 have been geologically used to positively date rock formations. Gemstone crystals are quite rare and usually occur in coarse-grained pegmatites. They are also found to accumulate in alluvial deposits because of their high specific gravity.

A Brief History of Zircon

The name zircon derives from the Arabic words “Zar”, meaning gold, and “Zum” meaning color. It is one of the gems used in the Kalpa Tree of the Hindu religion. This tree was a symbolic offering to the gods described by poets in the 19th Century as “a glowing mass of precious stones”. The variety of zircon used in the Kalpa Tree was green, representing the tree’s foliage.

Zircons were used in Greece and Italy as far back as the 6th Century AD. After faceting began in the 14th Century, zircons were often sold as diamonds. Colorless zircons were being mined at that time in France.

Reddish-brown zircons had moderate popularity in European jewels of the 19th century.

Currently, the most popular zircons are blue, colorless, and golden brown.

Blue zircon is a substitute birthstone for December, along with turquoise and blue topaz.

Vintage Blue Zircon RIng.
Vintage Blue Zircon Ring.
Edwardian Blue Zircon and Diamond Pendant Necklace.
Edwardian Blue Zircon and Diamond Pendant Necklace.
Blue Zircon and Diamond Earrings.
Blue Zircon and Diamond Earrings.

Gemological Information for Zircon

Color:Colorless, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Violet & Red
Crystal Structure:Tetragonal – 4 Sided Prisms with Pyramidal Terminals
Refractive Index:High stones = 1.777 – 1.987
Durability:Fair to Good, this Decreases with Heat Treatment
Hardness:6.5 to 7.5
Similar Stones:Spessartite, Sphene, Andradite, Sphalerite, Topaz, Tourmaline, Synthetic Rutile, Diamond & Strontiium Titanate
Treatments:Heat Treatment to Change Color
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand & Australia

Zircon Care

Ultrasonic Cleaning:Not Safe
Steam Cleaning:Not Safe
Warm Soapy Water:Safe
Chemical Attack:Avoid
Light Sensitivity:Heat Treated Stones may Return to their Original Color
Heat Sensitivity:May Change Color
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