Zircon

The history and origin of Zircon

Zircon is one of the stones that have received little public attention in its natural state. While known to man since the beginning of civilization, it was usually not as popular as other more colorful or fancy stones. Zircon is a natural forming mineral and it should be noted that it is different from Cubic Zirconium which is created in a laboratory as an affordable diamond imitator.

Natural Zircon is made from Zirconium silicate and one of its attributes is its high refractive qualities. Zircon also comes in a myriad of colors from colorless which is the closest natural forming mineral that resembles the diamond, to blues, greens, yellows and most commonly brown.

It should be noted that Zircon is pretty hard, but can be brittle and scratched easily. It is a great stone for jewelry, but care for it when wearing it on a day to day basis. Zircon is believed to come from the Persian word zargun. This word means gold color, while Zircon is commonly brown, it can also be goldish in color as well.

Most Zircon is color treated with the help of heat and radiation. When Zircon is exposed to intense heats, usually ranging from 900 to 1,000 degrees Celsius, the color center can change giving it a new color. In fact, all Zircon can easily change with heat treatments and Zircon can usually go through a round of heat treatments before creating the desired color.

Although Zircon is not as popular as other stones, it does have mystical qualities associated it. For instance, it is said that Zircon will help you sleep; it is also said that it is helpful in promoting honor and was given to those that seek wisdom.

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What is Zircon used for?

Zircon is a stone that has been known to man since the beginning of time; however, it usually has played second fiddle to other flashier gemstones and minerals. Zircon should be noted at the outset, it is not Cubic Zirconium. Cubic Zirconium is a gemstone that is created in a laboratory; Zircon is naturally made and includes many elements including zirconium and silicate. Besides these major elements, it does have a few trace elements including uranium, thorium and others.

For the most part Zircon is used for ornamental jewelry. While it is a fairly rare mineral, it is found in extremely tiny crystals in almost all igneous rocks. Usually Zircon is associated with granite. Zircon comes in many colors such as blues, greens, yellows, colorless and most commonly brown. Zircon like other gemstones has color centers that are not fully understood. These color centers that include trace elements can be exposed to intense heat and change color. In fact, most brown Zircon is heated until it changes other colors such as blues and greens.

Zircon is a great stone for jewelry; its colorless variety is the most natural element that resembles diamonds. Zircon also has plenty of great attributes such as a wonderful refraction which gives the gemstone lots of fire. It can also seem to have more than one color. This effect is called pleochroism.

During the middle ages, Zircon was given mystical qualities such as helping one sleep at night, helping one to make wise decisions and making one honorable.

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How and where is Zircon formed?

Zircon is an interesting mineral, especially since it is rare and usually misunderstood. Zircon is probably known most of all by its synthetic knockoff Cubic Zirconium. However, it should be noted that Zircon itself, is a natural forming gemstone that has a lot to offer.

Zircon is formed from Zirconium silicate and is written as ZrSiO4. It usually possesses many trace elements including Uranium, Thorium and Lead. Another fascinating aspect about Zircon is that it also has color centers. Several minerals include this attribute of the ability to change color by simply heating it or irradiating it. Zircon can change a multitude of colors with heats that range in intensity from 900 to 1,000 degrees Celsius.

This mineral is found in practically every igneous rock, however in very, very small quantities. You are most opt to find Zircon in crystal or quartz poor rock. Pegmatites are common places, as well as Syenites.

Zircon is found in many colors including blue, red, green, yellow, colorless and brown. Brown is the most common. While Zircon does have a decent hardness of 6.5 to 7, it can be brittle and can chip. While it will hold up if you wear this mineral as jewelry on a daily basis, caution should be taken.

Colorless Zircon has the distinction of being the mineral that comes closest to resembling a diamond naturally, usually due to its high refraction and fire. Some of the many regions that Zircon can be found in are Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. However, Thailand is the world’s leading producer of Zircon.

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The different colors, shapes and sizes that Zircon comes in

While not as known as other gemstones, Zircon deserves a host of accolades for being an extremely beautiful and sophisticated natural forming mineral. Most people think of one thing when they hear the word Zircon- Cubic Zirconium. However, it should be noted that Cubic Zirconium (CZ) is a synthetic gemstone created in a lab and not a natural forming mineral such as Zircon.

Zircon is a very rare stone; however very small crystals can be found in practically any igneous rock. Zircon comes in a wide variety of colors with lots of wonderful attributes. Some of the many colors that Zircon comes in are colorless, blue, red, green, yellow and brown. Like Topaz, Zircon can be exposed to intense heat or radiation and have its color changed. Zircon includes color centers which have small amounts of elements that can change from one color to another. Usually brown Zircon (which is the most common color) is changed into blue, a more popular color.

It should be noted that colorless Zircon is the gemstone that most closely resembles the diamond, due to its color, fire and texture. While Zircon can be cut into many different shapes and does come in many sizes, usually under 10 carats, you do need to be choosey with the jewelry pieces you set Zircon in. Zircon can be brittle and while it does have a decent hardness, it can be scratched and chipped. While rings can be chosen for occasional wear, earrings, charms and other jewelry pieces are better choices.

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