Let's Talk About Zircon: Interesting Zirconia Facts
We talk an awful lot about diamonds here, but the truth is that even stones that can't quite match up to the extreme rarity of a diamond have their own story to tell. Zircon is an interesting mineral that has a wide variety of applications. Most people will recognize zircon as cubic zirconia and turn their nose up at a mineral that looks like a diamond but isn't actually diamond. Zircon isn't simply a cheap simulated diamond, it is a valuable gem in it's own right.
What's In A Name?
Let's start our journey through the wonderful world of zircon facts by exploring the name of this mineral. Why is it called a zircon? Well, the word 'zircon' is actually derived from the Persian word 'zargun' which means 'gold-hued'. As the zircon rose in popularity the derivative word 'jargoon' was developed to refer to the zircons with a lighter color. Yellow, orange, and red zircon are sometimes called hyacinth (based on the flower) and this name can be traced back to Ancient Greece.
Caring For Your Zircon
Just because a zircon isn't as valuable to most people as a diamond, that doesn't mean you want to let it start looking shabby. Take pride in your gems. Zircon has a long and noble history as you will soon find out. Luckily our portable diamond cleaner works wonders on zircon as well! Zircon aren't as hard as diamonds, but they're certainly tough enough to handle a spin through our ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. We promise your jewelry will have never looked so good.
This mineral is ubiquitous in the Earth's crust and is one of the oldest known minerals. That's likely because zircon is relatively easy to find when compared with some of its rarer gemstone cousins. You can find zircon almost anywhere in the world! Zirconia is commonly found in Australia, the United States, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, India, and Sri Lanka but with its distribution in the Earth's crust you might find this mineral anywhere!
Playing With Colors
Most people will recognize the colorless zircon before any other but the truth is that you can find them in a huge array of colors. Yellow, green, red, brown, blue, and basically anything in between. This makes zircon a favorite among collectors and informed consumers. Red and blue diamonds are inordinately expensive, but a colored zirconia can be had relatively cheap. You can also change common brown zircons into colorless or blue ones by heating them to around 900 Celsius.
How Hard Is It?
Diamond sits on the highest end of the Mohs hardness scale with a rating of 10. Talc is rated on the lowest end with a score of 1. The zircon leans slightly more toward the diamond side of the scale with a hardness rating of anywhere from 6 to 7.5 depending on the composition. While it doesn't quite stack up to the diamond, this hardness is more than sufficient for everyday wear.
Do you believe in the healing powers of gems and crystals? Most don't, but it's always a fun thing to explore. You might also enjoy our blog on birthstone meaning and powers! This article mostly covers the traditional birthstones. In modern birthstone interpretation zircon is associated with a birthday in December. But I digress: In the Middle Ages zircon was though to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits, enhance honor and wisdom. Perhaps the one that I can identify the most with is that zircon is believed to help increase your riches. I do actually believe that one 100%. My spouse and I both wear zircon in our CZ rings. Nobody questions it and we saved quite a mint... Which we then blew on the honeymoon... Oh well!
Zircon is mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible. An angel named Zircon guided Adam and Eve into the Garden of Eden, though that might largely just be coincidence because zircon was called by it's ancient name 'jacinth'. Regardless, zircon/jacinth was one of the stones of fire given to Moses and set into the breastplate of Aaron. It was one of the twelve gemstones set into the city walls of Jerusalem and is associated with the apostle Simon.
Zircon crystals from Jack Hills located in Australia are widely believed to be the oldest thing ever discovered on Earth. These zircon crystals were dated back to 4.375 billion years ago! That is just 165 million years after the Earth was formed. It's astonishing that this fact alone doesn't cause the value of zircon to skyrocket!
The Failed Tiffany Bump
Gemologist George Kunz — Tiffany’s famed gem buyer, was a notable zircon advocate. He once proposed the name “starlite” to promote the gem’s fiery nature. The name never caught on. If it had we might all be talking about zircon endlessly in the same way that we adore diamonds. Perhaps it's just a matter of time...