Gem School
Zircon

Mineral: Zircon
Colour: Various
Moh's Hardness: 7.5
Birthstone: December
Anniversary: 4th (blue), 11th (yellow)

Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth, with samples found in Australia that date back an extraordinary 4.4 billion years. A natural gemstone, it is found in many colours and can also be chemically colourless.

History

The name zircon is said to come from the Arabic word ‘zarkun’ meaning vermillion or cinnabar. Others say it originates from the Persian word ‘zargun’ meaning gold-coloured. During the Middle Ages, zircon was thought to induce sleep, promote prosperity, wisdom and honour as well as drive away evil spirits.

Due to its high brilliance and dispersion, colourless zircon was used as a diamond substitute in the early 1900s, referred to as a Matura diamond.

Sometimes zircon is confused with the lab created cubic zirconia due to the similarity of their names. This has resulted in zircon being somewhat underappreciated but with great potential to grow in value as the market becomes more aware of it’s charms.

Care

The fire and lustre of a zircon, combined with good hardness makes it a great gem for jewellery. Some of the colours can be prone to fading over time and the lustre can also be dulled if exposed to prolonged time in the sun. For this reason, store your zircon jewellery in a dark box and/or drawer. Zircon can be brittle so avoid any hard knocks or it might chip. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, harsh chemicals, acids or alkaline solutions. To clean, soak in warm soapy water and use a soft brush to dislodge any grime. Dry with a clean soft cloth.

Zircon Pieces