It’s not hard to be wowed by zircon’s physical beauty, but there’s more to this popular gem than meets the eye!
What It Looks Like
Zircon comes in dazzling shades of blue, yellow, green, red, orange, reddish-brown, and pink—not to mention its equally stunning black, multicolor and colorless varieties. It’s easy to find a color to fit anyone’s preferences!
What It Feels Like
Zircon registers at a 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, meaning it’s super tough and durable. That attribute, combined with its brilliance and crystal shape, make it an incredibly desirable gemstone—and not just for those born in December.
Where to Find It
Zircon is found worldwide, with notable deposits in Australia, Russia, Norway, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. Colorless zircon is called “Matara” after a city in Sri Lanka near where it is mined. In the U.S., it pops up in a few states, including California, Oklahoma and North Carolina.
What It Does
In the Middle Ages, zircon was believed to aid in sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor, riches and wisdom. These days, it has a few more professional roles: as an opacifier in ceramic glazes, as bricks in steel-making furnaces and as mould sand in the foundry industry.
What It’s Not
Colorless zircon is often confused with cubic zirconia, a.k.a. the most common kind of fake diamonds. And it’s easy to see why: Zircon’s chemical name is crystalline zirconium silicate, which sounds an awful lot like cubic zirconia’s official name, crystalline zirconium dioxide. Plus, zircon was used as a diamond simulant in the early 1900s—until CZ came along. Bottom line? Zircon is the real deal, while CZ is manmade.
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