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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.

 

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 more flashy 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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