Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Zircon

(Image of Zircon found on gemologyonline.org)


Zircon is a beautiful and greatly varied gemstone. There is no clear date as to when Zircon was first discovered other than to say "ancient times."  It's name is believed to be derived from the Arabic words zar meaning "gold" and gun meaning "coloured" (this word "zargun" is itself derrived from the Persian word "azargun"); this was in reference to one of the many colours in which Zircon is found in.  There is a common misunderstanding by some that Zircon is just a fake stone, however, this concept is because they have mistaken Zircon for Cubic Zirconia and they are absolutely worlds apart.  While both clear Zircon and Cubic Zirconia have been used as Diamond substitutes, Zircon is a genuine gemstone (and one that, in the right colour, may command some rather high per carat values) and Cubic Zirconia is a completely synthetic 'stone' having no intrinsic value. Zircon has an excellent hardness of 7.5 and may have a vitreous, greasy, or adamantine luster.  It's colour range is quite varied.  Zircon may be colourless, yellow, grey, reddish-brown (a colour often reffed to as "hyacinth") , green, brown, and black. You may also see 'Blue Zircon' on the market, but this is not a naturally occurring colour for Zircon, but results from Brown Zircon being heat-teated.  Zircon may be transparent, translucent, or opaque.  The retail per carat value of Zircon varies quite a bit depending on the size, colour, an quality of the stone. For the current values of Zircon you may check on GemVal. Zircon is vary widespread and may be found in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, the Atlantic Ocean, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma(Myanmar), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon,China, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic republic of Congo (Zaire), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, French Guinea, French Polynesia, Germany, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Guatamala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, the Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta,Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippians, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, the moon, Turkey, Uganda, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe, all across Canada, and nearly every state in the U.S. (all but 9 states have Zircon).

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