Gemstone Focus: Zircon

Zircon is probably one of the most under-rated gemstones. This December brthstone is often confused with the diamond imitation cubic zirconia. Hoever Zircon is a completely natural gemstone and its beauty rivals any gemstone.

Zircon can be found in a number of colours including blue, yellow, orange, green, brown, red and white. White zircon has often been confused with diamond because of its brilliant fire and sparkle. And the Victorians had a special fondness for Blue Zircon which can be found in many old estate pieces.

In the middle ages it was believed that zircon would protect you from evil spirits. It was also believed to prevent theft! In the Hindu religion is was one of the nine gems o f the Navaratna which was believed to protect the wearer and bring wealth wisdom and good health.

Fact, care and value:

Zircon can be found in a number of locations throughout the world but the best quality are usually found in southeast Asia, and Australia.

Most blue and white zircon is subjected to some form of heat treatment to enhance colour. These are undetectable and generally accepted within the gem industry. Green zircon is the most rare colour and therefore holds the most value.

Zircon is relatively scratch resistant sitting at 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale. However it can be brittle and therefore it is best to have them set in protective settings such as bezels as the girdle (the edge of the stone) is subject to chipping if struck. Therefore Zircon is best worn as an occasional gemstone in rings. In earrings or pendants it is usually safe enough.

Care of Zircon is fairly straight-forward however be advised that some heat treated zircons can revert to their original colour if they are subjected to excessive heat, including prolonged exposure to the sun or cleaning via heated solutions. It is best to clean them with lukewarm soapy water and a soft brush and dry them thoroughly. Avoid mechanical cleaners such as ultrasonic

Prices for zircon vary from $25-$250 per carat depending on the colour, and quality. Blue zircon tend to command highest prices. Interestingly because zircon is double refractive, if the stone is not well cut, it can appear fuzzy, especially when photographed.

There you have just a little bit about natural Zircon!

Thanks for reading.

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