ZIRCON AS USED IN ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY
Zircons come in almost every color of the rainbow. Most zircon sold is blue and is heat treated.
BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES
Zircon is the birthstone for December.
ORIGIN OF NAME
The name "zircon" may have originated from the Persian word, zargun, which means "gold color".
The use of zircon has been noted back to Greece and Italy as far back as the sixth century. In the late 1500, colorless zircon was mined in France, cut and sold as the "Diamond of France". Before 1900s orange or reddish brown zircon, called hyacinth, was the most common variety.
ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY USAGE
Natural brown zircon was a popular embellishment in the Victorian Jewelry Period. In the 1920s, blue zircon appeared on the market and was an instant hit. Blue zircon has become a popular gemstone in contemporary estate jewelry.
Zircon is utilized in the Hindu religion. In the 19th century, the Hindus used symbolic trees as offering to the gods. They believed that green zircon represented the tree's foliage. According to the eleventh century Marbode writings, as an amulet for travelers, zircon protected its wearer from disease and injury, ensured good sleep and a cordial welcome. In the sixteenth century, zircon was to have helped its owners in practical matters and financial success. By the seventeenth century, the belief of its magical powers appeared to be fading, though it was still believed by some to prevent plague.
Zircon is a natural stone with exceptional brilliance and a luster almost like a diamond. Zircon and Cubic Zirconia are not the same material (cubic zirconia is a synthetic stone with a different chemical composition). Zircon is a common minor constituent of igneous rocks, particularly granites and to a lesser extent metamorphic rock. Gemstone crystals are rare and found mainly in coarse grained rocks (pegmatites) or fissures. Zircons concentrate in alluvial and beach deposits. Zircon occurs in water-worn pebbles in gem gravels which are seldom more than ten feet deep.
The major producers of Zircon are Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Zircon is also found in Vietnam, Myanmar, Tanzania, France and Australia. Bangkok is the leading cutter of zircon stones.
ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Strong heat may cause heat treated zircon to revert to its original color. Ultrasonics are risky. Avoid strong light, as it may cause colors to fade.
VARIETIES OF ZIRCON:
BLUE ZIRCON: often is compared to blue topaz or aquamarine because of the blue color. However, zircon has more brilliance and more fire. Blue zircon is generally treated and susceptible to abrasions, especially in rings.
GREEN ZIRCON: Usually found in Sri Lanka and is usually gray or yellow. Often sold as green tourmaline or green sapphire. Usually emits some level of natural radioactivity.
YELLOW, ORANGE AND BROWN-RED ZIRCON: usually brownish or pale in color. Heat may intensify color or reduce brown tints.
COLORLESS ZIRCON: rare in nature, this is usually produced by heating light brown to brownish zircon.
Crystal system: tetragonal
Cleavage: imperfect and negligible
Refractive Index 1.78 - 2.01
Optic: double refracting and uniaxial positive
Specific Gravity: 3.9 - 4.8
With a hardness of 6 to 6.5, on the Mohs' Scale, untreated zircon stones are fairly strong, though heat treated stones may chip or break easily.