Hey there, gemstone enthusiasts! Today, let’s dive into the world of December birthstones, and more specifically, let’s chat about the unsung hero of the gem world – Zircon! This blog will explore why this dazzling gem deserves a prime spot in your next bespoke creation.
Is zircon a precious stone?
Don’t be fooled by the name. Zircon (not to be confused with the common cubic zirconia) is a little-known natural gemstone that has been treasured for centuries. It has terrific light dispersion, creating alluring brilliance and fire. Very high surface lustre and refraction also make the crystal zircon quite mesmerising, with spectacular flashes of light. There was such a close comparison to the sparkle of a diamond that zircon was used as a diamond imitation in the early 1900s.
What is special about zircon?
Interesting fact: Zircon is radioactive and tells the earth’s history in its elements. Scientists can determine how old the mineral is by examining the trace amounts of uranium and thorium, which radioactively decay over time. Interestingly, zircon found in the Australian Jack Hills Range has been confirmed by scientists to be nearly 4.4 billion years old – almost as old as the earth itself.
Where is zircon found in Australia?
Although zircon is found worldwide in the earth’s crust, Australia produces more zircon than any other country. Mineral sand deposits of zircon are spread all over Australia, along the coast of eastern Australia from central NSW to Cape York in Queensland. Old beach deposits can be found in Victoria, Western Australia’s coastline and South Australia in the Murray and Eucla Basin. Zircon is still relatively abundant and can be spotted by eager fossicking enthusiasts scattered on the ground in the Northern Territory’s Mud Tank Field. Also, because zircon is often found alongside sapphires, it can be readily found in Queensland and NSW gem fields, delighting new and old fossickers alike.
What colour zircon is most valuable?
Zircon can be found in many colours, from the autumnal colours of red, orange, yellow and green to the most prized colour in the market – blue! This desired colour is found in many pieces of English Estate jewellery made in the 1880s, being the popular choice among fine English ladies. Blue zircon today is generally heat treated to enhance the colour and stabilise the stone.
How is zircon cut?
Because of the fire zircons display, they are usually found in the brilliant cut to show off their scintillation, but you can find them in stepped cuts and even a combination of both. There is even a cut called the ‘zircon cut’ (similar to the round brilliant cut), which has eight extra facets around the base, allowing the natural stone to truly sparkle.
Is Zircon jewellery good quality?
Zircon is excellent for quality jewellery with its serious sparkle factor, and it is often mistaken for its pricier cousin, the diamond. So, if you’re into bling on a budget, zircon might be your new best friend. Although this stunning stone can safely be set into jewellery, it’s best to craft it into earrings, bracelets or pendants rather than rings that get knocked around. Zircon can suffer from a gemology term called ‘parcel wear’, meaning the facet edges can wear and scuff quickly if it often rubs against other surfaces.
So, there you have it – Zircon, the sparkling unsung hero ready to steal the show in your next custom jewellery creation. With its affordability, superior bling, and colours, Zircon is a gem ready to make a statement without emptying your wallet. The next time you dream up your perfect piece, don’t forget to give Zircon a well-deserved spot in the limelight.