THE GEMSTONE ZIRCON
Zircon is an important gemstone of many colors, and is an historical gemstone used for thousands of years. It is sometimes looked upon as a cheap Diamond simulant, but in actuality it can be a valuable gem. Its color diversity is caused by traces of certain impurities, some of which are radioactive. Zircon gemstones containing radioactive element traces undergo a process called metamiction, in which their inner crystal structure becomes destroyed. These radioactive forms of Zircon must be heated to stabilize them for use as gems. In fact, many of the gem forms of zircon (even those that are not radioactive) are heat treated to enhance color and increase transparency. The radioactivity in Zircon gemstones is very minimal and is generally believed to be safe, without posing any health hazards.
Color: White, Colorless, Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple, Gray
USES Zircon of all colors are used as gems, but blue, golden-brown, and white are the colors most often used. Blue Zircon, the most popular color, has a lively pastel blue, and occasionally has a very desirable striking bright blue color. Colorless Zircon is usually cut with a brilliant cut to bring out its fire to its fullest capability. It is often used as a cheaper, yet natural alternative to Diamond. The other color forms (yellow, green, pink, and purple) are less often seen in jewelry.
ZIRCON SOURCES Zircon sources include Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Australia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Zircon is the traditional birthstone for December.