Zircon, Decembers birthstone is one of my favorites. One of the reasons for this is that it’s brilliant color, its extreme brilliance and its reasonable price, has been the delight of so many of my clients. It is the gem that really sparkles like few other gems found in nature. In fact it looks quite beautiful even in dim lighting. This makes it an ideal gem for those who want to still sparkle through those seemingly endless, dark days of winter. Its high brilliance comes from its very high refractive qualities as well as its visible dispersion. You can quite literally see the colors of the rainbow dispersed in some specimens.
That is the reason why I travel to the mining source, in NE Cambodia just about every year. The zircon mining area is actually about a 14 hour drive from our base in Thailand. Sometimes we will push through and make the drive in one straight shot. On other occasions, we might stop by the breathtaking ancient ruins of Anchor Wat, or some other attraction.
Zircon comes in many different colors from colorless to a rich and sparkling, tropical ocean, blue. Below you can see examples of zircons many colors.
The reason for so many colors is that some zircons are classified as high and others low zircons. The high zircons have a higher density, hardness and refractive index, while the low zircons have lower values. The low zircons form as the result of a process associated with the presence of uranium in the material. This natural and completely harmless, radioactivity disrupts the crystal structure and produces changes in color and density. These changes take place over a long period of geologic time. Low zircons are extremely rare and are usually green in color.
Zircon has been discovered to be the oldest mineral on earth, with specimens from Australia dated at 4.4 billion years old. Considering that the earth formed 4.56 billion years ago, the oldest zircons in fact represent the earliest record from the earths crust. Zircon was likely to be the first mineral to form in molten magma as it cooled to form rock. While the ancient granitic rock has long eroded away, the only record that is left is tiny grains of zircon. What this means is that zircon, the oldest thing on earth is also even older than the moon, which formed about 4 billion years ago.
Green Zircon – This variety is from Sri Lanka and this color generally is the result of having a slight radioactive, yet non harmful component. Green zircon is also referred to as, low zircon and this is due to it having a lower specific gravity, a lower hardness and a lower refractive index. High clarity and rich, grass green colors, such as the emerald cut one below are very rare.
White Zircon – This color does not generally found in nature. The below example of a fine quality, white zircon is the result of heat treating the brownish color.
Reddish Brown Zircon – This sparkling gem from Tanzania ranges from a strongly reddish brown to a light brown.
Blue Zircon- This color is the most valuable and prized color of zircon and it is the birthstone for December. While this fine blue color is not found in nature, it is produced by heat treating the rich, chocolate, brown zircon that is found in N. E. Cambodia.
Yellow – Orange Zircon – This beautiful earth tone zircon, is more commonly found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and throughout Africa.
Watch the video below and follow my travels as I go to Ratanakari, the worlds only source for the fine blue zircon.
As you can see Zircon is one of the most beautiful gems found in nature. If you would like to see some fine examples of zircon on our website, then feel free to click the link Here and shop our site for your next zircon.