Posted on December 15, 2015 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Zircon may be found in several colors: orange, yellow, brown, green, blue, red, and colorless, (red being the most value shade of zircon). Many zircon stones are heat treated to enhance their color and increase transparency. Oddly, a zircon’s color may darken and its luster may fade when it’s exposed to the sun. This process can be reversed with a second heat treatment.
Colorless zircon has been used as a diamond substitute due to its impressive luster, particularly in the early 20th century. In fact, zircon is often confused with cubic zirconia, which is an expensive, synthetic diamond simulant. The only thing the two have in common is the element zirconium. Zircon has decreased in popularity because of its association with “fake diamonds.”
Raw, Untreated Zircon
In the Middle Ages, Zircon was believed to reduce nightmares, ward of evil spirits, and promote peaceful, sound sleeping. It was also credited with increasing one’s likelihood of accumulating wealth and wisdom. Quite a lot for a little stone!
George Kunz of Tiffany & Co.
Blue zircon was the most popular variety of the stone during the Victorian era and was often featured in estate jewelry beginning in the 1880s. Tiffany & Co.’s famous gem buyer and mineral collector, George Kunz, promoted the use of the stone and even suggested changing its name to “starlite.” The name never took off, however.
Blue Zircon Earrings with Sterling Silver Prongs
Zircon is mainly sourced from the Chanthaburi area of Thailand, the south of Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Australia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the Palin area of Cambodia.
Photos: Sprig Jewelry via Etsy, Candiru via Flickr, "GeorgeKunz1900circa" by Unknown - Yogo The Great American Sapphire, by Stephen M. Voynick, c. 1985, March 1995 printing, p. 32. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons, Maria Panayiotou via Flickr