Zircon is a natural gemstone material that has been known since the Middle Ages. The oldest known zircon stones are around 4.4 billion years old. The name "zircon" probably comes from the Persian word "zargun" meaning "gold-colored", though zircon comes in a wide range of different colors as well as the most popular zircon color of blue. Most blue zircon come in a pastel blue, but some exceptional gems have a bright blue color. Zircon is also available colorless, green, dark-red, pink, violet, yellow, brown and orange.
Zircon has great brilliance and intense fire because of its high refractive index and strong dispersion. This means that zircon gems sparkle and make stunning jewelry gemstones. Colorless zircon stones are generally brilliant-cut and have fraudulently been sold as "matura" diamond. On the other hand, natural zircon should not be confused with synthetic cubic zirconia, a common diamond look-alike. Some of the best zircon gems come from Cambodia and have a unique teal-like blue color that is prized by jewelry lovers all over the world.
Although relatively hard, (rating 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale), zircon is brittle and therefore sensitive to knocks and pressure. The gem has the tendency to wear along facet edges. Its use in rings should therefore be limited to protective settings or occasional-wear jewelry. Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully and wrapped separately.
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