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Zircon Buying Guide - What factors to look out for before deciding to buy

Buy Zircon Gems

As with nearly all gemstones, it is the color that plays the leading part in the value of zircons. The dazzling blues are very popular but other colors can be found and the clear variety makes an excellent diamond alternative. However it is not just color that can affect the price – the size, the cut and the clarity will influence the value, too.

Brief Buying Guide to Zircon

Color

Brilliant blues dominate the world of Zircon gemstones, ranging from light sky blue and turquoise tones to intense and deep navy colors. The blue color is just about always the result of heat treatment and the same can be said for white zircons.

Buy Blue Zircon Gemstones
Shop Blue Zircon here

This treatment is fairly difficult to detect but so universal that you should be very wary of any seller claiming to have untreated blue or clear zircons.

Buy White Zircon Gemstones
Shop White Zircon here

Zircons can also be found in pink, red, orange and brown with some of the earthy burnt orange versions displaying stunning autumnal colors.

Buy Orange Zircon Gemstones
Shop Orange Zircon here
Buy Red/Pink Zircon Gemstones
Shop Red/Pink Zircon here

Natural green zircon is considered to be the rarest and potentially the most expensive form.

Clarity

Generally all zircon gemstones have high levels of clarity so accept nothing less than eye-clean examples – an informal term to describe gemstones with no visible blemishes or inclusions.

For collectors there are some untreated zircons with a cloudy appearance but interesting colors that may appeal.

clarity scale
See our clarity scale here

Carat

Zircons tend to come in smaller sizes than similar gemstones such as topaz and aquamarine but some blue stones can be found in impressive dimensions of between 5 and 10 carats and many reds and oranges come in at a little less than 5 carats.

Zircon is a very dense gemstone so a 5 carat zircon will look smaller than a 5 carat topaz for example - always buy based on actual millimeter size so you know exactly what you are getting.

Gemstone Weight Scales

Cut / Shape

The most popular cuts for zircon are 'oval step cuts' and 'round diamond cuts'. The 'octagon step cuts' are the more desired ones since they show very clear and even colors but they do require more rough to begin with. In all cuts the cutter has to be experienced so the stone is cut in the correct angles to show the proper reflections and fire.

They are indeed tricky to cut because they can look different in color when viewed from different angles – a phenomenon known as pleochroism. The cutter will want the most attractive and strongest color to be seen from the top (table) of the gemstone.

Buy Gemstones by Shape
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Jewelry

Zircon is rated at around 7 on the Mohs hardness scale so is good for most types of jewelry although it is considered rather a brittle gemstones so an exposed ring setting could be liable to break or shatter if hit too hard.

With the characteristic fire or brilliance that makes them sparkle more than most gemstones, Zircons are an excellent alternative for Diamonds. Although they are not anywhere near as durable they are considerably less expensive.

Zircon Jewelry

Treatments

White and blue zircons are typically heat treated to either give them color or to completely remove color. Since completely natural blue or clear zircons are virtually non-existent there are no issues about paying premiums for untreated gemstones. Assume they are all treated.

Zircons in other colors such as orange, red, brown and pink are generally untreated but since all zircons tend to be very reasonably priced, heat treated or not, it is a matter of individual preference whether to buy or not.

Price

Zircon is a quality gemstone with a long history and a special sparkle that is the envy of most other gems. Despite this, it can be bought for very reasonable prices with the larger carat sizes getting the highest prices no matter which color.

Zircon Price Examples

Color Weight Range Price Range / ct

Blue

1 - 2ct

$15 - $50

Blue

2 - 5ct

$35 - $180

Blue

5ct +

$70 - $350

White

1 - 2ct

$15 - $80

White

2 - 5ct

$18 - $40

Fancy

1 - 2ct

$15 - $100

Fancy

2 - 5ct

$20 - $250

Fancy

5ct +

$40 - $400

Birthstone

Blue Zircon is one of the birthstones for December.

Durability

Although Zircon is hard enough to resist most scratches it is quite brittle - a sharp knock in the wrong place could break the gemstone. This is due to its indistinct cleavage so zircon jewelry should be worn with care.

Zircon is rated 6.5 – 7.5 on Mohs Hardness Scale

Summary

Zircon is a historic and acclaimed gemstone which has long been recognized for its outstanding fire and brilliance. It has suffered a little by often being mistaken for cubic zirconia – a colorless synthetic gemstone that can also be used as a diamond substitute – but zircon is a totally authentic gemstone mined for centuries all over the world. In fact with some samples being dated back 4.5 million years, Zircon is as old as planet Earth itself.

Quick Guide to Buying Zircon

Color

Blue / Clear / Red / Pink / Orange / Brown

Clarity

High

Carat Weight

Small to Medium

Cut

Diamond Cuts / Step Cuts

Price

Moderate

Treatments

Common for Blue and Clear (White)

Birthstone

December (Blue Zircon)

Wedding Stone

n/a

Jewelry

All Types – Rings may need protective setting

Durability

Rated 6.5 – 7.5 on Mohs Hardness Scale

  • First Published: March-17-2021
  • Last Updated: March-18-2021
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Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart