Blue Zircon combines a gorgeous teal color with fiery brilliance akin to diamonds. In fact, for centuries, people confused colorless zircon with diamond.
However, diamonds aren’t the only thing zircon gets confused with. Many consumers think zircon is the same gemstone as cubic zirconia, largely due to its name.
In fact, famed gemstone genius George Frederick Kunz was so enamored with zircon, he tried to rebrand it with a new name: starlight. (No, “starlight” didn’t catch on.)
The mistaken perceptions surrounding zircon stop consumers from enjoying its sparkling beauty — which is a shame, because blue zircon, one of December’s three birthstones (the other two being turquoise and tanzanite), is a gorgeous gemstone despite its lesser-known status.
To Age with Grace
Zircon’s physical history stretches back literally billions of years. In 2014, a blue zircon no larger than a grain of sand was found in the Jack Hills of Western Australia. Testing revealed this tiny zircon dated back 4.40 billion years — making it the oldest mineral on the planet.
Introducing: Planet Earth
Zircon crystallized from the boiling magma that characterized the Hadean, Earth’s very first geologic eon, back when our planet was three things:
- Very hot.
- Very unstable.
- Only 165 million years old.
Amidst the heat and chaos, some zircon crystals had the good fortune of capturing tiny atoms of uranium-238, which would later help scientists date these billions-years-old zircon beauties.
Typically, we use carbon dating to estimate the age of ancient objects. Alas, it measures only 70,000 years into the past. With uranium-238, we enter a vast ancient realm.
We know that half of uranium-238 atoms decay into lead after 4.47 billion years. To date the Australian grain of zircon, scientists measured the number of lead atoms and the uranium-238 atoms. If the atom ratio is equal, the age is 4.47 billion years. It there are slightly more uranium atoms than lead in zircon, the age is 4.40 billion years.
At its purest, zircon is colorless. But with trace amounts of other elements, other zircon colors emerge. Since blue remains the most popular color, more had to be created — and researchers discovered how: heating. When brown zircon is heated, it turns into beautiful blue zircon.
Making the Cut
Zircon has high birefringence, so cutters must orient the table to the optic axis. If not, zircon’s natural facet image doubling will make its interior appear fuzzy. Round zircon is often given a “zircon cut,” a brilliant cut with an extra row of facets on the edge.
Stone of Virtue
Zircon is endowed with incredible powers of self-improvement. Its abilities are so good, it has been called the “stone of virtue.”
Among many other things, zircon can:
- Promote unions of the mind and body.
- Increase stamina and perseverance.
- Secure safe passage for travelers.
- Heal injuries and soothe pain.
We offer hand-selected blue zircon in our Notable Gems™ collection and also calibrated zircon in the shapes, sizes, and shades you need to attract customers drawn to this teal-hued beauty.