Zircon is a beautiful, but underappreciated gem, which features a bright, lustrous diamond-like sparkle and a rainbow of colors that rival sapphire and tourmaline. It’s best known for its brilliant blue hues, but you shouldn’t ignore its warm yellows, oranges, reds, reddish browns and greens. Colorless zircon is renowned for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire, which are so similar to diamond’s that, for centuries it was confused with diamond. It’s unfortunate that today, the name zircon combined with the stone’s fire and brilliance, causes this lovely natural gemstone to be confused with cubic zirconia, a manmade synthetic material often used as a diamond simulant. The name confusion combined with its generally limited supply, results in zircon not being a well-known gemstone among jewelry buyers.
Zircon’s most valuable colors are blue, bright red, and green, with the various shades of blue representing around 80% of all zircon sales. Almost always the result of heating yellowish or reddish brown rough material, blue zircon’s color range runs from slightly greenish blue to pure blue. Colorless zircon varieties, as well as orange, yellow and red colors are also commonly created by heating. Reputable dealers, like 100 East Fine Jewelry, disclose all gemstone treatments to prospective buyers. Most faceted zircon gemstones used in jewelry today are free of eye-visible inclusions.
Zircon has a higher specific gravity than many other gem species, which means a one carat zircon will be smaller than most other one carat gemstones. Despite its relative hardness, zircon is a brittle gem. Heating can make it even more brittle. When used in jewelry, it’s preferred that zircon be set in pendants and earrings rather than rings and bracelets.
We love the scintillating diamond-like sparkle zircon offers our jewelry designs along with the attractive array of blue hues, which beautifully enhance any design.
Zircon is one of three December birthstones. To learn more about it, visit our Education and Resources page. There you can learn about gemstones, caring for your jewelry, cleaning fine jewelry and much more.