Buying Tips / Jewelry

What is Zircon? Everything You Need to Know

Briana Briana 17 Mar 2020 10083

As you think about buying some new jewelry, a big consideration is what type of gemstone you want. Maybe you want to go big with a diamond, or perhaps you want a unique colored stone – perhaps an emerald, a ruby, or peridot? In all of your thinking, had you ever thought of buying a zircon? 

We’d be willing to guess that you probably haven’t! In fact, you may not have ever heard of zircon before. No, it isn’t the name of the latest robot villain in the movies. It’s a lesser-known type of gemstone, but today we’re going to change that! 

If you haven’t heard of this gemstone before and are looking for something unique for your next jewelry investment, keep reading to learn what zircon is!  

What is Zircon?

Before we get into what zircon actually is, it’s important to start with what zircon is not. Upon hearing the name you might have thought that it is related to cubic zirconia. It is not!

Cubic zirconia is a man-made substance that resembles the look of a diamond. Zircon, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring gemstone that comes from a mineral. 

In fact, zircon is one of the oldest minerals in the world! While it has been around forever, that has not translated into popularity like other gemstones. It is a silicate mineral, referred to as zirconium silicate. 

Zircon colors
Zircon colors source:

It has been used in jewelry for around 2,000 years. Today it remains one of the lesser-known gemstones, but for those who do know about it, they can enjoy some gorgeous jewelry that is totally unique. Zircon has a wide range of colors, including a colorless varietal that is sometimes used as a diamond alternative.  

Zircon actually has a wide variety of colors, and that color variety is actually due to impurities, some of which are actually radioactive! Don’t be afraid though, the amount of radioactivity is very small and is not believed to be dangerous or bad for your health. In fact, because of these impurities, most zircon gemstones are heat treated.

The heat treatment, otherwise known as metamiction, destroys the inner crystal structure of the gemstone. This helps the gemstonemore transparent and also increases the color of the gemstone. Most heat-treated zircons today are blue, however, you can also find zircons that are red, brown, green, or yellow.   

Use in Jewelry

A zircon is a great buy when it comes to jewelry! Because of its wide color range, you have a lot of options available to you based on what style you are looking for. Whether you want a classic colorless stone, or a more unique bluestone, or anything in between, you can likely find a zircon to fit exactly what you are looking for.

Are you a December baby? Zircon is one of your birthstones! Keep that in mind when shopping for yourself, or if you are shopping for someone who is born in December. This gemstone could be the perfect, unique gemstone to gift to someone!

What also makes zircon great for jewelry is its exceptional brilliance and fire – meaning it will have a lot of sparkles! Who doesn’t want that with their jewelry? 

zircon ring

Another great reason for going with zircon? The price. As with any gemstone, there is a great variation in price based on the color and rarity of the stone. However, in general, zircon is far cheaper than precious gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, or sapphires

Finally, zircon is a fairly durable gemstone that can be safely used in jewelry. While it is not nearly as hard as a diamond, it is a good option for most jewelry pieces. It scores between 6-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. If you are considering a piece of jewelry that you will wear every day, know that a zircon may not hold up as well over time. The edges may chip, especially if it has been heat-treated. However, for all other jewelry, you don’t need to worry.  

Zircon Statistics

To help you decide, here’s a quick rundown of the top statistics you need to know about zircon:

Cost: Affordable, given it’s a real gemstone. One carat will range between around $50 to up to $400. You will likely pay hundreds for a zircon, vs. paying thousands for other precious gemstones. 

Durability: Fairly durable. Has the potential to chip especially if heat-treated. Hardness of between 6-7.5.

Appearance: Excellent brilliance and fire, making for a very sparkly gemstone. Zircons are also double-refractive, which can help add to the sparkle when looking at it. They come in a variety of colors, including colorless, blue, green, yellow, red, and brown. 

Availability: Even though zircon is less valuable than other gemstones like diamonds or rubies, that doesn’t mean it’s readily available. It can be harder to find zircon, especially since it is less popular than many other stones. Blue zircon will be easier to find, but other colors will definitely be more difficult. 

Shape: Zircons can be cut into nearly any typical gemstone shape, however, if you want the most sparkle and brilliance, you should go with a round or oval shape. These are the most popular shapes. 

Weight: Zircons are actually some of the densest gemstones, and therefore the heaviest! Compared to a diamond, a zircon will weigh around 50% more (when comparing the same size stones).     

Shop Zircon 

Are you considering some zircon jewelry now that you know more about it? We aren’t surprised! Here are some awesome zircon pieces that you can shop right now: 

Black Bow Jewelry & Co. Blue Zircon Stud Earrings

Black Bow Jewelry & Co. Blue Zircon Stud Earrings

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These oval earrings are a perfect addition to any jewelry collection. Their simple design keeps these studs good for every day, yet their bold color makes them interesting and can add the perfect pop of color to any outfit!

The bright shade of blue is so unique and one that you don’t find with many other gemstones, so you are sure to get plenty of questions asking what gemstone you are wearing. If you don’t usually wear a lot of colors, a simple stud like this is a great way to do so without going over the top. 

Pavilion Gift Company December Blue Zircon Necklace

Pavilion Gift Company December Blue Zircon Necklace

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We told you zircon was a birthstone for December! Here is an excellent gift idea for anyone born in December. Not only is the necklace itself beautiful, but the packaging is great as well and will show anyone that this gift isn’t just random. Seeing as the color of the zircon is so bold, it looks great in a minimalist piece like this with the simple chain and setting. 

Gem Stone King Infinity Pendant

Gem Stone King Infinity Pendant

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While a lot of jewelry that you will find will pair blue zircon with sterling silver, we actually really like seeing it with a gold chain instead! This is a gorgeous pendant necklace that we think would make for a perfect gift. Wear this necklace with a simple dress or blouse so that all the attention is on the necklace.

The diamonds pair perfectly with the zircon and the gold gives it some more contrast, making the zircon stand out in a really beautiful way. Perfect for a formal occasion, this is a necklace every woman should have in her wardrobe! 

Gem Stone King 14K White Gold – Zircon Studs

Gem Stone King 14K White Gold - Zircon Studs

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Finally, you really can’t go wrong with a classic set of round studs. You just can’t! These earrings are so easy to style, as they go with just about anything. You can dress these up or down and are perfect to wear every day.

The gemstone is a gorgeous shade of blue, but because the studs are so small, you don’t have to shy away from the bold color. If you are tired of basic diamond studs, why not mix it up with some zircon? 

Wrapping Up

Zircon is a lesser-known gemstone, but given its affordability, range in appearance, and durability, we don’t see why it isn’t more popular! If you are looking for a totally unique stone for your next piece of jewelry, why not consider zircon? 

Whether you go for the colorless variety to resemble the look of a diamond or go for one of the more popular blue shades, zircon is a great gemstone to consider for any nice piece of jewelry. Its brilliance and fire is close to that of a diamond, ensuring you will have a lot of sparkle with your jewelry. While it may not be the best choice for jewelry worn every day, like an engagement ring, it’s pretty much perfect for anything else!