10 Cool Facts about December’s OTHER Birthstone, Zircon!

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Along with turquoise and tanzanite, zircon is part of the trifecta of December’s birthstones.  It is an ore of zirconium and has been found in a variety of colors from yellow or gold to blue, green brown and red.  It is one of those gems that perhaps you aren’t as familiar with as, say, diamonds or even next month’s birthstone, garnet.

With that in mind, here are 10 cool facts you may not know about zircon:

  1. The word zircon (English) comes from the German word “Zirkon,” which is derived from the Persian word “zargun,” which means “gold-hued.”

  2. The peak of popularity for zircons is believed to be during Victorian times, when it was believed to ward off evil and jealousy.  During this time, it was used commonly in jewelry, especially brooches and pendants.

  3. Confusion has surrounded this birthstone because of name of the popular lab created diamond susbstitute cubic zirconia (not to be confused with moissanite)  The name “cubic zirconia” has caused many consumers to mistakenly believe that zircon is not a naturally occurring stone.

  4. Adding to the confusion is the “Matura diamond.”  This is the name for colorless gem-quality zircon stones that are actually a popular substitute for diamonds.

  5. The oldest known gemstone is called radiant zircon and some specimens have been dated at over 3 billion years old.

  6. Zircon comes in 5 varieties:  Jacinth (brown, red or yellow-orange), Jargon (colorless, pale gray or pale yellow), Seiland Zircon (dark red, from Seiland Island in Norway) and Starlite (blue gem variety)

  7. Zircon is very durable and is a common part of most sands, as well as a common part of many sedimentary deposits.

  8. This birthstone is the most important ore of the element Zirconium and, in some deposits, an ore of Thorium, a radioactive element.

  9. Australia is the mining world leader, producing about 37% of the world’s zircon, while South Africa comes in second at 30%.

  10. Zircons have been believed to bring self-satisfaction and calmness, as well as preventing insomnia!