Zircon is a gemstone with incredible brilliance and color flashes of fire. It is considered to be a rare gemstone, but is actually a very common mineral in the earth and the oldest known gemstone of any kind formed on Earth.
This is actually how this gemstone got its name, as the name Zircon is one of the earliest words in the Persian language. It would later become a noteworthy part of the Germanic languages before being adopted as an English term.
The earliest mention of Zircon is in the Bible. It was one of the first twelve gems worn by the high priests of Israel. Later in 1789, Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) a German chemist discovered the element zirconium in it while studying a sample of Zircon from Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka. Klaproth originally named the new element Zirkonerde (Zirconia or Zircon earth). Later in the early 1800’s Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) an English chemist suggested the name Zirconium.
Today, Zircon is widely available in at least six continents of the world. Large crystals of Zircon can be found in Tanzania. China has a variety of bright colored Zircon including oranges and reds. Cambodia happens to be the leading source of rich green Zircon. Australia is the source of rich plum Zircon. This gem can also be found in Madagascar, Myanmar, Canada, USA, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine.
Recently, in 2014 on an outback sheep station in Western Australia a microscopic fragment of Zircon was found in Western Australia believed to be 4.4 billion years old by Professor John Valley, a geo science expert from the University of Wisconsin. What makes this discovery so special is that the timeline for this mineral crystallising is the same as when the surface of the earth was beginning to cool and crust. This sample is literally from the beginning of our planet.
Zircon crystals come in a variety of shades including green, blue, orange, red and gold. They are not always as appreciated for their appearance as they should be. When translucent gem quality crystals are found they can make very exquisite gemstones. No matter which shade of Zircon you get, you are sure to get a gorgeous gemstone with lots of fire.
These gemstones come in array of colors as we have already seen, although most of the stones are treated to have these colors. Typically, when these precious gems are left untreated, you will end up with colors between a brownish-red and brownish-yellow.
Heat treated Zircon are largely the most valuable and most exquisite varieties. They are treated in order to create sparkly gemstones that exude their characteristic fiery intensity. When heat treated, you end up with clear, green and blue yellow stones. The best varieties of these gemstones come from Madagascar and Canada.
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