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Zircon: Brilliant but Misunderstood

Hindu poets tell of the Kalpa Tree, the ultimate gift to the gods, which was a glowing tree covered with gemstone fruit with leaves of zircon. Zircon has long had a supporting role to more well-known gemstones, often stepping in as an understudy when they were unavailable.

In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. The name probably comes from the Persian word zargun which means "gold-colored," although zircon comes in a wide range of different colors.

Natural zircon today suffers for the similarity of its name to cubic zirconia, the laboratory-grown diamond imitation. Some don't realize that there is a beautiful natural gemstone called zircon.

Zircon occurs in a wide range of colors but for many years, the most popular was the colorless variety which looks more like diamond than any other natural stone due to its brilliance and dispersion.

Today the most popular color is blue zircon. Most blue zircon, which is considered an alternate birthstone for December, is a pastel blue, but some exceptional gems have a bright blue color. Zircon is also available in green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange.

Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Australia, and other countries.

Zircon is one of the heaviest gemstones, which means that it will look smaller than other varieties of the same weight. Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully because although zircon is relatively hard, it can abrade and facets can chip. Dealers often wrap zircons in individual twists of paper so that they will not knock against each other in a parcel.

The wide variety of colors of zircon, its rarity, and its relatively low cost make it a popular collector's stone. Collectors enjoy the search for all possible colors and variations.