Zircon Mining around the World
December is an interesting month for birthstones because there is a triad to choose from. At one time or another, zircon, tanzanite and turquoise have all been appointed the birthstone of December. Most recently, the beautiful gemstone zircon has been a popular choice and with its amazing history and many varieties we can see why! Not found anywhere in the United States, zircon is mined in a dozen countries throughout the world including Australia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mozambique and Thailand, to name a few1. If you had your heart set on finding a December birthstone that originated closer to home, Arizona is a main source of turquoise – a lovely alternate birthstone for this month.
Brief Zircon Background
The natural mineral zircon has the longest history of any gemstone known to man. In Australia, there are samples of this stone dating back to 4.4 billion years ago1. Zircon’s name likely originated from the Persian word ‘zargun’ which meant ‘gold-colored’ although blue zircon is most well known today. Throughout time, the mystical properties of zircon range from aiding sleep to bringing prosperity to helping heal varicose veins or even bringing wisdom to those who wore it 2.
The Many Colors of Zircon
This popular December birthstone can be found in colors ranging from colorless, orange, brown, yellow, red and green but the most sought after type of zircon is the beautiful blue zircon. Sometimes confused with man-made cubic zirconia because of its similarity in name and display, natural zircon has a brilliance that rivals that of diamonds. Because of its likeness in density, luster and double refraction of light, zircon is often purchased in place of diamonds. All of these characteristics help make zircon very enticing and collectors are enamored with finding all is color variations.
Color of a Zircon: Most common are blue
Variations on Color: colorless, green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange
Birthstone Month: December
Wedding Anniversary Year: 4 & 11
The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing a birthstone gift for your December loved ones. Whether you are searching for the perfect zircon or looking at gorgeous turquoise or tanzanite gems, Forever Diamonds is happy to help.
1. “Zircon: brilliant but misunderstood” International Colored Gemstone Association, 2014. Web. Retrieved October 30, 2014. <http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=122:sapphire&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14>
2. “Zircon Gemstone” Gem Select, 2014. Web. Retrieved October 30, 2014.<http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/zircon/zircon-info.php>
3. “Zircon Quality Factors” Gemological Institute of America, 2002-2014. Web. Retrieved October 30, 2014. <http://www.gia.edu/zircon-quality-factor>