Vaughan's Jewelers
Shoppes at Brentwood
2801-3E Ward Blvd
Wilson, NC 27893
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December Birthstone – Blue Zircon

Wilson_Zircon_JewelryAn additional birthstone for December is the zircon.  Its name is likely derived from the Arabic words “zar” and “gun”, meaning “gold” and “color”.  The gem is available in a wide range of colors, and is very brilliant, has great fire and clarity.  Zircon, in its unaltered natural form, can seem colorless to pale yellow, or green.

The colors found in zircon gemstones are caused by small quantities of thorium and uranium that replaces zircon in the crystal structure.  But over time, additional forces work within the zirconium silicate crystals.  The uranium and thorium inclusions emit radiation that changes the original crystal structure.  A glass-like substance is made, with colors of red to brown, orange and yellow.

The mineral zircon, also known as zirconium silicate, is generally found as a minor component in igneous rock like granites and some forms of metamorphic rock.  Gem quality zircon stones are typically rare.  These gemstones are created mainly in pegmatites (coarse-grained igneous rock) and in fissures.  But because of the weathering of the gem-bearing rocks, most zircons are found in alluvial and beach deposits.

A new blue color for zircon, named “starlight blue,” was produced by heating golden brown or yellow zircon in the 1920’s.  The most valued zircon is the red gemstone, which is very uncommon.  The pure vivid blue and sky blue varieties are likewise extremely valuable, while the colorless, orange, brown and yellow stones are less expensive.

A lot of zircons on the market are heat treated, and sold as blue, golden brown or colorless gems.  Colorless zircons are the closest imitators of diamonds, visually, with a brilliant fire that is nearly as dazzling as a genuine diamond.  Even so, the resemblance is merely superficial.

Zircon is a brittle stone, easily cracked with a well-placed knock, because of internal stresses in the crystal caused by radiation damage and heat treatment. In spite of its delicate tendency, the stone is nevertheless highly appreciated due to its stunning beauty.

A widely accepted substitute for the December birthstone is the Blue Topaz.