Jewelry & Diamond Industry Dictionary of Terminology


Zircon is a colorful gem with high refraction and fire that is unfairly confused with cubic zirconia.

Colorless zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire. These zircon properties are close enough to the properties of diamond to account for centuries of confusion between the two gems.

Zircon occurs in an array of colors. Its varied palette of yellow, green, red, reddish brown, and blue hues makes it a favorite among collectors as well as informed consumers.

Mineral: Zircon
Chemistry: ZrSiO4
Color: Blue, red, yellow, orange, brown, green

Refractive index:
High: 1.925 to 1.984 (+/- 0.040)
Medium: 1.875 to 1.905 (+/- 0.030)
Low: 1.810 to 1.815 (+/-0.030)

Birefringence: 0.000 to 0.059 (low to high)
Specific gravity: 3.90 to 4.73
Mohs Hardness: 6 to 7.5 (low to high)

Zircon is a birthstone for the month of December, along with turquoise and tanzanite.

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Sources for these definitions are GIA.edu, Google.com, Meriam-Webster.com, and Wikipedia.org.