Zircon is a little known and often misunderstood stone. While not many people know about this gemstone today, Zircon used to be highly valued and coveted throughout history for its natural brilliance and attractive characteristics. It is a beautiful natural gemstone, comparable in many ways to diamonds.

Zircon is the oldest mineral found on earth so far, with some crystals found in Australia estimated to be over 4.4 billion years old!

Due to its similarities in appearance to diamonds, zircon was the first natural diamond imitation. It is the only natural gemstone that even comes close to mimicking the appearance of a diamond. Unfortunately for zircon, many people confuse zircon with the cheaper and less valuable cubic zirconia, which has given it a bad reputation. however, it is a beautiful gemstone in its own right.

If you are intrigued by this misunderstood stone, read on as we cover everything you need to know about zircon.

What is zircon?

Zircon is a natural gemstone. It is made up of zirconium silicate and is found in various regions of the world including Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, USA, South Africa and Australia. It has been used in jewelry for centuries, and in particular as a diamond simulant.

The word zircon comes from the Persian word ‘zargun’ which means ‘golden color’. However, you can find zircon in a range of colors, caused by various impurities that are present during the stone’s formation. Zircon can sometimes contain trace amounts of uranium and can be slightly radioactive. In such cases, the zircon undergoes stability treatments to allow its use in jewelry.

However, don’t let this stop you from adding zircon to your jewelry collection because the minuscule levels of radioactivity found in zircon jewelry pose no health risk to humans.

Zircon has a very high brilliance, brilliance, dispersion and refraction. In other words, it excellently plays with light, turning it into a bright, fiery stone. Zircon also exhibits rainbow-colored flashes.

Because the stone has double refraction, it displays excellent fire and can give the illusion of having twice as many facets as it actually is. This birefringence, however, can also make the zircon look fuzzy.

Zircon Color Evaluation

While the most commonly used zircon varieties include blue, pink, yellow, and colorless, you can find this stone in almost any color.

Colorless zircon is the purest form of the mineral, and high-quality stones, such as diamond, can be very rare. In fact, it is much rarer than diamonds, but it is considerably less valuable.

Blue is the most valuable variety of zircon and one of the most sought after. However, natural blue zircon is hard to come by, so many blue stones on the market have been heat treated to obtain zircon’s characteristic pastel blue tones.

Of all the colors of zircon, green is highly coveted because it happens to be the rarest variety of zircon. It is a collector’s item and very rare to come by.

Some zircon stones can also show pleochroism. This is the stone’s ability to display two or more colors, depending on the angle at which the stone is viewed. Blue and green are the two colors that are commonly exhibited, resulting in a bluish-green color.

The zircon cuts

Zircon can be cut into all popular gemstone shapes. Due to zircon’s high dispersion and light yield, cutting colorless zircon into a brilliant shape generally maximizes its brilliance and makes it look very much like diamonds. Faceting is another way to enhance the light performance of zircon and you will often find these stones expertly faceted at various angles.

Other popular shapes for zircon include emerald steps, ovals, rounds, pears, marquises, trilliants, and radiants.

Zircon Clarity

Zircon generally has very high levels of clarity. Most of the zircon on the market is clean to the eyes. However, it is a natural gemstone, and as such, minor flaws and impurities are common, often visible under magnification.

Most zircon gemstones are transparent or translucent and have a vitreous luster. Zircon is sometimes heat treated to improve its transparency. Zircon with higher transparency is more valuable and sought after for jewelry.

Zircon Carat Weight

Most zircon gemstones are found in small sizes. Larger stones are rarer to come by and can command higher prices.

Interestingly, zircon is one of the densest gemstones of all. This means that it will be smaller than another gemstone of the same weight as it is much heavier. If you compare the weight of a zircon and a diamond of the same size, you will find that the zircon weighs about 50% more than the diamond.

zircon stone price

Although some varieties of zircon are much rarer than diamonds, the price of these stones is generally much less expensive. This means that you can get an amazing stone at a good price, making zircon a great choice for jewelry.

Zircon can cost anywhere from $50 to $400 per carat, depending on the quality factors of the stone. You will need to evaluate the stone and make sure it is worth the asking price.

It’s best to compare zircon prices from different suppliers before you buy, to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Zircon Vs Diamonds

As we have already mentioned a couple of times, zircon is a famous diamond simulant and is the only naturally occurring gemstone that is so similar in appearance. to diamonds. Distinguishing a high-quality, well-cut zirconia from a good diamond can be very difficult to do.

The main distinguishing feature between zircons and diamonds is the double refraction exhibited by zirconium. Diamonds are separately refractive.

Because zircons are much less expensive than diamonds, they are an excellent natural substitute.

Zircon vs Cubic Zirconia

Most people confuse zirconium with cubic zirconium (CZ). This confusion is understandable; after all, both stones look a lot like diamonds and share a very similar-sounding name. But that’s where the similarity ends.

Zircon and cubic zirconia are two very different gemstones. Chemically, optically, and structurally, zirconium and cubic zirconia share no similarities.

Unfortunately for zircon, this confusion with a cheaper diamond substitute has affected its reputation, causing it to appear as a cheap alternative to diamond as well.

Here are some of the main differentiating factors between cubic zirconia and zircon:


Zircon is a naturally mined gemstone and is over 4.4 billion years old. Natural cubic zirconia, on the other hand, was discovered relatively recently (around the 1930s) and later synthesized. All CZ on the market is synthetic, meaning it is man-made in labs using technology.


Zirconium is a composition of zirconium silicate, while CZ is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide.


While there are many factors that go into the value of a zircon, zircon is more expensive than cubic zirconia, one of the cheapest diamond simulants out there. Also, being a natural gemstone, zircon is more valuable.

hardness and durability

Cubic zirconia has a high hardness rating of 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale. This makes it a suitable stone for everyday wear and capable of withstanding rough wear and tear. Zircon, on the other hand, is a much softer gemstone with a range between 6 and 7.5. It is a brittle stone and can be easily scratched or chipped if exposed.

CZ is an excellent choice if you want an affordable stone with high wearability. Zircon is more of a collector’s choice, a beautiful gemstone to add to your jewelry collection and admire. To read more about zirconium vs. cubiz zirconia, check out our article here:

Zircon in jewelry

This stone is beautiful for both men’s and women’s jewelry because it has a variety of shades to choose from. Colored zircon adds that perfect splash of color to your outfit and can energize your wardrobe.

Because of its stunning hues and flashes of color, a little zircon can go a long way. If you want an eye-catching look, choose large CZ jewelry. However, for everyday casual and work wear, a small, delicate zirconia will be ideal.

Zircon is durable enough for regular wear and, due to its relative affordability, makes excellent jewelry.

For a zircon ring, it is recommended that you choose a protection setting, such as bezel or recessed, to extend the life of the stone. You must use it carefully to avoid damage (more on this below).

For pendants or earrings, this is less important, as these items don’t face as much exposure as rings.