Zircon - The Unsung Hero of Gems

November 17, 2017


“Star light, Star bright, First star I see tonight”.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the legendary gem buyer for Tiffany & Co., George Frederik Kunz, attempted to come up with an appealing name for a very beautiful, brilliant gem with the rather ugly name of zircon. He decided because of the stone’s vibrant optical properties that “Starlight” would be a suitable moniker that would hopefully catch on in the jewellery trade. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and zircon was stuck with its unattractive name. Tiffany & Co. had much better success later in the 1960s renaming the purple/blue variety of zoisite as “ Tanzanite”.

To make matters worse for poor zircon, it was used as a diamond substitute during the 1950’s and 60’s to be then superseded by the synthetic gemstone named Cubic Zirconia in the 1970’s and synthetic moissanite in the late 1990’s. Not only was zircon considered a “poor man’s diamond” it was also thought to be synthetic due to the similarity in name to cubic zirconia. Both gems contain zirconium in their formulas: zircon is a naturally occurring zirconium silicate while cubic zirconia is a laboratory created form of zirconium dioxide.

Luckily for gem lovers and collectors, zircon is now finally receiving the admiration it truly deserves. It comes in a wide range of colours including green, blue, colourless, orange, yellow, red, brown and black. Some zircons have a fabulous pinky-brown colour that is very feminine and appealing. Zircon has high dispersion, which means it splits white light into its spectral colours in a similar fashion to diamond, resulting in rainbow-ike flashes. It also has a very high lustre, known as sub-adamantine, which also resembles the lustre of diamond. It has reasonably good hardness at 7.5 on the Mohs scale so it’s suitable for ring settings however it has a brittle tenacity (poor ability to absorb shock) so bezel settings are highly suitable if a zircon ring is to be worn frequently.

World sources include Cambodia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Tanzania, China and Australia. Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth, dating back to 4.4 billion years. Australia is the world leader in zircon mining and the most famous Australian deposit is at Mud Tank Zircon Field in the Harts Range area, Northern Territory. The gem quality zircons found in this location reflect the earthy colours of the landscape and come in golds, Champagnes, pinks, plums, sherry colours and browns. They can be heat treated to become colourless but will not turn blue like the material found in Kampuchea.

The lore surrounding zircon from the Medieval period is that it promoted a good night’s sleep, brought prosperity and enhanced honour and wisdom in its owner. The modern take on the metaphysical properties of zircon is that it grounds one and will work with the chakras to reactivate sluggish energy and will assist you to achieve your aims. A handy stone to have on board!

We at Lizunova hope that you enjoy discovering the delightful properties of zircon and that it will be become part of your jewellery collection. If you would like to view a selection of these sparkling wonders please contact us for an appointment.

Photo Credit: gia.edu

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Ring sizes

We use Australian ring size measurements, which are in an alphabetical range from A-Z.

As your fingers contract and expand due to the temperature, humidity, exercise, etc, your ring will fit on your finger tighter or looser. Your ring should fit comfortably and you need to find a balance between too big and too small. It is recommended that you should have to push your ring on tightly over your knuckle and it should spin slightly around the base of your finger. There should be some resistance when the ring is taken off – this will help to keep the ring on when your fingers are cold or wet. The correct size is the one that you feel the most confident and comfortable with.

We suggest that you size the finger you intend to wear your ring on at room temperature – this should provide you with a size that should be close to perfect most of the time.

Top-heavy rings can tend to spin on your finger, as the base of your finger is usually thinner than your knuckle. We suggest when sizing your finger for a top-heavy ring, that you err on the tighter side, rather than a loose fit. This will mean that the ring will stay on the top of your finger and it will ultimately be more comfortable to wear.

If you’re choosing a wide ring, you will tend to go up a size. There is more surface area on a wider ring and therefore more metal to grip to your finger.

If you are interested in a ring that is 5mm or wider, we suggest going up a size (one size larger than the sizing gauge). We suggest going up another size if the ring you are interested in is 9mm or larger (two sizes larger than the sizing gauge).

If you are buying a ring as a gift for someone, we recommend that you measure the inside diameter of a ring the person you’re buying the gift for, regularly wears on the finger your gift will be worn on.

Measuring your finger

If you do not know your ring size you can use this guide to obtain an approximate measurement.

Before measuring the finger on which the ring you’re purchasing will be worn, please ensure the following:

The number that lines up with edges of the opening is the ‘interior circumference’. Please note this number and then refer to our Ring Size Chart to choose the correct ring size.

Download Ring Size Guide PDF

If you do not know your ring size you can use this guide to obtain an approximate measurement.

If you have a ring that is worn on the finger you need sizing, print out the ring size guide (take care to print it at 100%), and place the existing ring over the circles. Measure the inside of the ring against the outside of the circle. If you can hardly see the black line which goes around each circle, you have chosen the right size. Compare the ring to the adjacent circles to check that you definitely have the right size.

You can then double check this measurement by measuring the inside diameter of the ring, and matching that against the ring diameter measurements shown.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a ring available, you can measure the finger itself to obtain an approximate ring size. You can do so by wrapping a piece of string or thin strip of paper around the finger on which you wish to wear the ring, marking it with a pen where it overlaps. Measure the piece of string with a ruler to obtain the circumference of the finger, and compare that to the European Size measurement shown on the chart. We would recommend that in order to obtain the most accurate measurement when taking your ring size in this way, you do so at the end of the day when the finger is at its largest, and not when your hands are unusually cold as this would lead to a smaller ring size.

If you require any further assistance in obtaining your ring size, please  contact us and we will be happy to help.