What’s the difference between zircon and cubic zirconia? Discover the real deal between these two similar gemstones plus the healing properties of zircon.
What Is Zircon Gemstone?
Zircon is a type of brown gemstone in sedimentary rocks, igneous rocks, and metamorphic rocks. Humans have been using this gemstone for over two millennia, much like gold and classic precious stones like sapphires and rubies. In modern times, the zircon is considered the modern birthstone for people who were born in December. Zircon is notable for having the brilliance and fire akin to the diamond.
Zircon is often found in different granitic rock types and can be mined from gneisses and other host rocks of metamorphic origin.
Zircon is much like quartz – it is abundant and familiar, but it is often overlooked in favor of more expensive or highly valued gemstones in zircon. Like diamonds and other hardy minerals, even crushed zircon, after much weathering, will resist chemical change despite exposure to heat, chemicals, deposition, and other modes of geological weathering and upheavals. In short, it is one of the toughest minerals you will encounter in the mineral world.
Though zircon is not as durable as diamonds or rubies, it still presents a formidable hardness and is ideal for jewelry worn on the wrist or hands. You won’t have to worry about cracking or damaging your zircon jewelry unless extreme pressure or force is applied to them.
What Colors of Zircon Exist?
The most common colors of zircon are brown, yellow, or red. There are instances also when zircon naturally occurs in green, blue, grey, and even colorless zircon.
Zircon produces a colorless streak and is often more durable or more rigid than the streak plate. Unlike other gemstones, zircon can have different kinds of luster, from adamantite to oily. There are also vitreous zircon specimens.
It scores a six to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Zircon naturally occurs in many beautiful colors, so it’s no surprise that it is commonly used to produce modern jewelry.
The color of zircon can be changed through conventional methods such as heating and irradiation. The most sought after color, however, is blue. It is estimated that about eighty percent of all mass-market or commercial jewelry on the market with zircon is blue. Interestingly enough, much of the blue zircon being sold today are artificially treated to produce the deep blue that so many people like. The blue zircons are produced by heat-treating or irradiating brown zircons. The heating is extreme – temperatures in the forge can reach up to 1000°C.
Keep in mind that it’s not safe to expose irradiated or heat-treated zircons in tanning salons. For example, if you expose a blue zircon to a portable UV lamp used to harden nail polish in salons, the blue zircon can quickly degrade to brown zircon with such short exposure.
This is also why jewelers tend to remind people not to expose their precious or semiprecious stones to natural sunlight for long periods. The UVA and UVB frequencies of natural sunlight can decay the natural color of gemstones.
What Is Cubic Zirconia (CZ)?
Cubic zirconia is a synthetic or lab-grown mineral used as a diamond simulant. It can be found in nature, but not in quantities needed for commercial production of jewelry. That’s why, for the most part, cubic zirconia is created in laboratory conditions to ensure consistency of quality and quantity. It is inexpensive compared to real diamonds, and they are naturally beautiful, with brilliance to match real diamonds.
How Are They Used as Diamond Substitute?
The process of creating cubic zirconia begins with heating zirconium oxide powder. This powder is combined with stabilizing agents like calcium and magnesium. The mixture is then super-heated for several hours at temperatures exceeding 5000°C. After the heating process, the crystals will begin to form, and the resulting hard mineral is then processed for mass-market jewelry.
Remember that there are differences in how cubic zirconia is made, and laboratories have their methods, depending on their specialization. Of course, the end-point of all the efforts is to produce a diamond simulant that would be worth people’s money.
What Is The Difference Between Zircon And CZ?
Zircon vs. Cubic Zirconia
There is plenty of confusion between cubic zirconia and zircon. The names don’t help because they both have “zircon” in their trade names.
To clarify, the chemical name of zircon is zirconium oxide. The chemical name of cubic zirconia is zirconium silicate.
They can’t be the same because their chemical compositions are different.
The second significant difference is that zircon occurs naturally and is mined regularly in different countries. As we have mentioned earlier, cubic zirconia does not occur in sufficient quantities in nature to be mined commercially, so laboratories synthesize them. Both these gemstones can be used as diamond simulants because they are physically alike.
What Is the Healing Properties of Zircon?
Zircon has various healing properties that address various aspects of human existence.
Brown zircon is naturally grounding and is best for meditation. It can also help address persistent headaches and migraines. Use it to ward away stress-related headaches. This will help in improving your sleeping pattern as well.
Colorless zircon has a powerful cleansing ability. You can use colorless zircon to improve the state of your aura. Your aura may be contaminated with external negative energies. It needs to be cleansed by a powerful crystal to bring it back to its pristine state.
Yellow zircon is a love zircon and sleeping aid. Put yellow zircon on your bedside table to improve your sleeping hygiene. It will help cleanse the space and improve your sleeping routine. Bring yellow zircon everywhere with you to help attract the right partner or mate. This type of zircon is also capable of improving your decision-making capabilities.
Red zircon can be used as a physical healing gemstone. It is especially important for healing ear infections and associated issues in the same system.