A to Z 2022, Blog

Z is for Zircon – #atozchallenge

Z is for Zircon

Zircon is a naturally occuring mineral formed from the chemical compound zirconium silicate. In its natural state it is clear but impurities give it a range of color. I just love that impurities can make something so beautiful.

Zircons are often used as a substitute for diamonds. It is the only gem that has the same brilliance and fire of a diamond and the untrained eye most likely could not tell the difference. The two major differences are 1) a diamond is a single refractive stone and a zircon is a double refractive stone and 2) a zircon has a Mohs hardness of 7.5 compared to the 10 of a diamond. After a period of time and wear, a zircon could lose the sharpness of the facets which would not occur with a diamond.

The most valuable zircons are either colorless, brown, blue. This specimen in the collection of the Smithsonian is a beautiful blue.

Courtesy of the Smithsonian under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License

There are a number of industrial uses for zircon. More than half of the zircon mined today ย is used in the ceramics industry. There are also chemical derivatives such as zirconia and zirconium. Their uses span the fields of nuclear energy, gas purification, cosmetics, and in the manufacture of cubic zirconias (another diamond substitute).

This post wraps up my first ever A to Z Challenge. It has been fun, but quite a ride. I have learned a lot and I hope you picked up a few things along the way. It has been my pleasure to have you take this journey with me!



34 thoughts on “Z is for Zircon – #atozchallenge”

  1. This has been a fun journey, Maggie. I think I got them all, and I know I enjoyed learning about things almost entirely new to me. Congratulations on a job well done. Now you can sit back and breathe. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dan. Now I am playing catch up as best I can. It was an interesting journey for sure. Have you done A to Z in the past? I would enjoy reading about tools or woodworking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have not. I have planned to do it about tools, but I’m not sure there’s enough interest. I’m thinking about a series of under 2-min videos that I would put up on YouTube for people who are interested, but that wouldn’t replace my blog posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time I see the word ‘Zirco’, I am transported back to Frank Zappa’s 1973 song, ‘Montana’.
    “Zircon-encrusted tweezers…”
    Song by Frank Zappa
    I might be movin’ to Montana soon
    Just to raise me up a crop of
    Dental Floss
    Raisin’ it up
    Waxen it down
    In a little white box
    I can sell uptown
    By myself I wouldn’t
    Have no boss,
    But I’d be raisin’ my lonely
    Dental Floss
    Raisin’ my lonely
    Dental Floss
    Well I just might grow me some bees
    But I’d leave the sweet stuff
    To somebody else . . . but then, on the other hand I would
    Keep the wax
    N’ melt it down
    Pluck some Floss
    N’ swish it aroun’
    I’d have me a crop
    An’ it’d be on top (that’s why I’m movin’ to Montana)
    Movin’ to Montana soon
    Gonna be a Dental Floss tycoon (yes I am)
    Movin’ to Montana soon
    Gonna be a mennil-toss flykune
    I’m gonna find me a horse
    Just about this big
    An’ ride him all along the border line
    With a
    Pair of heavy-duty
    Zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
    Every other wrangler would say
    I was mighty grand
    By myself I wouldn’t
    Have no boss
    But I’d be raisin’ my lonely
    Dental Floss
    Raisin’ my lonely
    Dental Floss
    Raisin’ my lonely
    Dental Floss
    Well I might
    Ride along the border
    With my tweezers gleamin’
    In the moon-lighty night
    And then I’d
    Get a cuppa cawfee
    N’ give my foot a push . . .
    Just me ‘n the pygmy pony
    Over the Dennil Floss Bush
    N’ then I might just
    Jump back on
    An’ ride
    Like a cowboy
    Into the dawn to Montana
    Movin’ to Montana soon
    Movin’ to Montana soon
    Movin’ to Montana soon
    Movin’ to Montana soon
    Source: Musixmatch
    Songwriters: Frank Zappa
    Montana lyrics ยฉ Munchkin Music Co

    Sorry, couldn’t resist it! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember when I was a kid Mom and Dad had a box of matchbooks that featured gemstones on them, so as you’ve been going through I’ve been remembering those. It’s really amazing how nicely some of these clean up. Even if they’re not worth a whole lot, they still look good.

    First challenge? Congratulations!

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    1. Thatโ€™s interesting. I have never seen match books like that but I would have loved them! I would walk right over some of these minerals and never know what was contained inside. Thank you, John.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the whole series which I either read as they came out or caught up with later. It made me remember how fascinated I was with rocks as a kid and reminded me that it is time Charlie and I took a field trip to the Peabody Museum.

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