Umba River Zircon
Considered one of the oldest gemstones of all time, zircon is a popular stone that earns its right place in any gem collection. Umbra River zircon also shines in a rare and extraordinary red, known for its radiance and vigor.
The name zircon is derived from the Arabic "zarkun" meaning red, and the Persian "zar" meaning gold. In reality, zircon appears in a diverse rainbow of colors. Umba River zircon is the red variety of this gemstone, with color ranging from soft pinkish red to intense crimson. Zircon's red variety is considered one of the rarest and most treasured. It is also highly refractive with strong color dispersion, displaying a remarkable brilliance and vivid fire. When light enters the gemstone, it produces a spectrum of colors. These shades are best viewed shortly after sunrise or before sunset, when the light is soft and warm.
Zircon can have an adamantine or diamond-like luster. The red zircon displays distinct pleochroism, meaning it appears different colors when viewed from different angles. Red zircon shifts for purplish red to reddish brown. A small piece of zircon found in Western Australia has the distinction of being one of the oldest known objects on earth, and it has been dated at 4.4 billion years old. Most diamonds only date back 3.3 billion years.
- In the Indian tale of the Kalpa tree, Hindu poets spoke of a radiant tree with leaves made of zircon.
- The Bible called zircon jacinth, for its red variety, and dubbed it one of the "stones of fire" which were bestowed to Moses and set in the breastplate of Aaron. It was one of 12 gemstones placed in the foundation of the city walls of Jerusalem.
- Earlier civilizations related zircon to the dwarf planet Pluto. They believed it helped sleep, brought fortune and encouraged pride and prudence in its host.
- Italian artisans began showcasing zircon in jewelry pieces during the 16th century.
- According to Jewish legend, Zircon was the name of the guardian angel assigned to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
- Zircon is associated with innocence. It brings inner peace, wisdom, honor and fortune to its host.
- Crystal healers use zircon to treat bronchial and respiratory disease, including asthma, cold and cough.
LOCATION: Umba River Valley, Tanzania
Zircon deposits have been found in Australia, Burma, Cambodia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. However, the Umba River Valley in Northeast Tanzania produces the coveted red variety of zircon. This river valley is also home to some of the highest quality sapphire, ruby, emerald, tourmaline and tanzanite. The demand for these gemstones, including zircon is rapidly depleting resources, adding to their rarity.
- Ranks 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
- Colors ranges from soft pinkish red to intense crimson.
- Member of the Zircon family.
- Also known as azorite, circone, ostranite, tachyaphaltite, lycurite, turmali, oesterdite and zirconite.
- Birthstone for December.
- 100 percent natural stone; no additional treatments.