[ zur-kon ]
/ ˈzɜr kɒn /
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a common mineral, zirconium silicate, ZrSiO4, occurring in small tetragonal crystals or grains of various colors, usually opaque: used as a refractory when opaque and as a gem when transparent.
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Origin of zircon

1785–95; <German Zirkon;see jargon2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does zircon mean?

Zircon is a common mineral whose colorless, transparent variety is used as a gemstone.

Zircon is most often opaque and can be reddish-brown, gray, green, or blue (the color of blue varieties is produced through heat treatment). Reddish-orange zircon is called hyacinth. A rare variety of zircon that can be yellowish, smoky, or colorless is called jargon. Some of zircon’s opaque varieties have practical applications, such as a refractory material for furnaces.

Zircon is sometimes called zirconium silicate and is the principal source of the metallic element zirconium.

Zircon is categorized as a semiprecious stone, which is a classification used for stones considered to have a lower value than those deemed precious.

Due to its similarity, zircon is sometimes used as a substitute for diamonds, which are much more expensive. It should not be confused with cubic zirconia, an artificially manufactured stone that is also used as a diamond substitute.

Zircon is one of the December birthstones. It is associated with the zodiac signs Sagitarrius and Capricorn.

Example: I didn’t want diamonds in my engagement ring, but I like a clear, natural stone, so I chose zircon.

Where does zircon come from?

The first records of the word zircon in English come from the late 1700s. It comes from the German Zirkon, from the French jargon, from the Persian zargūn, meaning “gold-colored.”

Zircon is found around the world. It occurs in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, and is especially found in sand. Zircon typically occurs in small crystals.

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What are some synonyms for zircon?

  • hyacinth (a reddish-orange variety of zircon)
  • jargon (a yellowish, smoky, or colorless variety of zircon)

What are some words that share a root or word element with zircon

What are some words that often get used in discussing zircon?

What are some words zircon may be commonly confused with?


How is zircon used in real life?

Transparent zircon is used as a substitute for diamonds, but artificial cubic zirconia is more popular as a diamond substitute.



Try using zircon!

True or False?

The blue variety of zircon used as a gemstone gets its color from being heat treated.

How to use zircon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for zircon

/ (ˈzɜːkɒn) /

a reddish-brown, grey, green, blue, or colourless hard mineral consisting of zirconium silicate in tetragonal crystalline form with hafnium and some rare earths as impurities. It occurs principally in igneous rocks and is an important source of zirconium, zirconia, and hafnia: it is used as a gemstone and a refractory. Formula: ZrSiO 4

Word Origin for zircon

C18: from German Zirkon, from French jargon, via Italian and Arabic, from Persian zargūn golden
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for zircon

[ zûrkŏn′ ]

A brown, reddish to bluish, gray, green, or colorless tetragonal mineral that occurs in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, and especially in sand. The colorless varieties are valued as gems. Chemical formula: ZrSiO4.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.