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About ZirconHide

May contain minor U, Th, Pb, Hf, Y/REE, P, and others.
As a Commodity:
Colourless, yellow, grey, reddish-brown, green, brown, black
Adamantine, Vitreous, Greasy
Specific Gravity:
4.6 - 4.7
Crystal System:
Member of:
Renamed in 1783 by Abraham Gottlob Werner from the Arabic (and, in turn, from the Persian "azargun") "zar", gold, plus "gun", coloured, referring to one of the many colours that the mineral may display. Originally named λυγκύριον "lyncurion" in ~300 BCE by Theophrastus. A mineral that may have been today's zircon was called chrysolithos by Pliny in 37. Called jacinth by Georgius Agricola in 1555. Mentioned as jargon by Axel Cronstedt in 1758. Called hyacinte by Barthelemy Faujas de Saint-Fond in 1772. Numerous later synonyms have been advanced.
Dimorph of:
Zircon Group. The zirconium analogue of Thorite and Hafnon. Zircon-Hafnon Series. The low-pressure dimorph of Reidite.

Zircon, zirconium orthosilicate, is found in most igneous rocks and some metamorphic rocks as small crystals or grains, mostly widely distributed and rarely more than 1% of the total mass of the rock. It is also found as alluvial grains in some sedimentary rocks due to its high hardness. Zircon has a high refraction index and, when the crystals are large enough, is often used as a gemstone.
In geology, zircon is used for radiometric dating of zircon-bearing rocks (using isotopes of U which is often present as an impurity element, as is Th, radiogenic Pb, Hf, Y, P, and others).

Compare 'UM1984-36-SiO:CaNaZr'.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Zircon.

Classification of ZirconHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
A : Nesosilicates
D : Nesosilicates without additional anions; cations in [6] and/or greater coordination

51 : NESOSILICATES Insular SiO4 Groups Only
5 : Insular SiO4 Groups Only with cations in >[6] coordination

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
10 : Silicates of Zr or Hf

Pronounciation of ZirconHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of ZirconHide

Adamantine, Vitreous, Greasy
Transparent, Translucent, Opaque
Greasy when metamict
Colourless, yellow, grey, reddish-brown, green, brown, black
7½ on Mohs scale
Indistinct on {110}{111}
4.6 - 4.7 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.714 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of ZirconHide

Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.925 - 1.961 nε = 1.980 - 2.015
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.055
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High
Very strong

Chemical Properties of ZirconHide


May contain minor U, Th, Pb, Hf, Y/REE, P, and others.
Common Impurities:

Age distributionHide

Recorded ages:
Basin Groups to Quaternary : 4348 ± 3 Ma to 0.0003 Ma - based on 2,032 recorded ages.

Crystallography of ZirconHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) - Ditetragonal Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 6.607(1) Å, c = 5.982(1) Å
a:c = 1 : 0.905
Unit Cell V:
261.13 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Tabular to square prismatic or tetragonal-dipyramidal crystals.
On {101}
May be partly or fully metamict, especially U-/Th-rich crystals. Metamictisation leads to an enlarged unit cell.

Crystallographic forms of ZirconHide

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Zircon no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.24 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.66 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.81 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.97 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.133 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon no.137 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Zircon - {100}, {301}, {101}
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Edge Lines | Miller Indices | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
Powder Diffraction Data:
4.434 Å(45)
3.302 Å(100)
2.518 Å(45)
2.066 Å(20)
1.908 Å(14)
1.712 Å(40)
1.651 Å(14)

Geological EnvironmentHide

Geological Setting:
An accessory mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Synonyms of ZirconHide

Other Language Names for ZirconHide

Varieties of ZirconHide

AlviteA metamict, often Hf-rich variety of Zircon from granite pegmatites.
Original analysis (1855) of material from several localities in Aust-Agder, Norway, shows major Si, Y, Th, Al, Fe, Zr and H2O. Later analysis cited by Clark (1993) shows Zr, Be and/or F...
ArshinoviteA micro-granular, earthy, usually light-colored (white) Zircon of sedimentary origin. Usually mentioned in sodic lakes sediments and caperocks of salt domes. Often Arshinovites are extremely depleted in Hf, and by this reason able to be used for productio...
AuerbachiteMorphological variety of Zircon.
Originally described by Morozevich from Mariupol' Massif (Oktyabr'skii), Azov Sea Region, Donetsk Oblast', Ukraine.
BeccariteA variety of Zircon containing optical anomalies.
CalyptoliteShown to be an altered zircon by Shepard (1857).
ChernobyliteAn anthropogenic (technogenic) variety, formed due to the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor no. 4, found within the "corium" ("lava"-like material) of the so-called elephant foot structure. Zr and U are from fuel elements. Contains anomalously much uraniu...
CyrtoliteCyrtolite is a hydrous Th+U bearing zircon (up to 27 mas.% of sum). It sometimes occurs with curved, rounded crystals.
Hafnian ZirconA hafnium-bearing variety of zircon with insufficient hafnium to constitute hafnon.
HagataliteVariety of zircon containing Nb, Ta, Th and rare earths. Contains more rare earths and less zirconium than Naegite q.v.
HyacinthYellow-red to red-brown gem variety of zircon.
JargoonUsual nontransparent (not gem quality) Zircon. Obsolete term.
MalaconMalacon is an altered hydrated Zircon with curved, rounded crystals. An alternative spelling is "Malakon"
Matura DiamondA misnomer for colourless zircon.
NaegiteGreenish grey to greenish brown anhedral grains, crude crystals or spheroidal aggregates. Originally mis-described as a new U-Th-silicate, without having analyzed for Zr, but within a year it was found to really be a Y-Th-U-rich variety of zircon (or "cyr...
OerstediteSpelling variant of Œrstedtite.
Varietal name used by Forchhammer (1835) for a metamict/altered zircon from Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway (see also Clark, 1993 - "Hey's Mineral Index").
OerstedtiteVarietal name used by Forchhammer (1835) for a metamict zircon from Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway.
OrvilliteAn altered zircon.
Originally reported from Poços de Caldas, Minas Gerais, Southeast Region, Brazil.
OyamaliteREE- and P-rich variety of zircon.
RibeiriteAn yttrian hydrous Zircon.
Originally reported from Macarani, Bahia, Northeast Region, Brazil.
StarliteBlue variety of zircon.
Uraniferous ZirconAn U-bearing zircon (may or may not correspond to Cyrtolite, which does not necessarily contain U).
YamaguchiliteA REE- & P-rich variety of Zircon.

Relationship of Zircon to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
CoffiniteU(SiO4) · nH2OTet.
HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
ReiditeZrSiO4Tet. 4/m : I41/a
Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
107 photos of Zircon associated with QuartzSiO2
106 photos of Zircon associated with AegirineNaFe3+Si2O6
88 photos of Zircon associated with MicroclineK(AlSi3O8)
47 photos of Zircon associated with TitaniteCaTi(SiO4)O
46 photos of Zircon associated with AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)
42 photos of Zircon associated with OrthoclaseK(AlSi3O8)
40 photos of Zircon associated with Feldspar Group
38 photos of Zircon associated with DiopsideCaMgSi2O6
37 photos of Zircon associated with UraniniteUO2
32 photos of Zircon associated with Smoky QuartzSiO2

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

9.AD.AdrianiteCa12(Al4Mg3Si7)O32Cl6Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.05LarniteCa2SiO4Mon. 2/m
9.AD.10Calcio-olivineCa2SiO4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
9.AD.15MerwiniteCa3Mg(SiO4)2Mon. 2/m : P21/b
9.AD.25AndraditeCa3Fe3+2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25AlmandineFe2+3Al2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25GrossularCa3Al2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25HenritermieriteCa3(Mn3+,Al)2(SiO4)2(OH)4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/acd
9.AD.25HibschiteCa3Al2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4xIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25KatoiteCa3Al2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4x (x = 1.5-3)Iso.
9.AD.25SpessartineMn2+3Al2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25UvaroviteCa3Cr2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25Wadalite(Ca,Mg)6(Al,Fe3+)4((Si,Al)O4)3O4Cl3Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.25HoltstamiteCa3(Al,Mn3+)2(SiO4)2(OH)4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/acd
9.AD.25KerimasiteCa3Zr2(SiO4)(Fe3+O4)2Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25ToturiteCa3Sn2(SiO4)(Fe3+O4)2Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25Momoiite(Mn2+,Ca)3V3+2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25EringaiteCa3Sc2(SiO4)3Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.25EltyubyuiteCa12Fe3+10Si4O32Cl6Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.25HutcheoniteCa3Ti2(SiAl2)O12Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Ia3d
9.AD.30CoffiniteU(SiO4) · nH2OTet.
9.AD.30HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
9.AD.30Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
9.AD.40EulytineBi4(SiO4)3Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
9.AD.45ReiditeZrSiO4Tet. 4/m : I41/a

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd · nH2OTet.,U)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4xTet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

14.10.2HafnonHfSiO4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
14.10.5VlasoviteNa2ZrSi4O11Mon. 2/m : B2/b
14.10.6Keldyshite(Na,H)2ZrSi2O7Tric. 1 : P1
14.10.7GaidonnayiteNa2Zr(Si3O9) · 2H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pmna
14.10.8TerskiteNa4ZrSi6O16 · 2H2OOrth.
14.10.9ElpiditeNa2ZrSi6O15 · 3H2OOrth.
14.10.10HilairiteNa2Zr[SiO3]3 · 3H2OTrig.
14.10.11PetarasiteNa5Zr2(Si6O18)(Cl,OH) · 2H2OMon. 2/m : P21/m
14.10.15KostyleviteK2Zr(Si3O9) · H2OMon.
14.10.16UmbiteK2(Zr,Ti)Si3O9 · H2OOrth.
14.10.17ParaumbiteK3Zr2H(Si3O9)2 · nH2OOrth.
14.10.18GeorgechaoiteNaKZr[Si3O9] · 2H2OOrth. mm2
14.10.20CalciocatapleiiteCaZr(Si3O9) · 2H2O
14.10.21CalciohilairiteCaZr[SiO3]3 · 3H2OTrig.
14.10.22ArmstrongiteCaZr[Si6O15] · 3H2OMon.
14.10.23Lemoynite(Na,K)2CaZr2Si10O26 · 5H2OMon. 2/m : B2/b
14.10.24CatapleiiteNa2Zr(Si3O9) · 2H2OMon.
14.10.26LovozeriteNa2Ca(Zr,Ti)(Si6O12)[(OH)4O2] · H2OMon.
14.10.27Låvenite(Na,Ca)2(Mn2+,Fe2+)(Zr,Ti)(Si2O7)(O,OH,F)2Mon. 2/m : P21/b
14.10.28PenkvilksiteNa4Ti2Si8O22 · 4H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
14.10.29DarapiositeK(Na,◻,K)2(Li,Zn,Fe)3(Mn,Zr,Y)2[Si12O30]Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P6/mcc
14.10.31KomkoviteBaZr[Si3O9] · 3H2OTrig.

Fluorescence of ZirconHide

Many zircons are fluorescent, but some (mainly metamict ones) are not. Fluorescent zircon, from dull to bright in intensity, shows shades of yellow, golden-yellow and yellow-brown (SW UV). This property is often diagnostic in identification.

Other InformationHide

Thermal Behaviour:
Health Risks:
U- and Th-bearing zircon is radioactive. Gemstones should be tested for radioactivity before being worn on or near the body.

Zircon in petrologyHide

References for ZirconHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Werner, A.G. (1783) in Romé de l'Isle - Cristallographie, 2nd ed., Paris, 2, 229.
Trofimov, A.K. (1962) The luminescence spectrum of zircon. Geochemistry: 1962: 1102-1108.
Grünenfelder, M., Hofmänner, F., and Grögler, N. (1964) Heterogenität akzessorischer Zirkone und die petrographische Beurteilung ihrer Uran/Blei-Zerfallsalter. II. Präkambrische Zirkonbildung im Gotthardmassiv. Schweizerische mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen: 44: 543-558.
Nunes, P.D. and Steiger, P.H. (1974) A U-Pb zircon, and Rb-Sr and U-Th-Pb whole-rock study of a polymetamorphic terrane in the Central Alps, Switzerland. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 47: 255-280.
Hazen, R.M. and Finger, L.W. (1979) Crystal structure and compressibility of zircon at high pressure. American Mineralogist: 64: 196.
Pupin, J.P. (1980) Zircon and granite petrology. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 73: 207-220.
Bossart, P.J., Meier, M., Oberli, F., and Steiger, R.H. (1986) Morphology versus U-Pb systematics in zircon: a high-resolution isotopic study of a zircon population from a Variscan dike in the Central Alps. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 78: 339-354.
Hinton, R.W.; Upton, B.G.J. (1991): The chemistry of zircon: Variation within and between large crystals from syenite and alkali basalt xenoliths. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 55, 3287–3302.
Watson, E.B. and Cherniak, D.J. (1997) Oxygen diffusion in zircon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 148: 527-544.
Hoskin, P.W.O. (1998): Minor and trace element analysis of natural zircon (ZrSiO4) by SIMS and laser ablation ICPMS: A consideration and comparison of two broadly competitive techniques. J. Trace Microprobe Tech., 16, 301–326.
Cheney, J., Schumacher, J.C., Coath, C.D., Brady, J.B., DiFilippo, E.L., Argyrou, E.N., Otis, J.W., Sperry, A.J., Sable, J.E., and Skemer, P.A. (2000) Ion microprobe ages of zircons from blueschists, Syros, Greece. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 32 pg. A152.
Wang, R.C., Zhao, G.T., Lu, J.J., Chen, X.M., Xu, S.J., and Wang, D.Z. (2000) Chemistry of Hf-rich zircons from the Laoshan I- and A-type granites, eastern China. Mineralogical Magazine: 64: 867-877.
Parry, W.T., Wilson, P.N., Moser, D., and Heizler, M.T. (2001) U-Pb dating of zircon and 40Ar/39Ar dating of biotite at Bingham, Utah. Economic Geology: 96: 1671-1683.
Gucsik, A., Koeberl, Ch, Brandstätter, F., Reimold, W.U., and Libowitzky, E. (2002) Cathodoluminescence, electron microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy of shock-metamorphosed zircon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 202: 495-509.
Valley, J. (2003) Oxygen isotopes in zircon. Rev. Mineral. Geochem.: 53: 343-385.
Hoskin, P.W.O.; Schaltegger, J.M. (2003): The composition of zircon and igneous and metamorphic petrogenesis. Rev. Mineral. Geochem. 53, 27-62.
Zhang, A.C., Wang, R.C., Hu, H., Zhang, H., Zhu, J.C., and Chen, X.M. (2004) Chemical evolution of Nb-Ta oxides and zircon from the Koktokay no. 3 granitic pegmatite, Altai, northwestern China. Mineralogical Magazine: 68(5): 739-756.
Ulf Kempe, Sylvia-Monique Thomas, Gerhard Geipel, Rainer Thomas, Michael Plötze, Rolf Böttcher, Genia Grambole, Joachim Hoentsch, and Michael Trinkler (2010) Optical absorption, luminescence, and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of crystalline to metamict zircon: Evidence for formation of uranyl, manganese, and other optically active centers. Am. Mineral. 95, 335-347.
Roszjar, J., Whitehouse, M.J., and Bischoff, A. (2014) Meteoritic zircon – Occurrence and chemical characteristics. Chemie der Erde - Geochemistry: 74: 453-469.
Lenz, C., Nasdala, L., Talla, D., Hauzenberger, H., Seitz, R., and Kolitsch, U. (2015) Laser-induced REE3+ photoluminescence of selected accessory minerals: An “advantageous artefact” in Raman spectroscopy. Chemical Geology: 415: 1-16.
Ulf Kempe, Michael Trinkler, Andreas Pöppl, and Cameliu Himcinschi (2016) Coloration of natural zircon. Canadian Mineralogist, 54, 635-660.
Grüneberger, M., Schmidt, C., Jahn, S., Rhede, D., Loges, A., and Wilke, M. (2016) Interpretation of Raman spectra of the zircon-hafnon solid solution. European Journal of Mineralogy, 28, 721-731.
Vaczi, T. and Nasdala, L. (2017) Electron-beam-induced annealing of natural zircon: a Raman spectroscopic study. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 44 (2017), doi:10.1007/s00269-016-0866-x

Internet Links for ZirconHide

Localities for ZirconHide

This map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.

Locality ListShow

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