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Zircon, often referred to as zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4), is a mineral that is notable for its brilliance, transparency, and wide range of colors. It has several applications in various industries, including jewelry, ceramics, and the nuclear industry. Here are some key points about zircon:

1. Physical Properties:
Zircon is a dense and hard mineral with a high refractive index, making it suitable for use in gemstones. It typically occurs in prismatic crystal forms.

2. Colors:
Zircon occurs in a variety of colors, including colorless, yellow, brown, red, green, blue, and occasionally black. Blue and red varieties are particularly prized as gemstones.

3. Gemstone: :
Blue zircon, in particular, is popular as a gemstone and is known for its brilliance and fire. It is often used in jewelry as a substitute for more expensive blue gemstones like sapphire.

4. Radiometric Dating:
Zircon is valuable in geology for radiometric dating. Zircon crystals often contain small amounts of uranium, which decays into lead at a known rate. By measuring the ratio of uranium to lead in zircon crystals, scientists can determine the age of rocks and minerals with great accuracy.

5. Ceramics:
Zircon is used as a raw material in the production of ceramics, especially in the manufacture of high-performance refractory materials, such as kiln linings and foundry molds.

6. Nuclear Industry:
Zirconium, derived from zircon, is used in the nuclear industry for its excellent resistance to corrosion. It is a key material in the cladding of nuclear fuel rods.

7. Chemical Industry:
Zirconium compounds derived from zircon have various industrial applications, including in catalysts and pigments.

8. Metallurgy:
Zircon is sometimes used as a refractory material in metallurgical processes, such as steel production.

9. Foundry Sand:
Zircon sand is used as a mold and core material in foundry applications due to its high heat resistance and thermal stability.

10. Zirconium Production:
The extraction of zirconium from zircon involves a series of chemical processes. Zircon sand is first processed to remove impurities, and then zirconium is typically obtained by reducing zirconium tetrachloride with magnesium in a high-temperature process.

11. Zircon Deposits:
Zircon is often found in beach sands and alluvial deposits, but it can also occur in igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks.

12. Health Concerns:
It's worth noting that some naturally occurring zircon crystals may contain trace amounts of radioactive elements like uranium and thorium. When used in certain industrial processes, proper safety measures must be taken to limit exposure to radiation.

Zircon is a versatile mineral with a range of industrial applications and is highly valued in the gemstone industry for its beauty and durability. Its ability to provide accurate age dating in geology also makes it an essential tool for understanding Earth's history.

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