Although Zircon's existence predates Cubic Zirconia by centuries, Zircon is often unfairly confused with Cubic Zirconia. Cubic Zirconia is a cheap, synthetic diamond substitute that resembles colorless Zircon and has a similar sounding name. While Zircon may also be used as a Diamond substitute, it is valuable in its own right.
The fire in Zircon, called dispersion, is caused by light entering the gemstone and separating into a prism of rainbow colors. Possessing dispersion approaching that of diamond, the brilliance of Zircon is second to none. The Zircon Cut, a variation of the Brilliant Cut that adds eight extra facets to the pavilion, was designed to take advantage of these properties.
Zircon is mined in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. In fact, deposits of Zircon have even been found on the moon. Cambodia is arguably the world’s premiere source for gorgeous Zircon. Sixty-three miles North of Angkor Wat, close to the Cambodian-Thai border, lay the mines of Preah Vihear, the source of some of the world’s finest Blue Zircon. Remote, primitive and stunningly beautiful, Ratanakiri is another major center for Cambodian Zircon. Ratanakiri literally means “Gemstone Mountain”. South of the city a mining camp has been carved from the forest, where workers toil to extract Blue Zircon from narrow mine shafts that tap into an alluvial layer about 15 feet below the surface.