Ratanakiri Blue Zircon

| 3 min read

The Zircon that we have sourced from Ratanakiri in Cambodia is some of the finest the world has to offer, with exceptional clarity and a beautiful array of colour.

This material gives the wearer an unprecedented amount of dispersion and fire but with the Ratanakiri blue this fire is partnered with the most in-demand colour in the gemstone world.

The historic location of Ratanakiri is without any major roads and is virtually inaccessible (especially in the rainy season) by the outside world. The region is one of the most beautiful and undeveloped areas in Cambodia, where electricity and running water are almost non-existent. It is also one of the few places on Earth where traditional tribes still exist, cut off from the outside world.

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Although their numbers are decreasing, it is estimated that some 60,000 tribespeople still reside in its tree-topped hills. Other than subsistence farming, gemstone mining is one of the few commercial activities to take place in the region and these locals form small cooperatives so that they can all share in the spoils of their rare resources.

One of the reasons the gem has such amazing brilliance is that it is doubly refractive (also known as birefringence). As light enters the gem, it splits in two and effectively the facets on the pavilion act like a wall of mirrors, sending its double rays in different directions. When you combine this with the fact that it has an adamantine lustre, you begin to realise why it is often confused with Diamonds. However if this stone was marketed to the same extent of Diamonds it is said that the world’s supply of Zircon would be depleted within 12 months.

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Zircon is also said to be the oldest gem on earth and is far older than even the most ancient Diamond! In 1984, Dr Simon Wilde (a university professor) discovered a sparkling Zircon while searching for gold in the Jack Hills of Western Australia. Four years later Wilde met up with another professor, John Valley, and together they performed a series of scientific tests on the Zircon and were able to ascertain that it was an incredible 4.27 billion years old! Later they tested other Zircons from Wilde’s collection; using a £1.5 million spectrometer, they were amazed to find one specimen that was formed 4.4 billion years ago. This result contradicted other scientists’ research, who previously thought the Earth was younger. Thus, after Valley and Wilde’s Zircon discovery, scientists now believe the earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago, making Zircon the oldest gemstone on the planet.

One last thought on Zircon; next time you are wearing a piece of Ratanakiri Blue Zircon and its stunning sparkle or dispersion catches someone’s eye, be sure to pass on the news that you are in possession of a piece of history. Right there on your finger is a crystal that possibly started its journey at the same time as Earth first started to spin.

Find your perfect piece of Ratanakiri Zircon here.

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