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The Heating Process of Cambodian Zircon


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Here's something interesting!⁠⠀
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These 3 stones are all the same thing- Cambodian Zircon⁠⠀
The stone on the left is how they look out of the ground - a dark coffee color with very little consumer interest.⁠⠀
The middle stone is the deep ocean blue this material is famous for and is why it is considered the "king of zircon."⁠⠀
This blue color is achieved by starving the rough of oxygen during the heating process- something called a "reduced oxygen burn." It is done by grinding up charcoal (or other mediums) and then placing the rough and the charcoal into a crucible for heating. ⁠⠀
Scroll down to see some short videos of this material being heated in Cambodia- it's pretty wild! 
Sometimes the reduced oxygen burn doesn't achieve the desired results. On occasion, a stone doesn't change color or the color it changes to isn't much better than what it started out as. When this happens, the zircon is heated like any regular zircon- in an oxygen rich environment. This is to say in a regular kiln or even over an open flame. The point is oxygen is allowed to mix with the stone's trace elements and the resulting color is completely different. ⁠
Thanks for reading!