There is some confusion about the definitions of zircon and zirconium. In fact, everything is very simple: the first is a mineral used in the jewelry industry, the second is an ordinary metal.
Zircon is a mineral that belongs to the subgroup of island silicates. It is a zirconium silicate whose chemical formula looks like ZrSiO4. In other words, it is a mineral that contains zirconium dioxide. Zircon is a transparent, colorless, in some cases pink, golden, bluish or brownish-orange stone, characterized by a strong diamond luster. It was known in ancient times under the names yacinth, hyacinth or yargon. In the modern jewelry industry, varieties of this mineral are actively used. Zircons are outwardly similar to cubic zirconia, but are valued much higher, since they are of natural origin. These minerals are highly resistant to chemical attack, which is why they are often used to study the geological past of the planet.
In search of the origin of the word "zircon" one has to turn to the Arabic language. For example, it contains the word "tsargun", which means "golden" or "golden". The word used to refer to certain colored types of the mineral now known as zircon.
In 1824, a new element was isolated from this mineral - a metal called "zirconium". Until recently, scientists could not determine the physical properties of this substance. Some researchers argued that zirconium is a very brittle and hard metal, whose density is 6, 4, and its melting point is 2350 ° C, others believed that its density corresponds to 6, 1, and its melting point is 1860 ° C. And only after the separation of zirconium in its pure form it was found that this metal is outwardly most similar to steel, has a density of 6.5 (yielding to steel in this parameter), and its melting point corresponds to 1900 ° C. This metal is remarkably amenable to mechanical processing, while under normal conditions it is resistant to water and air.
Zirconium in a number of alloys (in combination with titanium, magnesium, nickel, molybdenum, niobium, and so on) is used as a structural material for aircraft, including rockets. Zirconium and niobium alloys are used to make windings for superconducting magnets. Zircon refractories are actively used in foundries. Zirconium is also used as a rust-resistant material in mechanical engineering. It should also be noted that this metal, unlike zircon, was not used in the jewelry industry.