blue zircon engagement ring - six-prong settingblue zircon engagement ring - six-prong setting

Zircon Engagement Ring Guide


Zircons are beautiful but delicate gems. Our zircon engagement ring guide will help you pick the right setting for your stone.

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Ready to pop the question to your partner? Need an engagement ring as special as they are? If you want an affordable ring with an unconventional flair, consider using zircon as the featured gemstone. Our zircon engagement ring guide will help you find the right gem and ring setting for your style.

This 14K white gold ring features a showstopping, GIA-graded yellowish orange zircon.
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at Angara

Zircon as a Diamond Lookalike

One of zircon's most spectacular characteristics is its high level of dispersion. Sometimes called "fire," dispersion refers to the multiple flashing points of color that seem to come from within a well-cut gemstone. Zircons also have a high refractive index. For these reasons, jewelers used colorless zircons as diamond lookalikes before other diamond lookalikes and synthetics became popular and affordable. If you want a natural gemstone that can rival the look of a diamond, consider a colorless zircon engagement ring.

colorless zircon engagement ring
Colorless zircons can approximate the look of diamonds, but the imitation isn't always perfect. The 3.21-ct, near-colorless zircon in this 14K white gold ring has a "fuzzy" appearance. Some zircons may show this effect due to their birefringence. Diamond has no birefringence and doesn't appear "fuzzy." Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and DuMouchelles.

Colors for Your Zircon Engagement Ring

However, zircons aren't just diamond lookalikes. They are beautiful gems in their own right and come in many colors, including red, brown, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Regardless of body color, well-cut zircons can still come to life with a wonderful display of dispersion as long as the color isn't too dark.

zircons in various colors
Zircons in various colors. Sri Lanka (3.15, 3.73); Thailand (3.45, 2.5); Tanzania (3.1); Sri Lanka (3.3). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Bright blue or greenish-blue zircons account for about 80% of all zircons sold on the jewelry market. Virtually all blue zircons get their color from heat treatment. Of course, you can choose any color zircon for your engagement ring.

This engagement ring features a zircon in a six-prong setting and diamond accents along the band. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

Before You Choose a Zircon Engagement Ring

If you're considering a zircon engagement ring, you must understand that zircon is a relatively brittle gemstone. Almost all gemstones have a brittle tenacity, which means they can break easily if struck. However, zircons — especially blue, heat-treated zircons — are even more brittle than most gemstones. Even though most gem-quality zircons have sufficient hardness to resist scratches from everyday wear, you should consider using a protective gem setting for your engagement ring to prevent damage from accidental blows.

Consider your lifestyle and daily routines as you read about the following engagement ring designs. If you're very physically active, you should choose a low-profile design with a setting to protect the zircon's delicate edges. On the other hand, if your daily routine is less physical, you can consider more delicate settings. (You should consider removing your ring anytime you're working with your hands, regardless of the gem or setting).

With some planning, you can choose a zircon engagement ring that will stand the test of time.

This 10K white gold engagement ring features an oval zircon surrounded by a halo of lab-created diamonds. The matching wedding band features milgrain engraving and a polished finish. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

Six Ideas for Zircon Engagement Ring Settings

Classic Solitaire

The tried-and-true solitaire has been the top engagement ring design choice for well over a hundred years. Created in 1886 by Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany & Co., this simple yet elegant design traditionally features a plain band with a single diamond mounted on top. You can easily update the design by choosing a bright zircon instead of a diamond. You'll likely save a good deal of money, too.

Simply setting a zircon instead of a diamond in a solitaire setting brings a modern flair to a classic design. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

Solitaire With an Ornate Band

Solitaires usually have a simple design, but you can update and personalize the look with just a few tweaks. You can choose a more ornate band. Additional decorative elements will add visual interest while still highlighting that beautiful zircon.

This ring features a single reddish brown zircon in a beautiful setting with multiple graceful arms. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

Solitaire With Gemstone Accents in the Band

You can also transform the solitaire look by adding gemstone accents to the band. The central zircon remains the star of the show and maintains the spirit of the solitaire design. The accent stones simply add a dash of excitement and a lot of sparkle.

This engagement ring features a blue zircon in a solitaire setting and a band with diamond accents. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Kaminski Auctions.

Ornate Band With Accent Gemstones

For a more dramatic move away from the traditional solitaire, combine an ornate band with accent gemstones in your zircon engagement ring. Your stones don't all need to match, and your band can express your personal style. Your zircon also doesn't need to be round. Pick any shape you like!

This engagement ring features a beautiful marquise-cut blue zircon with accent gems. The mounting's leaf motif gives the ring a nature theme. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

Halo Setting

Halos feature many small gemstones around the perimeter of the primary gemstone. Halo designs offer two significant benefits. First, a halo serves as a protective setting for the primary gemstone, which is ideal for a zircon engagement ring. Second, halos increase the visual impact of the center stone. Your halo zircon engagement ring can have a big profile even if the primary zircon is a little small. 

Don't let the delicate halo setting in this zircon engagement ring fool you. This is a durable ring. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

Multi-Gemstone Ring

Your zircon engagement ring can also have a design that features multiple gemstones rather than a single center stone. Some couples choose a toi et moi setting ("you and me"), which features two primary stones representing both persons in the relationship. If your wedding marks the start of a combined family, additional gemstones can represent your children. Of course, multiple gemstones can represent anything you want.

This zircon engagement ring features multiple gemstones in a graceful and understated setting. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

How to Care for Your Zircon Engagement Ring

  • Avoid ultrasonic cleaners and steamers for your zircon engagement ring. Instead, use warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush.
  • Before using a commercial gemstone cleaning solution, read the directions carefully and confirm it's safe for zircons.
  • If you notice grime buildup in hard-to-reach crevices in your ring, try soaking the ring in the mild detergent for a minute, then rinse with warm water and use a soft cloth to dry.
  • Should you notice scratches on the surface of your zircon, bring your ring to a professional jeweler and ask if they can safely re-polish the stone.

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

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