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The name zircon likely comes from the Persian word , meaning “vermillion.” Given its wide range of colors – spanning red, orange, yellow, green, blue and brown – both origins make sense.

This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. The half-life of carbon-14 is only 5,730 years, so carbon-14 dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50,000 years old.

Our planet was pegged at a youthful few thousand years old by Bible readers (by counting all the "begats" since Adam) as late as the end of the 19th century, with physicist Lord Kelvin providing another nascent estimate of 100 million years.

Kelvin defended this calculation throughout his life, even disputing Darwin's explanations of evolution as impossible in that time period.

The largest crystal in the cluster is about 1.7 centimeters in length. It occurs in a wide range of colors and has a brightness and fire that rivals those of diamond.

Colorless zircon is sometimes used as a lower-cost alternative for diamond.

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While radiation can break down zircon’s crystal structure, it plays a crucial role in radiometric dating.

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