zircon.jpg (10267 bytes)
This is an example of zirconium.


Symbol Name Atomic Number Atomic Weight Group Number
Zr Zirconium 40 91.22 4


Standard State: solid at 298 K
Color: Silvery Gray

The name zircon probably originated from the Persian word zargun, which describes the color of the gemstone now known as zircon, jargon, hyacinth, jacinth, or ligure. This mineral, or its variations, is mentioned in biblical writings.  The mineral was not known to contain a new element until Klaproth, in 1789, analyzed a jargon from Ceylon and found a new earth, which Werner named zircon, and Klaproth called Zirkonerde.

Zirconium is produced commercially by reduction of the chloride with magnesium, and by other methods. When finely divided, the metal may ignite spontaneously is air, especially at elevated temperatures.  The solid metal is hard to ignite.

Zirconium is used extensively by chemical industry where corrosive agents are employed.   It is used in poison ivy lotions in the form of carbonate as it combines with urushiol.