Database of luminescent Minerals


Chemical Formula: ZrSiO4

Familly: Silicates

Status: IMA-GP

Crystal System: Tetragonal

Mineral for Display: Yes

Associated names (luminescent varieties, discredited names, synonymes etc.):  alvitecyrtolitemalacon


UV Type Main color Intensity Observation Frequency
Short Waves (254 nm):      Orangy yellow StrongOften

Daylight Picture

Zircon, Rift Mineral Province, Malawi;
Col. G. Barmarin
Photo: Courtesy

Short Waves Pictures (254nm)

Zircon, Rift Mineral Province, Malawi;
UVSW, Col. G. Barmarin
Photo: Courtesy


Phosphorescence (in the common meaning of the term) seen by naked eye:

No Data

Ténébrescence: OUI

Thermoluminescence: Yes


Variété alvite (contenant du Hf, Th et des terres rares: OC et LW: vert; SW: Rouge-orangé;
Variété cyrtolite (zircon partiellement métamicte contenant U et souvent Th et des terres rares: OC: jaune;
variété malacon (zircon très métamicte, souvent brun: OL: orange; 
Zircon is ometimes thermoluminescent

Main Activator(s) and spectrum:

Most Common Activator: Radiation induced centers

Other activators:            (UO2)2+ (Uranyl ion) as impurities , Fe3+ , Dy3+ , Er3+ , Nd3+ , Yb3+ ,

Peaks in the spectrum (nm):

Dy3+ : 472, 481, 486nm

(UO2)2+ : 506, 523, 550nm

 Fe3+ : 750 nm, Δ = 110–120 nm and τ = 3–5 ms 

Neutron and alpha irradiation : 575 nm, peak half-width (Δ) = 120–130 nm, and decay time (τ) = 30–35 µs 

Spectrum: Michael Gaft, Petah Tikva, Israel. Plot: Institute of Mineralogy, University of Vienna, Austria, with permission of the authors.


  To the spectrum gallery (12 spectra in the gallery)

Comments on activators and spectra:

The yellow band with peak wavelength (λmax) = 575 nm, peak half-width (Δ) = 120–130 nm, and decay time (τ) = 30–35 µs is connected with neutron and alpha irradiation.
The red band with λmax = 750 nm, Δ = 110–120 nm and τ = 3–5 ms is connected with Fe3+. (M. Gaft, I. Shinno, G. Panczer and R. Reisfeld, Laser-induced time-resolved spectroscopy of visible broad luminescence bands in zircon, Mineralogy and Petrology, vol76, 2002)

Activators: broadband emission from radiation induced centers and lines from Dy3+ (Trofimov in Gaft) masking other lines from REE in Zr4+ site.

The intensity of the broadband luminescence quickly decrease after heating at 700-800° while the lines from REE stay constant (Shinno in Gaft). 

Best Locality for luminescence(*):

(*)Data are not exhaustive and are limited to the most important localities for fluorescence

Bibliographical Reference for luminescence:

Luminescence Reference on internet:

Mineralogical Reference on internet:

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