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Gem Quiz

I Am of Interest to National Security, But Probably Not that Many Jewelers. Who Am I?

I share much with cubic zirconia, except the refraction.

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I Am of Interest to National Security, But Probably Not that Many Jewelers. Who Am I?

DISCOVERED IN THE hills of Sri Lanka in 1892, I didn’t attract much interest from anyone until the arrival of the nuclear age (I am one of two sources of zirconium, a structural component of nuclear reactors). Gem collectors like me, but from a jeweler’s point of view, I probably just have trivia value: I am the natural form of cubic zirconia. While our chemistry is identical, we actually don’t look much alike. CZ is a bright, highly refractive material, while I am usually opaque. It’s due to the different ways we crystallize.

Who am I?

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