Zirconium: historical information

  • Discoveror: Martin Heinrich Klaproth
  • Place of discovery: Berlin, Germany
  • Date of discovery: 1789
  • Origin of name : from the Arabic word "zargun" meaning "gold colour".

The name zircon probably originated from the arabic "zargun", which describes the colour of the gemstone now known as zircon (ZrSiO4). The minerals jargon, hyacinth, and jacinth also contain zircon and these have been known since biblical times and are mentioned in the bible in several places. The existence of a new element within these minerals was not suspected until studies by Martin Heinrich Klaproth in the late 18th century.

The impure metal was first isolated by Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1824 who heated a mixture of potassium and potassium zirconium fluoride together in an iron tube. Pure zirconium was first prepared in 1914.

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