Physical Properties
Chemical formula ZrSiO4
Class Nesosilicate
Isolated tetrahedra
Crystal system Tetragonal
Habit Square prisms
Rounded grains are also common
Color Brown to green
Hardness 7.5
Specific gravity 4.68
Cleavage Poor (100), poor {101}
Fracture Conchoidal
Luster Adamantine
Transparency Translucent to transparent
Streak Colorless to white
Optical Properties
PPL Colorless to pale yellow or brown
May be weakly pleochroic
High relief
May display pleochroic decay halo
XPL High birefringence
High relief
May display decay halo
δ 0.06
after Perkins, 349

Zircon in Hand Sample

It’s really hard to find zircons in hand sample that are large enough to see, let alone to be worth gigapanning, so there are no zircon hand sample images for you. Sorry about that.

Here’s an explorable scanning electron micrograph of zircon, though.

Zircon in Thin Section

Zircon is most commonly seen as an accessory mineral. Making you hunt through GigaPans for accessory minerals surrounded by things that aren’t zircon is cruel, so we’ll skip it. Unless you want to try to find it in a biotite gneiss, in which case a) wow, are you dedicated and b)  the plane polars image is here and the crossed polars image is here. Have fun.

Your friendly author did the work of finding one for you. This zircon grain, which is from the biotite gneiss slide above, features a decay halo.

Zircon in biotite, PPL

Zircon in biotite, XPL

Further Reading

Zircon at webmineral.com
Zircon at mindat.org