If you were one of the many people which tuned into Select Australia's live announcement of 'AFL GEM Football', you might have also noticed that all card variants aside from the base set include an attached gemstone! Contrary to what Janks said on last nights podcast we can confirm these are not in fact cubic zirconia. But what actually is a Zircon stone?
Zircon stone values have a broad range of prices depending on the cut, clarity, colour, and carat size of the gemstone, with some of the rarest Zircon pieces fetching over $3,000 per carat.
Zircon is a mineral found in small quantities in many different rocks., and is the oldest gemstone on Earth. It can be found in a variety of colours, giving the rock its gemstone quality. Zircon is commonly found in the Earths crust, as opposed to being synthetically grown, with some Zircon deposits taking millions of years to form! Most gem-quality Zircon is found in the colours yellow, red, or brown, but through heating and radiation techniques can be used to produce blue, green and many other zircon colours.
"Zircon is sometimes confused with the metal zirconium, the zirconium oxide called zirconia, and cubic zirconia, a synthetic gemstone with an appearance that is very similar to diamond."
Relating back to the world of trading cards, even though the Sapphire card variants in AFL GEM Football don't contain real Sapphires there's still potentially significant value in the different coloured Zircon gemstones, that shouldn't be ignored.
For anyone wanting to further investigate the backstory behind Zircon gemstones, follow the link to the Australian government website which explains Zircon in great detail.