Zircon, tourmaline, garnet and other precious stones of little commercial value are found throughout Australia.
Other precious stones, including the sapphire, emerald, oriental emerald, ruby, opal, amethyst, garnet, chrysolite, topaz, cairngorm, onyx, zircon, &c., have been found in the gold and tin bearing drifts and river gravels in numerous localities throughout the states.
In the same year as Klaproth detected uranium, he also isolated zirconia or zirconium oxide from the mineral variously known as zircon, hyacinth, jacynth and jargoon; but he failed to obtain the metal, this being first accomplished some years later by Berzelius, who decomposed the double potassium zirconium fluoride with potassium.
Rutile assumes tetragonal forms isomorphous with cassiterite, SnO 2 (and also zircon, ZrSiO 4); anatase is also tetragonal, and brookite or thorhombic. Rutile is the most stable and anatase the least, a character reflected in the decrease in density from rutile (4.2) and brookite (4.0) to anatase (3.9).
In the alluvial deposits the associated minerals are chiefly those of great density and hardness, such as platinum, osmiridium and other metals of the platinum group, tinstone, chromic, magnetic and brown iron ores, diamond, ruby and sapphire, zircon, topaz, garnet, &c. which represent the more durable original constituents of the rocks whose distintegration has furnished the detritus.
Klaproth in 1789 analysed the mineral zircon or hyacinth and found it to contain a new earth, which he called "zirconia."
For its extraction from zircon the mineral is heated and quenched in water to render it brittle, and then reduced to a fine powder, which is fused with three to four parts of acid potassium fluoride in a platinum crucible.
The other minerals found in the concentrates are pebbles and fragments of pyrope, zircon, cyanite, chrome-diopside, enstatite, a green pyroxene, mica, ilmenite, magnetite, chromite, hornblende, olivine, barytes, calcite and pyrites.
Among the commonest associates of the diamond are quartz, topaz, tourmaline, rutile, zircon, magnetite, garnet, spinel and other minerals which are common accessory constituents of granite, gneiss and the crystalline schists.
The following precious stones are reported: corundum (rubies and sapphires), beryl, topaz, zircon, garnet, amazon-stone, tourmaline, often in large crystals, and variously coloured quartz, also often found in crystals of great size.
Minerals developed slightly, or not at all, are granite, valued at $1500 in 1905; surface salt, in the arid and semiarid regions; nickel and cobalt, in Lemhi county; tungsten, near Murray, Shoshone county; monazite and zircon, in certain sands; and some pumice.