What is cubic zirconia?
Cubic zirconia (CZ) is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). The synthesized material is hard and usually colorless but may be made in a variety of different colors. Because of its low cost, durability, and close visual likeness to diamond, synthetic cubic zirconia has remained the most geologically and economically important competitor for diamonds since commercial production began in 1976.
Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond
Cubic zirconia and diamond are two distinct stones, even though they may look similar from afar. Cubic zirconia is synthetic, colorless gemstones that don’t offer any brilliance. Diamonds are natural, stunning gemstones found beneath the earth’s surface. When cut well, diamonds showcase tremendous brilliance and fire.
There are a few key features of cubic zirconia which distinguish it from diamond:
- Hardness: Cubic zirconia has a rating of approximately 8 on Mohs hardness scale vs. a rating of 10 for diamond. This causes sharp edges in cut crystals to dull and rounds off in CZ, while with a diamond the edges remain sharp. Furthermore, when polished, diamonds will rarely show polish marks and those seen will travel in different directions on adjoining facets while CZ will show polishing marks along the same direction of the polish.
- Specific gravity (relative density): the density of cubic zirconia is about 1.7 times that of a diamond. This difference allows skilled gem identifiers to tell the difference between the two by weight. This property can also be exploited by dropping the stones in heavy liquids and compare their relative sink times (diamond will sink more slowly than CZ).
- Refractive index: cubic zirconia has a refractive index of 2.15-2.18, compared to a diamond's 2.42.
- Dispersion is very high at 0.058-0.066, exceeding a diamond's 0.044. This causes CZ to have a pronounced 'rainbow effect' when it is hit by light.
- Cut: cubic zirconia gemstones may be cut differently from diamonds. The facet edges can be rounded or "smooth".
- Color: only the rarest of diamonds are truly colorless, most having a tinge of yellow or brown to some extent. Cubic zirconia is often entirely colorless: equivalent to a perfect "D" on diamond's color grading scale. Other desirable colors of cubic zirconia can be produced including near colorless, yellow, pink, purple, green, and even multicolored.
- Thermal conductivity: Cubic zirconia is a thermal insulator whereas diamond is the most powerful thermal conductor.
- Value: Probably the best thing about CZ is that it is much more affordable than diamonds. A 1-carat excellent cut, flawless, D color diamond generally retails for about $10,000 while a 1-carat cubic zirconia will only set you back about $20! The price per carat is very different between CZ and diamonds, so much so that the comparison even seems pointless.
Is Cubic zirconia worth anything?
The affordability of cubic zirconia is making this stone a very popular jewelry option, especially for engagement and wedding rings. Diamonds are one of the most expensive precious stones available, however cubic zirconia possesses many similar qualities. Not only does CZ look identical to a diamond, but it is also comparable with its strength and durability characteristics. It can be constructed into the same styles, cuts, and colors of diamonds. Cubic zirconia is a fraction of the price of a diamond, making it an exceptional alternative.
Cubic zirconia wedding sets may be the perfect choice for couples looking for affordable wedding rings made with low cost and ethical diamond substitutes. Just because you are searching for an affordable, ethical, wedding ring does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. Cubic zirconia stones that have been securely set. The stones should not wobble or move at all. Cubic zirconia rings made with sterling silver or stainless steel bands. You can choose a sterling silver cubic zirconia ring as your engagement ring or wedding ring, which can make the ring wear longer.
How long does cubic zirconia last?
Cubic zirconia lasts two to three years with everyday wear, as long as you clean and care for your jewelry. With occasional wear, cubic zirconia can last up to five years. Over time, cubic zirconia usually gets scratched and becomes cloudy. Cubic zirconia gets cloudy over time due to scratches, soap and mineral residue, dirt, and exposure to oxygen in the air and water. It’s best to take off cubic zirconia jewelry when doing water-related activities like washing dishes, bathing, and swimming. If you wear your jewelry for years doing these activities, the quality of the cubic zirconia will deteriorate. Elements in the water can impact your stone, such as chlorine, saltwater, and certain minerals. You can clean your cubic zirconia with soapy water and a soft cloth.
Cubic zirconia does not rust, but the jewelry setting can. Inexpensive metals such as brass, gold-plated alloys, and sterling silver often rust over time due to exposure to oxygen in the air and water.
Therefore, it is a good choice to choose a ring based on stainless steel. High-quality stainless steel will not rust, it is comfortable to wear, and it is hypoallergenic. It is very suitable for daily wear.
In general, the affordability of cubic zirconia is making this stone a very popular jewelry option. If your budget is limited, then buying a CZ ring is well worth it.
You learn new things every day