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Cubic Zirconia

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Cubic Zirconia - Introduction to CZ
For hundreds of years women have longed for diamond jewelry. In 1953 Marilyn Monroe sang the famous song "Diamonds are a girl's best friend". The lyrics include:

"...But square-cut or pear-shape,
These rocks don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend..."

Well the good news is that imitation diamonds, such as Cubic Zirconia, don't lose their shape either! Cubic Zirconia is a synthetic gemstone. But the cost of Cubic Zirconia jewelry is just a fraction of the cost of jewelry containing real diamonds. The high price of gem-grade diamonds has created a large demand for affordable imitation diamonds which have similar characteristics.

Even jewellers cannot tell the difference between a Cubic Zirconia and a diamond with the naked eye! Cubic Zirconia jewelry is extremely cheap compared to jewelry containing real diamonds. So what are the differences between stones created with Cubic Zirconia as opposed to diamonds? What are the Pro's and Cons of Cubic Zirconia jewelry?

Quality of  Diamonds compared to Cubic Zirconia (or CZ)
The Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight all have a significant impact on the Cost of diamonds because these factors are all used to value the price of a diamond. The Cut, Color, and Clarity are used to measure the quality of the diamond and the Carat is used to measure the weight of a diamond. The elements of the 4C's have been used to compare diamonds and Cubic Zirconia and the comparisons are detailed below.

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Cubic Zirconia (also known as CZ) - The Advantages
Facts and Information about the advantages of Cubic Zirconia are as follows:

  • Cost - The cost of Cubic Zirconia is roughly a tenth of the price of natural diamonds
  • Appearance - Cubic Zirconia is so optically close to diamond that even jewellers cannot tell the difference between a Cubic Zirconia and a diamond with the naked eye - jewellers use a loupe to tell the difference
  • Clarity - Cubic Zirconia is virtually flawless equivalent to Grade F on the Diamond Clarity Chart
  • Inclusions / Flaws - Cubic Zirconia is virtually flawless whereas most diamonds have internal inclusions or external blemishes
  • Color - Cubic Zirconia CZ can be made entirely colorless or white, equivalent to a perfect "D" on the color grading scale of diamonds
  • Colored Cubic Zirconia CZ - Natural colored diamonds are extremely rare and expensive but synthetic gemstones like the Cubic Zirconia be made in a variety of different colors
  • Fluorescence - An undesirable hazy effect. The Fluorescence of diamonds or Cubic Zirconia (CZ)  is not usually noticed by the naked eye but can be seen under ultraviolet lighting at dance clubs and Jewelry stores. Under ultraviolet lighting Cubic Zirconia typically fluoresces a yellow, greenish yellow or beige color. Diamonds fluoresce a blue color
  • Hardness - Hardness denotes resistance to scratching as opposed to Toughness which relates to the ability to resist breakage from falls or impacts. Cubic Zirconia is much harder than most natural gems at about 8.5 on the Mohs scale, however it is nowhere near as hard as a diamond at 10.0 on the Mohs scale
  • Weight and Size - Cubic Zirconia CZ is about 75% heavier than diamond and measured in millimetres, referring to the diameter, as opposed to carats.  A Cubic Zirconia CZ will weigh about 1.7 times more than a diamond of equivalent size. A 6.5 mm Cubic Zirconia is equal in sizeto a one-carat diamond but actually weighsabout 1.75 carats.

Cubic Zirconia CZ Jewelry
Cubic Zirconia jewelry started to become popular during the 1980's. Cubic Zirconia jewelry include all different types of rings including wedding rings, engagement rings and eternity rings set in silver sterling and gold. Cubic Zirconia jewelry also include earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets again set in silver sterling and gold.

Cubic Zirconia (also known as CZ) - The Disadvantages
Facts and Information about the disadvantages of Cubic Zirconia are as follows:

  • Jewelry containing synthetic gemstones like Cubic Zirconia are not a good investment, they do not hold their price
  • Cubic Zirconia CZ has slightly less sparkle than diamonds. Sparkle is a measure of the light reflected out by a diamond as it is viewed from different angles
  • Fire - Cubic Zirconia CZ has more 'fire' or brilliance producing a more synthetic effect
  • The white-white color of the the Cubic Zirconia CZ is a less believable imitation as white-white color diamonds are extremely rare 
  • Hardness - Diamonds are harder than Cubic Zirconia  which is 8.5 on the Mohs scale compared to a diamond at about 10.0 on the Mohs scale
  • Toughness - Cubic Zirconia is more brittle than diamond and has less ability to resist breakage from falls or impacts
  • Rarity - Cubic Zirconia is not rare and can be made quickly and in vast quantities, whereas natural diamonds take millions of years to form
  • Status and Wealth - Cubic Zirconia has not got the same status as a diamond and does not indicate wealth
  • Symbolic Value - Diamonds have long symbolised love and purity - Cubic Zirconia has no symbolic value

Cubic Zirconia CZ Colors
CZ comes in a wide range of different colors including the popular white, or colorless and unusual purple:

  • Colorless or white - Brilliance of a diamond
  • Pink - Pink is an extremely popular CZ color
  • Blue - Blue sapphire color
  • Orange - Orange red colors from light to dark hues
  • Purple - Unusual color similar to a deep purple amethyst
  • Green - Green emerald color
  • Champagne - Champagne, light brown color

Cubic Zirconia CZ - Definition
What exactly is Cubic Zirconia? Definition: It is a high quality synthetic gemstone which imitates the appearance of diamonds and is usually made in a lab. Cubic Zirconia (or CZ) is zirconium oxide (ZrO2) a mineral that is extremely rare in nature but easily synthesized for use as a diamond simulant. Synthesized Cubic Zirconia (or CZ) is hard, optically flawless and can made in a variety of different colors.

History Timeline of Cubic Zirconia (or CZ)
The following timeline details the discovery and production of Cubic Zirconia (or CZ)

1892: The mineral baddeleyite was only natural form of zirconium oxide known

1930: A synthetic product of stabilized zirconia was introduced

1937: German mineralogists M. V. Stackelberg and K. Chudoba discovered naturally occurring Cubic Zirconia but it was not considered important

1960's: Scientists looked at Cubic Zirconia (or CZ) as a new, versatile material for use in lasers and other optical applications

1960's: French Scientists Y. Roulin and R. Collongues conducted some of the earliest research

1973: Russian scientists under V. V. Osiko at the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow perfected the gemstone which they called Fianit, but the name was not used outside of the USSR.

1976: Commercial production of Cubic Zirconia (or CZ) began

1980: Annual global production reached 50 million carats

1980's: Swarovsk & Co., began producing Cubic Zirconia (or CZ)

1990's: Research undertake to improve Cubic Zirconia (or CZ) by adding coatings made of a film of diamond-like carbon (DLC) or Amorphous Diamond producing a harder, more lustrous and more diamond-like product by quenching the excess fire of CZ

The above History Timeline provides details the discovery and production of CZ and its use as an imitation of diamond.

Cubic Zirconia Jewelry
CZ jewelry is available in rings, wedding rings, engagement rings, earrings, eternity rings, necklace, pendant, bracelet all set in silver sterling and gold.

Guide - Colors - Facts - Information -Info - Jewelry - Jewellery - Definition
Quality - Timeline History - Comparison with Diamonds

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