JUST WHAT IS CUBIC ZIRCONIA?
Cubic Zirconia .. Zirconium .. CZ ..
Is a synthetic stone created in laboratories to have the same physical and chemical characteristics as genuine stones but are less expensive due to their abundance.
They are cut using the same techniques as diamonds and due to many similarites, they have remained the most effective diamond simulant since 1976, as regards gemmological and economical importance.
Cubic Zirconia do not represent a less expensive diamond, but a gemstone in its own right. The 4Cs (Clarity, Cut, Colour & Carat) of todays CZs are favourably comparable to the diamond but without the high price tag!
The CZ story began in 1937, when the cubic form of zirconium oxide (CZ for short) was discovered by two German mineralogists. It wasn't until the 1970s, however - when Soviet scientists learnt how to 'grow' this mineral in a laboratory - that it gradually became popular with jewellery designers.
CZs really took off in the 1980s when Swarovski & Co - a world renowned producer of leaded crystal - began producing Cubic Zirconia for mass consumption.
Gemmologists agree the Cubic Zirconia is the finest diamond simulant because it comes closer than any other gem material to matching the characteristics of a diamond. Most people, even trained gemmologists, cannot tell the difference with the naked eye. There are slight differences ...........
Fire & Brilliance
CZ has slightly less brilliance (sparkle) than a diamond, though it does has more fire (flashes of rainbow colours). The overall effect is so similar to diamond, that trained gemmologists often require special equipment to tell them apart.
There are very few substance on earth harder than CZ. With a hardness rating of 8.5, the CZ comes closest to matching the diamonds perfect 10.
Because the CZ is grown in a lab, in a controlled environment, if the crystal is not perfect - it is simply not used!
The finest CZ is cut to exacting tolerances, according to the proportions demanded in fine diamond cutting.
Whilst almost as hard as a diamond - CZ are more brittle, so take precautions, such as removing CZ jewellery when doing heavy work ..... even a diamond can chip if its hit the right (or wrong) way!!