What is cubic zirconia CZ?
Cubic zirconia (also known as CZ) is a synthetic crystalline substance used as an alternative to diamonds. The man-made material is colorless, hard, and flawless. Its popularity stems from its similarity to diamonds in brilliance and crystal clarity while still being affordable.
Historically cubic zirconia began being produced in the 1970’s due to its diamond-like qualities, low cost, and overall durability. Today cubic zirconia has become one of the most popular stones used in jewelry to create attractive yet inexpensive pieces.
How is cubic zirconia made?
Cubic zirconia is made of powdered zirconium and zirconium dioxide. These two substances are heated up to 4,982ºF to create the crystals.
Although there is not a universal grading system for cubic zirconia, the quality of the stones can be evaluated using the “Four Cs,” which include color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
How does cubic zirconia compare to a diamond?
Because cubic zirconia is synthetic and diamonds are a natural substance, the two do differ. Cubic zirconia is simulated to be flawless. Diamonds have flaws since they are naturally occurring gemstones.
To the untrained eye, it is extremely difficult to distinguish the two as they both appear identical. Only the rarest of diamonds are truly colorless, while cubic zirconia is made to be completely transparent. The CZ stones are free of inclusions and produce more flashes of color (brighter fire).
Both substances are similar in durability. Diamonds have a 10 rating on the Mohs hardness scale while cubic zirconia comes in at an 8-8.5. Cubic zirconia is more likely to scratch, but it is heavier than a diamond.
Cubic zirconia can be transformed into the same popular cuts and shapes that diamonds and colored gemstones come in. Following the trend, CZ stones are also available in colorful versions.
Does cubic zirconia jewelry have to be cared for and cleaned?
Yes, and it is important to care for and clean cubic zirconia jewelry. Cubic zirconia’s beauty is attributed to the way it reflects light. Regular cleaning ensures longevity and keeping the jewelry’s brilliance. Without cleaning, skin oil, soap, grease, and hand lotion can drastically decrease the brilliance of jewelry. Clean cubic zirconia rings and jewelry with warm, soapy water and a soft cosmetic brush (similar to the type used to apply eye shadow). Make sure to dry CZ stones fully to keep their brilliance and shine. Remove any cubic zirconia jewelry when doing heavy work such as housework, working out, swimming, showering, gardening, and moving. Store CZ jewelry in a fabric-lined box for protection. Also, keep jewelry separated to prevent scratching.