Cubic Zirconia gemstones are as visually brilliant and astute as the women who wear them. This captivating gemstone is popular for its affordability but more notably for its fiery appearance and versatility. This dazzling material is crystallographically isometric and simulates a diamond with remarkable likeness.
Although many of us simply love them because they are sparkly and make fabulous bling jewelry, they have an interesting history that makes for great reading. Here are a few fascinating facts that you may enjoy learning about:
1. The Difference Between A Cubic Zirconia And A White Zircon
The primary difference between these two beautiful gems is that white zircon is a naturally mined gem stone and cubic zirconia is a synthetically manufactured gemstone. Zircon possesses light refraction that can surpass a diamond while CZ has more fire, or flashes of color. Other differences include:
• CZ is a mineral synthesized as diamond simulant
• Diamonds are naturally mined gems
• CZ’s are economical; Zircons more expensive
• Zircons can have a yellow of brown tint while CZ gemstones are colorless
• A zirconia is virtually flawless compared to Zircons which have inclusions or other flaws
While these two stones have similar names, they are not related. Brown zircon was often made colorless through heat treatment and used as a diamond substitute before cubic zirconia was created. Heat treated zircon is also less durable than CZ. Cubic Zirconia has the ability to scratch glass like authentic diamonds and is harder than most manufactured gemstones.
2. Where The Largest Supply Comes From; Look To A Lab In China
The largest supply of cubic zirconia comes from Thailand and China. These synthetic gems are not geographically-specific since they are created within a laboratory setting. Unlike diamonds that come from many places around the world, the largest CZ factories are found in China. Some of the leading CZ manufacturers are:
• globalsources.com; and
• Nathaan Gemstones
3. Interesting Myths And Legends
Probably the most well known urban legend relating to this stone is the confirmed myth that radiography, or x-rays can distinguish between a natural diamond and its most prevalent competition the CZ. Diamonds show up radiolucent on an x-ray while other material does not because they are composed of carbon and do not possess added stabilizers.
Non-scientifically speaking, we have been historically bamboozled into the perception that actual diamonds are rare, when in reality they are nothing more than a marked product that is exchanged as part of an engagement process-scheme developed by a prominent diamond company.
It is an outright myth that CZ’s are inferior to diamonds when case in point, diamonds are not an investment and lose more than 50% of their value after purchase. Retailers prefer not to buy back diamonds from customers because they would have to do so at wholesale prices since the markup on a diamond is 100 to 200 percent depending on the store.
4. Rich Women Love Fake Diamond Jewelry
Wealthy women love fake diamonds because they can enjoy them while traveling, attending prominent events and for everyday recreational wear without the fear of potentially losing them or having them stolen. Just because you can afford diamonds, doesn’t mean they are an intelligent purchase. Even celebrities enjoy replica jewelry because it allows them to look the part while not having the duress related to caring for real diamonds.
Jewelry can be a security concern so faux rings, earrings, necklaces and brooches can be an attractive allurement. CZ’s are optically interchangeable with real diamonds anyway making them nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.
6. Gemstones Have Meaning And Power
Gemstones are said to possess and promote mystical and healing powers. Diamonds are always best worn with other stones and are associated with Crown Chakra, or the color of white. Chakra is an Indian philosophy that designates energy centers in our bodies. The purpose of the Crown Chakra is to connect spirituality to the physical being and encourage intuitive knowing. Zircon on the other hand is said to communicate with angels and provide safe passage upon travel.
7. A Cubic Zirconia Weighs 1.7 Times More Than A Diamond Of Equivalent Size
In other words, zirconia gemstones are about 75% heavier than traditional diamonds. Cubic zirconia is synthesized out of zirconium oxide and is produced by heating the mineral to approximately 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to allow it to become isometric, or have equal dimensions. During this process, stabilizer material must also be added so that the gemstone is able to maintain its integrity when it cools.
8. It Was Discovered In Its Natural State In 1937 And Disregarded
When CZ was first identified, the German mineralogists that discovered it thought it to be unimportant and failed to even designate a name for the form of zirconium oxide. In the 1970’s Russian scientists discovered the process of growing the crystals in a laboratory setting and later marketed the product under the term, “Djevalite”. Interestingly, even Swarovski crystals are made from CZ.
9. Professional Jewelers And Gemologists Sometimes Need Special Equipment To Tell It Apart From Diamonds
Visually, it can be challenging to tell exceptionally- cut CZ’s apart from authentic diamonds. There are many high-quality best diamond simulate products to choose from, making this all the more compelling. The list of prestigious companies that sell this stone all possess brand-specific registered trade mark names for the diamond stimulants, most often being made of cubic zirconia.
Jewelers use equipment like loupes and magnifiers to identify gemstones. A loupe is a small hand held lens that magnifies a gemstone to great detail allowing gemologists and professionals to identify small fine points. Zirconias do not possess inclusions so this is one way to differentiate the two.
Learn more about the jewelers loupe below.
10. CZ’s Were Originally Developed By The Russians
There is some research available that states that the Russians developed cubic zirconia gemstones to create a specialized window glass for their space program to function and allow cosmonauts to take pictures through the window. However, it has been made official that the world’s first CZ was made in the USSR. It was manufactured to compose a gemstone with the similar optical properties of a ruby and was intended to be used in Russian laser technology. It was not used in jewelry until 1969 when a creative person decided to facet the material.
Cubic zirconia is an impressive diamond simulant that offers unsurpassed quality and price. The dispersion of white light from a CZ is superior at 0.058-0.066 to a diamond’s 0.044. CZ is a truly colorless gem, equivalent to a perfect D on the diamond-color grade scale and by comparison delivers a generally indistinguishable product.
Image Credits: 1. Brown Zircon, Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2. G.wikipedia.org, CZ Brilliant by Hadal, no modifications, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.gl