Is There A Cure For Dull Cloudy Cubic Zirconia ?

Married Couple Wedding RingsHas your lovely cubic zirconia engagement ring turned from brilliant and sparkling to dull and cloudy? When you are in love with a particular piece of jewelry, it can be heartbreaking to notice anything wrong with it. I can understand your frustration. I’ve had many jewelry dilemmas as well. As ring wearers, there are several nightmare scenarios that we hope will never happen, but sometimes do.

The Heartbreak Of A Missing Stone

One day as you are going about your daily business, you glance down at your hand and notice an empty hole where your ring stone used to be.  You start the frantic search for your beloved stone with mind racing as you backtrack your steps hoping to find it. Even if the missing stone isn’t a $5000.00 flawless diamond, it means something to you, to your heart, and to your feelings.

Newly Discovered Scratches Or Nicks

Finding tiny nicks or scratches along your engagement ring band is bad enough. Noticing that your gemstones have surface scratches is very disappointing indeed. When the entire stone looks dull and milky it loses its appeal. It’s very sad when your engagement ring bling isn’t blingy anymore.

Bling. What an interesting word in the world of jewelry jargon. Bling means sparkle, glitter, or  shine. It attracts attention. It feels special to wear. Bling has that marvelous celebratory quality that just makes us feel happy and pampered. It lights up our world and makes us feel rich even if we aren’t.

Should We Simply Expect Cloudiness From All Cubic Zirconia?

Sad Cloud
What happened to my bling?

Some people believe that eventual cloudiness is something we should expect with all CZ gemstones. Many people compare the brilliant light refraction of a flawless diamond to that of a low quality cubic zirconia and get very disappointed. No, I don’t think we should expect cloudiness, but we should be realistic about the nature of cubic zirconia.

It isn’t as hard as a diamond. If you purchased your CZ decades ago, it may have been on the market when standards of clarity and cut were much lower. Women were used to Rhinestone baubles that would turn milky after awhile.

Today’s jewelry customer demands more quality, more value, and a lot more longevity when it comes to diamond alternatives; especially for engagement ring stones. As luck would have it, there is so much competition in the diamond alternative market, manufacturers are knocking themselves out to make CZ bridal rings of better quality and clarity.

This is a wonderful video for seeing the difference quality makes.

 

Although there are better quality CZ brands available on the market, as jewelry owners, we have to take a look at how our daily activities can beat the shine out of our gemstone rings. Even the shape and profile of a ring can impact how often it accidentally bumps into things. Simple activities like digging in our purses, makeup bags, and cabinets can add scratches over time.

No Matter How Top-Quality The Stone, A CZ Will Always Behave Like A CZ

The largest challenge to maintaining the luster of a cubic zirconia for as long as possible is self awareness. We get so busy in our lives that it’s easy to forget our engagement ring stone or stones needs a bit of preventative care.

A Cubic Zirconia engagement ring wants to be treated as though it were a valuable jewel.”

Ring Settings That Protect Gemstones

After suffering the heartbreak and frustration of  wearing or replacing scratched gemstones, some women choose to wear all their rings with protective settings. Protective settings have pros and cons. On the plus side, the design forms a barrier around the stone much like a car bumper. On the negative side, the stone will lose some refraction because less light can get through. The  most protective design is that of the Bezel.

The Bezel Set Can Dim Refraction, But Offers A Protective Side Bumper
Although engagement rings with bezel settings are popular when a ring is fully loaded with expensive genuine diamonds, it’s harder to find when the stones are cubic zirconia.

This Sterling Silver CZ Vintage Style Bridal Ring by Palm Beach Jewelry is a good example of the security border that bezel settings provide. However, see those beautiful facets at the top of the stone? That area will always be a tender spot for a CZ.

Risky Things Women Try To Add Shine To Their Cubic Zirconia Rings

Dull, cloudy gemstones call for desperate measures, right? It is interesting to see what lengths some are willing to go through to revive a dying engagement ring or wedding band. You-tube is a great example.Wedding advice forums are another.

People are  turning  to self-help methods like baking and boiling their rings.They are gathering on social media to share “miracle” cures and trade recipes for cloud dissolving formulas. As interesting as it is to read about, are these methods worth the risk?

After doing a little research and reading, one observation became clear. Baking a cubic zirconia has its risks. It may add a brown tint to the stone, shatter it, or do nothing at all to remove cloudiness. I couldn’t recommend baking your ring, but I am chicken-hearted that way.

A Reputable Jewelry Store Can Help You Explore Your Options

If you enjoy going to the mall, it can’t hurt to pop in to a jewelry store and have an associate look at your ring. Because fake diamond jewelry is so popular, they won’t faint if you ask for advice about your cloudy CZ. If your stone is beyond help, you might have to replace it. Once you have a brand new, sparkling CZ in place of your old cloudy one, consider doing what many women do to protect their expensive diamond engagement rings; wear some type of silicone ring cover to stop  daily activities from beating up your precious ring .

This company, Ringwrapper.com, is an interesting site to look through. It’s nice that they offer a clear version to customers. Not everyone wants to wear hot pink or purple silicon tubes over their engagement ring.

Silicone Ring Covers-Pros And Cons

  • The Cons– They aren’t very pretty are they? Technically, it’s like putting your ring into a rubber dog house, so the “show off my ring” enjoyment is lost.
  • The Pros– A good quality cover lets you be free to do what you love to do ( or have to do at work) without so many worries.

The Real Truth About Those CZ Clouds

Those of us who love the value and appeal of fake diamond options like cubic zirconia also appreciate the realistic truth about their projected lifespan. Technically, the two enemies of CZ brilliance are built-in. One before you put the ring on, and one after you put the ring on.

  • Cubic Zirconia stones cannot be created with sharp, linear facets like diamonds. CZ’s have to be faceted with “rounded” edges because of their composition. The more you wear them, the rounder the facet edges get. The rounder they get , the less sparkle they can produce.
  • Our natural skin oils, dirt from daily life, and tiny little surface nicks from normal activity can take a toll on shine.

The truth is, a well-worn and un-pampered CZ engagement ring isn’t likely to stay diamond-bright after 60 years of marriage, but then again, neither will the bride or groom.

There is good news, however. There are options you can consider to keep your CZ engagement ring as brilliant as possible for the duration of your marriage:

  • If your budget allows, pick a durable metal with a protective setting.
  • Consider a custom prong design that makes it easier for a jeweler to replace a damaged stone with a new one.
  • Research silicone covers or ring protectors. Most are incredibly low-priced.
  • If you haven’t decided on an engagement ring yet, there is a brilliant idea ( no pun intended) brewing out there in cubic zirconia land for the sparkle-loving crowd; adding  extra facets.

A company called Diamonbella offers simulated diamond/ CZ engagement rings with stones cut with  101 facets for maximum light refraction. You can view this listing of Diamonbella 101 facet engagement rings to see what you think.

Is There A Cure For Dull Cloudy Cubic Zirconia?

Unfortunately, it depends. If the clouds come from a build-up of dirt, oil, hand lotion, e.t.c., a simple cleaning should restore the shine. If the clouds result from a poor quality stone that has worn facets and deep scratches from decades of wear and tear, I’m afraid the prognosis means I have to ask you to sit down as I give you the news.

 

 

Image Credits

Pixabay.com, Marriage Hands, Public Domain Free, No Modifications, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en

Piq.codeus.net, Sad Cloud by Firzoidian, No Modifications, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

 

 

 

How Are Cubic Zirconia Stones Made?

Have you ever wanted to know how Cubic Zirconia stones are made? When you want to buy or wear beautiful jewelry, but the cost or risk of owning it isn’t practical for your lifestyle, purchasing a gorgeous CZ instead can be a fantastic option. As beautiful as these stones are, many people don’t have a clue how they are made. Whether it’s because they hadn’t thought much about it, or they just assumed that they are formed through pressure and time like diamonds, the actual process is quite fascinating. Perhaps that is why they are so stunning and hard to distinguish from a naturally-formed diamond.

How the Stone That Brought the Diamond Industry Its Greatest Challenge Begins

loose Cubic Zirconia StoneWhile most people know that diamonds are made from pure carbon, the stone designed to compete with this highly-desired rock is formed from a base of high purity zirconium oxide powders. It is combined with small amounts of calcium and magnesium for stability. There is a highly specific science behind the mixing of the raw materials that form cubic zirconia which allows the engineer or lab to replicate the look of specific types of diamonds. This includes the attributes of color and clarity.

 

The results form one of the most striking and exquisite man-made gems so much like the real thing, that often a person cannot differentiate them from the real thing. Awesome!

Once the raw materials have been carefully combined, they are then manufactured through one of three production methods; solution growth, melt growth, or a high-pressure, high-temperature growth method. Although CZ stones are most often associated with diamond lookalike jewelry, they may be used to create a number of different types of gemstones.

 

The Timeline For Creating Gorgeous Cubic Zirconia Gems

Though the timeline for creating a gorgeous CZ gem will depend on which method is used to create it, compared to naturally-made minerals, they are completed at near-lightning speeds. Diamonds take many, many years to form. Expertly manufactured gems may be created, cut, and set in a few short weeks.

Natural Stones Versus Man Made Beauties

Dramatic 5.1 Carat CZ 2 piece bridal set
Dramatic 5.1 Carat CZ 2 piece bridal set

 

The reason why the gemstone industry is so big on using CZ stones is because of their strong resemblance to an actual diamond when it comes to strength, hardness, gravity, and refractive index. As a very dense substance, its specific gravity lies in the range of 5.6 and 6.0. This is just over one and a half times that of a genuine diamond. Its hardness is also comparable, registering 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale (a diamond lands at a 10).

As a near-perfect replica of its carbon-based counterpart, a cubic zirconia stone is one of the best ways to make duplicates of truly valuable pieces of jewelry. Using replicas is popular when there is a high risk of it being stolen or coveted by thieves. For the average person, it provides a means of obtaining a truly exquisite jewelry item at a reasonable price.

Cubic zirconias may be made in a laboratory, but they are most definitely a stunning choice for any type of precious jewelry; especially when set on a band of equally precious metals. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but a carefully manufactured CZ stone is worth more when you consider its aesthetic value and the considerable difference in cost.

 

Images Courtesy of Amazon.com

How To Clean and Care For Your Cubic Zirconia Engagement Ring

Engagement ringAre you the proud owner of a brand new CZ Ring? They are amazing gems that have become very popular these days and are often used in engagement ring designs. It is important to know how to care for and clean it properly so your ring will stay lustrous and vibrant for years to come. CZ’s are durable, but also delicate when it comes to exposure to certain elements. It’s smart to handle these stones carefully. All you need is a basic understanding of the composition of this beautiful gem and the major do’s and don’t s of how to clean it so your ring will always sparkle and shine.

The Perfect Diamond Alternative

Cubic Zirconia is a synthesized gem that looks almost identical to a diamond. It is the perfect diamond alternative. This material is harder than most other semi-precious gems and is translucent, or devoid of color. Its surface is highly-reflective, making it sparkle and shimmer more than other gems, including diamonds. Surface facets can be smoothed or rounded, depending on the particular style of design.

What Can Harm Cubic Zirconia?

Cubic Zirconia is very hard, which makes it brittle and susceptible to nicks and chips. Guarding against careless bumps and paying attention to your surroundings helps protect your investment. It is important to guard your ring from hitting against walls, doors, or any other hard object that could scratch or mar the surface of the gem. In addition to getting roughed up, cubic zirconia can lose its shine from everyday household and beauty products. Coming into contact with the following products can dull your rings surface:
•Body lotions
•Perfume
•Hairspray
•Household sprays and cleaning solutions
These substances will form a film over your ring that can be difficult to completely remove; especially lotions and soaps. They can “cloud up” the gems surface and make it appear dull and lifeless. Even your skins natural oils can dull the stone if contact is not limited.

How To Care For Your Precious Cubic Zirconia Ring

Caring for your ring is easy and the process is the same as when you care for a real diamond. Both gems need to be worn only when necessary to avoid unwanted marks on the surface. Diamonds are the harder substance and can withstand more damage, but both should be protected and removed when doing any type of labor. Both gems can be steamed by a jeweler and should be every few months to make sure every layer of grime is removed.

How Jewelers Clean CZ  Gemstones

Daily Care Tips- How To Clean A Cubic Zirconia Ring

•Gently wash the surface of your ring with a mild dish washing soap and warm water. Use a soft bristled brush (harsher bristles can leave scratches) to gently lift and remove any dirt or chemical build-up.
•For hard to remove grime that has built up over time soak the ring in 1/3 of detergent and 2/3 parts hot water. Soak for a few minutes, scrub and rinse.
• Remove your ring before applying lotions, working out or lifting heavy objects. This will diminish your chances of soiling or scratching your ring.

If you simply prefer a solution that you don’t have to mix and measure yourself, there are several  jewelry cleaner products that can safely be used for Cubic Zirconia.

Sparkle Bright Jewelry CleanerSparkle Bright All-Natural Liquid Jewelry Cleaner is a good option if you want something that is non-toxic, chemical-free and can be used to clean almost any type of jewelry; Rhinestones and CZ’s included.

With proper care, a CZ ring can last you a lifetime. By taking extra care with handling, your brilliant stone will remain smooth and lustrous for a long, long time. A clean, well -cared for cubic zirconia engagement ring will have you looking and feeling like the brilliant, treasured jewel you are.

 

Image Credits: Engagement Ring, By Gary Bridgman (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Fascinating Facts About Cubic Zirconia Gemstones

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

Brown Zircon
Brown Zircon

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:

• Syntheticgems.org

• Globalsources.com

• 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

CZ Brilliant
CZ Brilliant

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