Cubic zirconia, commonly abbreviated as CZ, is a synthetic gemstone that has been produced commercially since the 1970s. It is a popular alternative to natural diamonds, as it shares many of the same physical and optical properties but is significantly more affordable.
Cubic zirconia is a form of zirconium oxide that is synthesized in a laboratory. It is made by melting zirconium oxide powder with a stabilizer, such as calcium or yttrium, at extremely high temperatures of around 4,982°F (2,750°C). The molten material is then cooled and crystallized into cubic-shaped crystals. These crystals are then cut and polished into gemstones.
Cubic zirconia is often used as a diamond simulant, as it closely resembles the look of a diamond. It has a high refractive index, which means it is very good at bending light and creating sparkle. It also has a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, which is similar to that of a natural diamond. However, cubic zirconia is much less dense than a diamond, which means that it weighs less for a given size.
Cubic zirconia comes in a range of colors, including colorless, yellow, pink, purple, and blue. The colorless variety is the most popular, as it is the most similar in appearance to a natural diamond. However, colored cubic zirconia can be a great option for those looking for a more unique piece of jewelry.
One of the main advantages of cubic zirconia is its affordability. Compared to a natural diamond of similar size and quality, cubic zirconia can be up to 90% less expensive. This makes it an attractive option for those who want the look of a diamond but do not want to pay the high price tag.
However, there are some downsides to cubic zirconia. One of the main disadvantages is that it is not as durable as a natural diamond. While it is relatively hard, it is still prone to chipping and scratching, especially if it is exposed to everyday wear and tear. Cubic zirconia is also not as valuable as a natural diamond, as it is a synthetic material that can be easily produced in a laboratory.
Overall, cubic zirconia is a great option for those who want the look of a diamond without the high price tag. While it may not be as durable or valuable as a natural diamond, it is still a beautiful and affordable option for those looking for a stunning piece of jewelry.