Get Luxury and Affordability with Cubic Zirconia
Cubic Zirconia is a mineral called zirconium oxide, which is very rare in nature. It is also a manufacturable gemstone that dazzles with all the fire of a natural diamond without the cost. In fact, only a trained eye can tell real diamonds from Cubic Zirconia gemstones. These similarities have made it a natural choice for jewelry, included in necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, and numerous other pieces. If you're looking for a special piece of jewelry at a more accessible price, cubic zirconia could be a perfect choice.
Where Does Cubic Zirconia Come From?
Though not as rare as natural diamonds, Natural Cubic Zirconia is still quite an elusive stone. It is most commonly found in Germany and surrounding regions as "zirconium oxide" crystals within the mineral baddeleyite. These tiny structures don't have any practical applications and are seldom specifically mined.
While it does exist in nature, all CZ in jewelry is lab-created. Manufacturing ensures fewer flaws and inclusions, which lends itself to bright and glittering gems. To make the stone, professionals take a mixture of high purity zirconium dioxide powders and stabilize it using magnesium and calcium. Once this step is complete, a gem can be formed using several methods, including solution growth, extreme heat, and pressure. Once a stone is formed, it is expertly cut to reveal facets that unleash its decorative fire.
Faux and Fabulous Through History
This gem's story began in 1892 with an inauspicious start. When scientists first came across it in the wild, they had no use for it, and it faded into obscurity as a valueless stone. Then, in the 1930s, German mineralogists rediscovered the naturally occurring cubic form of zirconium oxide (CZ for short) in metamict zircon. The German mineralogists M. V. Stackelberg and K. Chudoba began experimenting with the stone seven years later but did not give it an official name.
It wasn't until the 1970s when Soviet scientists, looking for a new material to use in lasers and other optical applications, perfected a method for growing Cubic Zirconia stones in a lab. It was then it received its proper name. After that, Cubic Zirconia instantly became popular as a diamond substitute. It has graced engagement rings, earrings, necklaces, and CZ bracelets ever since.
Types of Cubic Zirconia Jewelry
Cubic Zirconia gemstones are as dazzling as any natural stone and come in every color of the rainbow. The clear, colorless stones are equivalent to a perfect "D" on a diamond's color grading scale, but you can buy them for so much less. Cubic Zirconia stones are much heavier than diamonds, so their carat weights are just diamond equivalents. When looking for a stone, you can seek them out in any style or setting.
Jewelers may cut Cubic Zirconia gemstones into any shape, including round, oval, and princess, in everything from earrings to rings. They come set in gold over silver, sterling silver, white, or yellow gold jewelry. Some Cubic Zirconia jewelry recreates the look of art deco designs, and there's also CZ jewelry styled in the over-the-top decadence of the 1980's.
Picking a Piece for Any Occasion
Because the stone is clear and brilliant, it pairs perfectly with nearly any outfit or occasion. Because of its similarity to diamonds, Cubic Zirconia is a popular centerpiece for jewelry of every variety, including rings, earrings, and pendant necklaces. White CZ is also commonly used as an accent stone to bring out the color of other gemstones like sapphires or rubies. The styling opportunities with CZ jewelry are limited only by your imagination! Wear simple Cubic Zirconia stones set in gold or silver for a classy, understated look or a multi-stone piece for plenty of sparkle. You might even use colored Cubic Zirconia to complement the color of casual or formal attire.
You may also consider a piece as a birthday gift for December babies. The gem is one of that month's birthstones, so it makes an ideal present. If you have a December birthday, wear this stone to show off your birth month with bright and shining pride.
Cubic Zirconia FAQs Answered
Although it may look like a diamond, this stone is very different and has its own fun facts. From cleaning to celebrity usage, here are some answers to commonly asked questions.
How do you take care of Cubic Zirconia?
Cubic Zirconia is harder than most gemstones (8.5 on the Mohs scale) other than diamonds and is tough and durable. That doesn't mean it won't need care, though. Cubic Zirconia jewelry requires frequent cleaning to remove any oils that could dull the stone's brilliance. Use any conventional jewelry cleaning solution and dry it with a soft cloth. Store your Cubic Zirconia rings, CZ earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in dark areas or in a box when not in use.
Do any celebrities wear Cubic Zirconia?
It may come as a surprise, but some celebrities prefer a Cubic Zirconia stone to a genuine diamond. Lupita Nyong'o, Hailey Baldwin, and Kate Hudson all wear costume jewelry containing this lab-created gem, both in their everyday lives and on the red carpet. In Hollywood, many stylists select CZ jewelry without noting they are not diamonds. They are versatile enough that they match many star-studded events and work for numerous famous faces.
How do you judge the quality of the stone?
Interestingly enough, there is no industry standard for Cubic Zirconia stones. However, they may come in grades A, AAA, and AAAAA. Stones rated A are lower quality and may suffer damage and defects more easily. On the other side of the coin, AAAAA stones are very high quality and look nearly identical to diamonds. These stones are large and strong, flawless, and without inclusions. Due to the lack of industry standards, you may find little difference between A and AAAAA. So when looking for a good quality diamond simulant, simply seek out large carat ones that come in a lovely setting in the color you want.
They may not be diamonds, but that doesn't mean Cubic Zirconia doesn't offer opulence and elegance. Choose a piece that reflects your fashion sense, whether for a formal party or just for daily wear.