Cubic Zirconia, or CZ for short, is a popular diamond simulant, created from zirconium oxide and produced in a crystalline form. This means that while the Cubic Zirconia mimics the appearance of a diamond, it does not share the chemical structure of actual carbon atoms that a diamond has.
A flawless clear gem, CZ can be made in a variety of colours depending on the oxide implemented throughout the growing process. The jewel is very close on the Mohs scale to the coveted diamond, scoring an 8.5 rather than a 10, so it can be cut into identical designs.
Yet another benefit, for those on a budget the CZ is an ideal choice. Perfect for cocktail parties and costume jewellery desirous of a sparkling gemstone, the gem is ideal for those looking to stun with a lavish look. The dispersion quality the jewel is much higher than that of the traditional diamond, meaning the internal ‘fire’ is stronger, more noticeable. This super sparkling quality makes the gem ideal for statement pieces of jewellery, like one-off occasion pieces.
CZ was initially discovered in 1937 by German mineralogists, but they failed to see the potential of the stone. In 1973, Russian scientists published a paper about their findings on the gem, which they had been researching to use in laser experiments. They were able to successfully grow the gems and began mass production in 1977. From there on out, the cubic zirconia proved so popular that there was already a demand for over 10 tonnes of it a year by 1980!
A beautiful cubic zirconia necklace can emulate a priceless diamond piece with ease for a special one-off like a costume party or birthday. CZ are also excellent value for money for those looking to sparkle on their wedding day, with a stylish tennis bracelet or delicate drop earrings that don’t cost the earth. A fun multi-hued gemstone ring can be a stylish addition to the classic cocktail party little black dress.
Cubic zirconias make ideal gifts for teenagers whose style preferences are still developing and changing. It can also be used in an identical setting as your engagement ring or other valuable jewellery so you can continue to wear the pieces when travelling without fearing for the loss of the expensive or sentimental pieces.
The gemstone has a place in spirituality and is believed to help promote feelings of self-confidence, victory and physical strength. Some even say it can be used to communicate with angels. It can be used as the traditional birthstone for April and different coloured CZ can be used to attract certain benefits. For instance, a green gem brings wealth, a yellow gem drives away depression and breeds success and a purple gem is thought to maintain good health.
You can make sure you enjoy your jewellery for years to come by properly maintaining it. An old, soft toothbrush can be an invaluable tool for washing the gem with a mild cleaning agent like that you would use on the dishes. Gently move the brush head in small circles over the stone to remove build up of perfume, oils, beauty products and the film of everyday wear and tear. Rinse off in warm water and dry. Be very careful when using harsh chemicals near your jewellery. If you’re cleaning and using bleach, or swimming in a pool using chlorine, it would be best to remove your jewellery rather than expose the CZ and the metal it is set in to the damaging chemicals. Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure you have a fabulously sparkling stone at all times.
Cubic zirconia is a fascinating alternative to the more expensive diamond, but it is also a gem to be loved for its own unique properties. A flawless, fiery stone available in most colours and eminently flexible for different styles and tastes of jewellery; CZ is proving popular for more reasons than its similarity in looks to a diamond.