About Cubic Zirconia
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) are the ideal conflict-free alternative to diamonds with similar sparkle and fire, but at a fraction of the cost. A CZ is a synthesized (lab created) crystalline material that is colorless, hard, and flawless. CZs are rated from A to AAAAA. All of our stones are graded AAAAA (the highest grade available)!
Cubic Zirconia is a mineral, zirconium oxide, which is very rare in nature, but can be man-made to create a brilliant gemstone with all the fire of a diamond. In fact, only a trained eye can tell a real diamond from cubic zirconia!
It took many years to invent cubic zirconias; the process lasted from 1892 until 1930 when the first cubic zirconia was introduced. 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 crystals in a lab. Cubic zirconia instantly became popular as a diamond substitute and has graced rings, earrings, necklaces and CZ bracelets ever since.
Carat Weight of Cubic Zirconia
A cubic zirconia with the same dimensions as a diamond is about 1.7 times heavier than the diamond. When the weight of cubic zirconia is given in carats, the number actually represents the carat weight of a true diamond of the same size. This is to standardize the scale so that the comparison between cubic zirconia and diamond is easy to make. Some cubic zirconia stones are measured by stone size rather than carat weight.
When buying cubic zirconia, assess the quality by weight (carat), clarity, color and cut. The quality of cubic zirconia can also be measured by a separate system with six categories. The six categories used to describe the quality of cubic zirconia are: AAAAA (the highest quality), AAAA, AAA, AA, A and AB (the lowest quality). The highest quality stones are hard and clear, while the lowest quality stones are cloudy and soft. Most cubic zirconias sold today are rated as AAA quality stones. All of the cubic zirconia jewelry sold by Everyday Elegance is graded AAAAA.
Diamonds and Simulated DiamondsThere are two types of diamonds: natural stones that take hundreds of millions of years to form deep below the Earth, and man-made diamonds able to grow to their full size after a few months in the lab. Other than their origins, natural and synthetic diamonds share the same properties since they are essentially the same stone. However, synthetic diamonds are 30 percent less expensive on average than natural diamonds, but both still command high prices, especially when it comes to high-quality diamonds.
Cubic zirconia is not a diamond at all. Instead, it is what jewelers call a simulated diamond, a gemstone cut to resemble a diamond. Cubic zirconia makes a good choice for a simulated diamond because it is completely colorless, but it differs from diamonds in several ways.
Both natural and synthetic diamonds share the same properties. Cubic zirconia, however, is softer than diamonds and does not conduct heat. Buyers can conduct several tests at home to determine whether that fabulous stone they found is a diamond or cubic zirconia.
Nothing is harder than a diamond. One way to determine whether a diamond is real is for the owner to rub a sharp edge of a diamond or diamond ring on glass. If it scratches the glass, it is a diamond. If it does not scratch the glass, it is likely cubic zirconia. However, some modern cubic zirconia stones are strong enough to make a small scratch on glass.
Diamonds do not hold heat at all, which is remarkable for a natural diamond whose origins lie in the upper mantle of the Earth where temperatures range from 932 to 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit. Cubic zirconia holds heat. The easiest way to conduct this test is for the owner to breathe on the stone. If the stone fogs up, it is holding in the heat from the owner's breath, which means it is cubic zirconia. If the stone does not fog up, then it is not cubic zirconia. It might be a diamond, but there is another simulated diamond stone called moissanite that also passes the heat test, so this is not a foolproof method for determining whether a stone is a diamond. However, it does prove whether a stone is cubic zirconia.
Diamonds have a slightly higher refractive index; a measurement of how much light passes through the stone, than cubic zirconia. The refractive index is so high that owners cannot see through the diamond. The owner can perform the light test by placing a loose gemstone over a piece of paper from a book or magazine with printed words. If the owner can see the printed words through the stone, then it is not a diamond. It could be cubic zirconia or another simulated diamond gemstone. However, diamonds that have a very shallow cut, which means the stone itself is not deep, can fail this test because the interior structure is not thick enough to fully reflect light.
A variation of the light test that gives results that are more conclusive is the UV test. It requires a UV light, also known as a black light, which produces light rays in the ultraviolet spectrum. The owner should hold the black light up to the stone. If it glows a fluorescent color, then it is a diamond. Cubic zirconia stones do not produce fluorescent light.