What is Cubic Zirconia?
Introduction to Synthetic Gemstones
Synthetic, man-made, lab grown: it all means the essentially the same thing, but that doesn’t have to deter you from purchasing stones that are not naturally formed. Almost always, synthetic gemstones are a cost-effective, accessible alternative to natural gemstones, but they are just as beautiful and useful! Jewelry designers often choose synthetic gemstones when making high volume designs.
Introduction to Cubic Zirconia
Cubic Zirconia is a well-known diamond alternative. Commonly known as CZ, it is grown in a lab and it is classified as a diamond simulant. CZ is made of zirconium oxide (zrO2) while natural diamonds are made of carbon. An interesting fact: Diamonds can also be lab-grown! CZ is a great alternative and it is commonly used in any form of jewelry because it is one of the most popular synthetic gemstones.
Cubic Zirconia’s name comes from the stone’s composition (zirconium). Also, the “cubic” part of Cubic Zirconia comes from its cubic crystalline form, which is the same as Diamonds. CZ originally came to be when lab scientists experimented with synthetic materials. Then in the 1970s, Russian scientists perfected the technique of growing Cubic Zirconia crystals.
Key Differences Between CZ and Diamonds
Both stones are usually naturally colorless. Natural Diamonds are a faint yellow or brown color, but CZ is always completely clear. Diamonds have a natural sparkle or brilliance, but you won’t find that in CZ. While CZ stones are still very sparkly and beautiful, they don't have the natural shine that Diamonds do. Adding color to Diamonds is uncommon because it is easier to choose another gemstone with similar appearance. CZ is commonly color treated and you can find them in virtually any color. Natural Diamonds have inclusions and flaws like any natural gemstone, whereas CZ is basically flawless besides tiny inconsistencies with lab-grown quality.
Because of the great difference in price between Diamonds and CZ, the quality and durability are factors that you have to think about when purchasing a gemstone. The saying “Diamonds are forever” is true - Diamonds are the hardest gemstone known, landing at a 10 on the Mohs Hardness scale, making them an exceptional choice for jewelry settings. CZ has an 8.5 rating, which makes them durable, but they are still vulnerable to natural wear and wear after time.
Metaphysical Properties of CZ
While CZ is a man-made stone, it still exudes some pretty powerful metaphysical properties. It is believed that CZ holds the same properties as zirconium. It is associated with the third eye, crown, AND solar plexus chakras. It is also an alternative to April’s birthstones, which are Diamonds and Clear Quartz. Cubic Zirconia is thought to help improve mental focus and clarity. People use it as a grounding stone because it is a very practical stone. It helps clear emotional barriers, release egotistical thoughts, and get rid of selfish thoughts.
How to Care for CZ
Like any gemstone, the best way to care for Cubic Zirconia is to be gentle. Soap isn’t even necessary when cleaning your CZ, just hot water and a soft bristle brush. Because the stone is hard and durable, it can even be cleaned by using steam. Avoid soaking the stone in water.