Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cubic Zirconia - Too Perfect To Be A Diamond

The beginnings of cubic zirconia started when scientists were looking for less expensive material for use in lasers and optical equipment. Cubic zirconia appears in nature, but it is very rare and the crystals are too small to be of use. Scientists in France, and finally Soviet Russia found the breakthroughs that led to the methods of growing larger crystals in the laboratory. Production of the crystals began in 1976, and by 1980 world-wide production reached 50 million carats. It is used in the manufacture of optical components (prisms, lenses, etc.), insulators, medical instruments (scalpels) and jewelry.
  • The use of CZ (as it is usually abbreviated) in jewelry began almost immediately after it was being mass produced. It is similar to diamond, optically so close that only a trained eye can tell the difference. A comparison of the two substances:
  • On the Mohs scale of hardness, diamond is the hardest substance known with a rating of 10. CZ rates from 8.5 to 9.
  • CZ is virtually flawless, while even the best of diamonds have minor flaws.
  • Pure CZ is colorless. Only the most rare diamonds are colorless.
  • The facet shapes of CZ are different than diamond.
  • CZ is heavier than diamond. A CZ stone compared to the same size diamond weighs 1.7 times more.
  • CZ is one of the most efficient thermal insulators known, while diamond is one of the best thermal conductors. This difference is one of the tests to differentiate diamond from CZ.
Cubic zirconia is not only used as a simulated diamond but can be colored to match practically any gemstone in appearance A reputable seller of jewelry will always tell when CZ is used in jewelry and not try to pass it off as genuine diamond. It is a beautiful stone in its own right. It is less expensive than a diamond, and can give the wearer much pleasure, and at least a very good approximation of what an authentic diamond is. But the cubic zirconia's man-made perfect appearance tells the tale. In all things beautiful, there is nothing quite like the imperfect beauty created by nature. Beautiful and versatile it may be, but cubic zirconia is too perfect to be a diamond.

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