This manufactured oxide often goes by the trendy nickname of “CZ”, giving its relative new appearance on the gemstone scene instant identification from some of the older gems with more traditional origins. Cubic Zirconia is a synthesized form of zirconium dioxide artificially produced to emulate the brilliance and hardness of the diamond. Often called “Diamonique” in gem trades, this synthetic stone is a lab-created, lower cost answer to the diamond that offers – to the naked eye – virtually no differences.
Cubic Zirconia is generally colorless, with high refractive qualities than can rival the best-faceted diamonds, and is often substituted for diamonds in jewelry. Cubic Zirconia is made of cube-shaped crystal, giving it good brilliance for a variety of cuts, and is usually stabilized by calcium or yttrium. Denser than a diamond, this simulated stone has no cleavage and is very brittle. Its luster is similar to adamantine and under ultraviolet light, a colorless Cubic Zirconia will have a beige, greenish-yellow or off color and lose some of its brilliance.
Although initially ignored when first discovered, Cubic Zirconia has found a home in jewelry due to its availability, beauty, cost, and preference as an alternative for previous diamond substitutes. Cubic Zirconia is attractive in most cuts, including the 58-facet Brilliant Cut, and is used as both a central stone and accent stone. Reflecting spectrum and fire nearly equal to diamond, this newcomer to the gemstone scene is versatile and attractive in gold, silver, and platinum settings. Cubic Zirconia can be created in colors by adding metal oxides to render hues from the rainbow, plus a golden-brown similar to topaz or amber.
Cubic Zirconia has been accepted into the gemstone world and established its place in the jewelry industry since the 1970s. With its wide range of colors, modest cost and ability to mirror gemstones such as diamond, garnet, topaz, emerald, and violent gems, this simulated stone is truly a rare find.