Are you after the spectacular brilliance of a diamond, but would rather not pay a diamond’s price? At our custom design jewelry business in Seattle and Bellevue, you can get what you want in the form of an enchanting cubic zirconia.
Cubic zirconia is a synthesized, or lab-created, stone that is very similar to a diamond in appearance. This gorgeous gemstone has many of the same uses as its counterpart. Cubic zirconia was first lab-created in 1976 and was the major competitor of real diamonds until synthesized moissanite entered the market around the end of the 1990s. Although, it is quite popular to use synthesized cubic zirconia, there is also a natural version that was first discovered in 1899 with the use of x-ray diffusion. At that time, however, the gemstone was largely ignored by its discoverers and the world.
Because of the negative history associated with diamond mining, a lab-created version offers peace of mind to those who want to avoid affirming the horrible practices of the past. Because these gems are created in a lab environment, they are also without many of the inclusions and blemishes found in natural diamonds. And, whereas real diamonds that are colorless and flawless are very rare, synthesized cubic zirconia is usually colorless and can easily be made flawless.
For buyers who prefer something with a more authentic diamond look, cubic zirconia creators can add touches of yellow or pink that ring truer to the standard for the preferred precious stone. On the Mohs scale, which measures gem hardness, cubic zirconia is an eight while real diamonds are a ten. Cubic zirconia, with its beautiful sparkle and hardness so similar to diamonds, is a natural stand-in for the precious stone. Much like other diamond alternatives, cubic zirconia has also been put to use outside the jewelry world. Because of its hardness and great ability to reflect light, scientists began using cubic zirconia as a cheaper alternative in lasers. It also has properties that allow for its use in thermal conduction.
White cubic zirconia is usually only lab-grown to a ½ carat size because the process to grow a lab-created diamond-alternative to a full carat is very costly. In some cases, the cost involved in creating larger cubic zirconia could cause the finished product to be sold for almost as much as a real white diamond. And because cubic zirconia is 1.7 times denser than diamond, a carat of this mineral is naturally smaller. Although cubic zirconia is used for thermal conductivity, diamonds are superior thermal conductors. This fact makes it possible to distinguish between the two gems by testing the thermal conductivity of each.
In order to improve the already popular cubic zirconia, gemologists have instituted two common practices to make these stones even more competitive on the jewelry market. The first enhancement is a procedure that applies a coating to the gem. This coating is comprised of a carbon that is diamond-like in nature. The overlay gives cubic zirconia even more properties similar to those of a diamond. For instance, it makes the stone harder and gives it a more intense luster. This improvement also lowers some of the fieriness associated with the synthesized gem and allows it to appear more diamond-like. The second popular enhancement is the application of metal-oxide. This coating is very thin, but it helps to give the stone a mystical look due to the iridescence it creates.