Diamond jewellery has ruled the jewellery industry like kings for many decades but owning diamond jewellery is not possible for everyone given its high price. People want to adorn themselves with diamond jewellery on various occasions. To offer more accessibility and affordability to the desire to possess diamond jewellery, American diamond has come into the picture. American diamond is an affordable gemstone that appears similar to a diamond but is very different from a diamond. Cubic Zirconia or American Diamond is a man-made cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. It is hard and, generally, colourless and has a very close visual resemblance to real diamonds. Thus, CZ jewellery has gained a lot of popularity in the market for its similarity to real diamonds, low cost and durability. Since cubic Zirconia is synthesized in laboratories, these lab-grown cubic Zirconia stones are used to fulfill the requirements of the jewellery market.
Most people use the terms American Diamond and Cubic Zirconia interchangeably. Cubic Zirconia is called American diamond as the US was the first country to manufacture it in large quantities and thus named it American diamond. This guide will help you understand the importance of Cubic Zirconia in jewellery making and how it has evolved from the past.
History of Cubic Zirconia
Cubic Zirconia has a deep-rooted history behind its evolution as one of the finest imitations of the real diamond. The origin of Cubic Zirconia dates back to 1892 and at that time it was available in yellow color in the natural form of zirconium oxide. It was a long road of research from the naturally occurring zirconium dioxide to the dazzling Cubic Zirconia stones available in jewellery stores nowadays. In the 1930s, it was discovered that zirconium dioxide has great strength that can withstand extensive heating. This led to the usage of zirconium oxide in ceramics, laser machines, etc. But it wasn’t till 1977 that it was discovered how to grow Cubic Zirconia stones in labs. The technique was developed by Russian scientists who then started marketing the Cubic Zirconia stones as simulated diamonds though it didn’t have much impact on the jewellery market then. The entire popularity of CZ jewellery goes to Swarovski, the leading crystal jewellery brand worldwide. In the 1980s. it came up with its own version of Cubic Zirconia and the rest, as they say, is history!
Thanks to the discovery of the super cool "skull crucible" method by the Russians, CZ jewellery has attained a very special place in the jewellery market and the hearts of jewellery lovers. CZ jewellery offers a similar dazzling aesthetic look to the wearer as diamond jewellery. Besides that, it is very affordable, durable, and accessible making it even more special for women for any occasion. Nowadays, Cubic Zirconia has become a household name for imitation jewellery and enjoys special preference among diamond lovers.
The Craft behind CZ Jewellery
CZ jewellery is the finest faux diamond jewellery available in the market, therefore, great craftsmanship is involved in its making. CZ jewellery undergoes various stages of manufacturing and refinement to get its flawless appearance. Firstly, zirconium oxide powder is heated at 4982 degrees Fahrenheit with stabilizers like magnesium and calcium. With this heat treatment, zirconium oxide powder takes the form of crystals. Once the crystals start forming, they are gradually cooled so that they are stabilized. After this phase, the crystals are cut and polished into the desired shapes to make jewellery. This is just one example of the manufacturing process followed for crafting CZ jewellery. Different labs use different techniques to craft the CZ jewellery. You can even have Cubic Zirconia in different shapes like baguette-cut, oval-cut, or cushion-cut to suit the needs of your jewellery type.
Some of the attractive features of CZ are mentioned below:
- CZ is a synthesized crystal material that is hard and virtually flawless as compared to a real diamond. It has more fire than diamonds and sparkles in rainbow colours. Zirconium dioxide doesn’t have carbon bonding making it less susceptible to pressure whereas, diamond only has carbon atoms offering it impeccable capacity to withstand huge amounts of pressure.
- CZ offers you the most sustainable options if you want to purchase elegant yet affordable jewellery.
Every jewellery piece has some inspiration behind its making but there is no specific reason behind the Cubic Zirconia jewellery. It is elegantly designed to offer a sophisticated yet brilliant shine like the diamond jewellery. It is one of the most successful and realistic imitations of diamond jewellery that anyone can possess in any corner of the country without any hurdle.
Cubic Zirconia vs Real Diamond vs Zircon
Most people confuse Cubic Zirconia as zircon due to their similar appearance. But there is a significant difference between the two. Zircon is one of the oldest minerals available on the earth with the chemical composition of zirconium silicate while Cubic Zirconia is synthesized from zirconium dioxide. Zircon jewellery is available in various colors making it popular in the jewellery market. It has a high brilliance that makes it appear similar to a diamond. It is a distinct gemstone that is way more expensive than Cubic Zirconia. Earlier, zircon was predominantly used in jewellery making. But, now, the craze has decreased as many people have shifted their allegiance to Cubic Zirconia jewellery.
There are quite a few significant differences between Cubic Zirconia and real diamonds. Diamonds are harder than Cubic Zirconia with a Mohs scale rating of 10 while Cubic Zirconia stones fall between 8.5 to 9.0. Real diamond offers commendable durability whereas CZ being a synthetic gemstone is less durable. CZ stones can be worn in jewellery but are not as long-lasting as diamonds. CZ stones are nearly flawless while most diamonds have some kind of defect. Very rarely are diamonds truly colourless with most having a yellowish to brownish tinge while in most cases, Cubic Zirconia stones can be made entirely colourless. The major point of difference between CZ and real diamond is thermal conductivity. Cubic Zirconia stones are thermal insulators while diamonds are one of the most efficient thermal conductors making it easier for those with the right instruments to differentiate between the two.
Is Cubic Zirconia the same as a Lab-created Diamond?
Cubic Zirconia and diamond differ in various aspects making them distinguishable from each other. Besides that, Cubic Zirconia is not the same as lab-created diamonds. Both of them have different chemical compositions and properties. Lab-created diamond has same the physical properties as the diamond that is mined whereas, Cubic Zirconia doesn't contain carbon at all. Even if a diamond is grown in the laboratory, it has a similar structure to a real diamond. Cubic Zirconia is just the simulant of the real diamond. CZ has gained a lot of popularity among people when purchasing jewellery because CZ is affordable, durable, as well as resembles a diamond to a great extent making it the best and most successful imitation of a diamond to date. Various other faux diamonds are available in the market like moissanite but Cubic Zirconia has stolen the game by dominating a large part of the jewellery industry. Moreover, CZ ranks in the range of 8.5 to 9.0 on the Mohs scale for hardness which is the closest to the real diamond.
Types of Cubic Zirconia Jewellery
Cubic Zirconia is a classic stone making it an amazing and a rather perfect choice for making jewellery. Cubic Zirconia jewellery comes in various forms making it a suitable accessory for any occasion. The most common types of Cubic Zirconia jewellery comprise stud earrings, tennis bracelets, or minimalistic rings. All these types of jewellery are preferable if you want to wear them regularly or want a minimalistic look. On the other hand, if you want to set a style statement with heavy Cubic Zirconia jewellery then you can go for Zirconia necklaces, cocktail rings, elaborate cuffs, and choker sets.
Wearing CZ jewellery has become very fashionable among women. The prime reason for the same is that Cubic Zirconia offers great longevity as compared to the price that you pay for possessing it. If you wear CZ jewellery every day, it can last up to 2-3 years. On the other hand, if you wear CZ jewellery occasionally, it can roughly last up to 5 years. With time, CZ jewellery starts losing its charm making it scratched or cloudy. If you want to increase the shelf-life of CZ jewellery; then regular maintenance and careful cleaning are a must. This will help you retain the sparkle of the CZ jewellery.
Popularity of Cubic Zirconia Jewellery among Celebrities
CZ jewellery has not only grabbed the attention of the common man but also the celebrities of Hollywood and Bollywood. Many celebrities are seen on the red carpets, at TV events, or at award shows flaunting their elegant CZ jewellery. Celebrities can surely afford real gemstones but they still prefer imitation jewellery due to several reasons.
- Firstly, CZ jewellery appears similar to real diamonds and comes at a very less price as compared to expensive gemstones.
- Secondly, CZ jewellery is designed exceptionally well and it catches the attention of the paparazzi.
- Lastly, CZ jewellery is best-suited for travelling purposes. Celebrities travel a lot and if, in the due course they ever lose their CZ jewellery at the airport or hotel; it would be bearable because it is affordable. On the other hand, if the jewellery is made from real gemstones, then the loss incurred will be very hefty.
This makes CZ jewellery very popular among Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities.
Why Cubic Zirconia Jewellery is becoming the Hottest Jewellery Trend?
Cubic Zirconia was present earlier in the market but it wasn’t as popular among the jewellery buyers. But, nowadays, owning Cubic Zirconia jewellery has become the hottest trend in the jewellery market. It has emerged as one of the best imitations of diamond jewellery. But, to purchase the CZ jewellery over the diamond jewellery there must be concrete reasons to back up the trend. Five major reasons to contribute for the same are as follows:
- CZ jewellery is the best alternative for the real diamond as it appears similar to diamonds but comes at a very reasonable price when compared to diamond jewellery. Therefore, if you have a low budget but wish to go for diamond jewellery then purchasing the CZ jewellery will suit your needs perfectly.
- CZ jewellery is cheap to buy. Therefore, in case you lose it, you can easily buy a new one without much problem.
- CZ jewellery is designed and cut like real diamonds. You won't find any compromise in the quality of the jewellery even if you buy CZ jewellery. In fact, Cubic Zirconia has much greater clarity than real diamonds.
- Stones in CZ jewellery are very hard and will not break easily just like real diamonds. They are very hard and will continue to shine for a long time.
- Due to its affordability, CZ jewellery can be easily customized as per your wishes while customizing diamond jewellery can be a very expensive affair and hence, not feasible for everyone.
Nowadays, most women are inclined towards CZ jewellery because it is affordable and offers a whole range of options to choose from. Women can choose the design and color of the CZ jewellery as per their attire and needs. With this jewellery, women need not stay confined to just one jewel piece as is the case with diamond jewellery. CZ jewellery is cheap; therefore, women can have multiple pieces of CZ jewellery in a single go. All these reasons collectively make CZ jewellery preferable to women over real diamonds.
How to Shop for the Right Cubic Zirconia Jewellery for the Right Occasion?
Choosing the right kind of Cubic Zirconia jewellery for the right occasion can be a difficult process as there is no dearth of different options and designs available in the market. There are ample of CZ jewellery styles to choose from that are suitable for any occasion. But, selecting the correct piece of jewellery for the designated occasion requires a lot of effort. If you want to select the CZ jewellery for your D-day then the major focus of the jewellery buying process will start with the wedding ring. The ring becomes the centre of attention on the wedding day and you can add the fire of a beautiful CZ ring to your D-day. Based on your outfit choice, you can go for a statement necklace with elegant bangles and a maang tikka.
CZ jewellery also goes well with western dresses. Western dresses are simple yet elegant ones therefore, CZ jewellery with minimalistic designs will work best with these dresses. Pairing up a single-line necklace or an understated choker with CZ studs will make you stand apart from the crowd. You can wear these jewellery options at some casual occasions or office parties to complete your look as well.
For religious ceremonies or family functions, ethnic outfits are more suitable for your needs. Pairing up the right kind of CZ jewellery with ethnic wear can be a difficult task. So, to look your most appealing during such occasions, you can choose an elongated or enhanced necklace based on your attire. You can pair this up with glitter earrings to complete your look.
Maintenance of Cubic Zirconia Jewellery
Maintaining CZ jewellery requires a lot of care because unlike diamond jewellery it is rather easily scratched and can become cloudy. So, you must pay proper heed to its preservation. Below are some of the ways that you can follow to keep your CZ jewellery safe and clean.
- The very first thing that you can do to protect your CZ jewellery is to avoid the factors that can damage it. For example, avoid wearing CZ jewellery while doing outdoor activities because doing so will easily invite scratches on the jewellery.
- Make sure to keep the CZ jewellery away from any sort of chemicals like soaps, detergents, or hairspray. Also, keep an eye on your CZ jewellery so that it doesn't come in direct contact with the pool's water while swimming or while applying lotion. These things can deteriorate the shine of CZ jewellery ultimately diminishing its longevity.
- While cleaning the CZ jewellery, always use a soft cloth or a brush with warm soapy water. This will help the stone to maintain its sparkle in the long run. Make sure to clean your CZ jewellery once or twice a month to witness the ever-lasting sparkle of the jewellery.
- If the stone in your CZ jewellery becomes too cloudy then take the help of a professional jeweller for cleaning the CZ jewellery.
Even if you are taking proper care of CZ jewellery, there is a high probability you may encounter a situation where your CZ jewellery has turned black. If such is the case, then don’t panic. There are some easy home remedies to treat your blackened CZ jewellery mentioned below:
- Take warm water and add liquid detergent to it to make it soapy.
- Immerse the blackened CZ jewellery in the mixture and keep the mixture undisturbed for 2 minutes.
- Scrub the outer part of the jewellery with a new soft bristle brush.
- Rinse the jewellery well and allow it to dry.
- You can repeat the above process if necessary.
In case, this process is unable to bring back the shine of your CZ jewellery then go to a professional jeweller for assistance.
Some Facts about Cubic Zirconia Jewellery
Cubic Zirconia has come a long way in the jewellery industry. Here are some lesser-known facts about this stone mentioned below that will surprise you:
- CZs were initially ignored by the jewellery industry and only gained popularity after Russians grew them in the laboratory.
- A Cubic Zirconia stone is heavier than a diamond of the same size. CZ is approximately 75% heavier than diamond.
- CZs have such a high pedigree implying their high quality that many world-famous brands use them in their jewellery items.
- CZs with a special amorphous coating give a false positive diamond reading when placed under a Raman spectroscope used to authenticate diamonds making them nearly indistinguishable from real diamonds making it tough for the experts to make a proper judgment.
Cost of Cubic Zirconia Jewellery
The cost of CZ jewellery plays a key role in selecting the jewellery of your choice from a large pool of options. The cost of CZ jewellery starts from around INR 1,000 and can go up to approximately INR 20,000. The cost of the jewellery varies according to the type of jewellery that you choose to buy. For example, a CZ nose pin will be way cheaper than a CZ necklace.
Cubic Zirconia is not the only faux diamond available on the market. There are other stones like white sapphire, crystal, moissanite, etc. which can be used as an alternative for the CZ. You can go for these stones if you like their jewellery pieces but, these stones are as good as Cubic Zirconia because CZ holds properties that closely resemble the real diamond. On the Mohs scale CZ's rank as high as 8.5-9.0 in hardness while other stones rank less than this. Therefore, CZ is the best and the closest stone to diamond as compared to other alternatives in terms of hardness. If we go for a parallel analysis of Cubic Zirconia and moissanite then CZ is a budget-friendly option with greater clarity but, in terms of maintenance and cleaning, it is easier to clean moissanite than CZ.
The Measure of CZ Stone Quality
Measuring the quality of the CZ stone jewellery is a very critical aspect before you invest in it. You should only purchase CZ if you are aware of its quality otherwise it won’t help you in the long run. Below are some of the crucial aspects that you must be aware of to determine CZ stone quality:
- CZ quality grades
There are three types of quality grades for CZ stone i.e. A, AAA, and AAAAA. Grade A represents the lowest quality of CZ that can be easily damaged. 3A refers to the stone with medium quality and 5A represents the best quality of CZ stone jewellery that you must ideally possess.
- 4Cs and CZ
While determining the CZ stone quality, pay proper attention to the 4Cs of CZ stone: clarity, color, cut, and carat. If all these 4Cs fall in place, then you are good to go with the CZ stone. CZ comes in various cuts and designs giving it the required clarity and color for your needs. Besides that, the carat of CZ doesn’t increase exponentially like diamonds but it does increase with the increase in weight.
Cubic Zirconia jewellery covers a broad range of products to choose from. With this guide, you will have received a fair idea about its origin, utility, and its similarities to and differences from real diamonds. With this simulated diamond in the jewellery market, possessing diamond-like jewellery has become more affordable and accessible without compromising on quality. The price range of CZ jewellery starts from INR 1,000 which makes it quite affordable for the general populace in the country. Earlier, CZ was not given much importance but now, it has changed the whole picture of the jewellery market.
CZ jewellery is easy to maintain and comes in various price ranges therefore, you should buy it today. Moreover, it will go with every occasion and attire making it one of the most popular jewellery choices to go for. With the minimal price of CZ jewellery, you can even wear it daily without causing any harm to your skin. CZ jewellery will stay by your side in the long run with a small investment. So, why not add the sparkle and fire of CZ jewellery to your wardrobe and feel like a freshly minted coin whenever you wear it?