Cubic zirconia rings and diamond ones placed side-by-side can fool even a jeweler’s naked eye. Cubic zirconia sparkles and even has the dazzling fire diamonds are famous for. After all, they were both made under extremely high pressure and temperature. It may take thousands of years underground to produce a diamond. But it takes much faster, a matter of hours for cubic zirconia.
How Different Are They?
Cubic zirconia may look indistinguishable from a real diamond. But a jeweler, examining it closely will make out the differences. They sparkle, yes, but is not as radiantly as a diamond. The colors are less intense. But they have a greater fire or bursts of color, more than a diamond. Another distinction is weight. Cubic zirconia are about three fourths heavier.
Worth digressing for is the fact that a cubic zirconium-like mineral has once been found to occur in nature. The mineral had the same chemical composition and was called baddeleyite. This happened in the 1930s. No other similar occurrence is reported after that.
It was in the 1970s when Soviet scientists learned how to synthesize these crystals. The next decade, the Australian leaded crystal manufacturers, Swarovski & Co. began mass-producing the stuff.
Cubic zirconia is the oxide of the metallic element zirconium. Still, these synthetic jewels, used in cubic zirconia engagement rings, for example, are gorgeous gems. They are the substitute for diamonds. They’re almost as hard but much less expensive. So, if you’ve just been hitched, you may want to say, “Move over diamond. It’s a cubic zirconia engagement ring I’m after.” Then, eventually you embark on the search for cubic zirconia wedding rings. Yes, you can afford those.
Chemicals For Color
A cubic zirconia ring, in some respects, can make a diamond ring seem like a trinket. While a diamond has impurities, cubic zirconia can be completely unblemished. It can also be made to take on an array of color. This may be true of diamonds, too. But the process may take millennia and indeed are only happy accidents. Cubic zirconia can be made to have any and all colors of the rainbow easily. All is takes is a process called chemical doping. Specific oxides are added to produce different colors. Cerium oxide gives red, orange and yellow. Cobalt oxide makes lilac and violet, erbium oxide, pink. Those cubic zirconia eternity rings with emerald-like stones have vanadium oxide, turning them green.
The Affordable Option
Cubic zirconia is less delicate to cut than diamonds. Many jewelers combine them with the less expensive quality metals. Cubic Zirconia wedding rings, for instance, may be fashioned using rhodium plated sterling silver. A cubic zirconia solitaire ring may have be brilliant cut within a sterling silver setting. Those princess cut cubic zirconia rings may use a little copper in their settings.
Many couples do have diamond wedding rings. But, for safekeeping, a good number of people change to silver or white gold cubic zirconia rings whenever they travel. They look as beautiful as naturally-sourced precious stones and metals.
Caring for Cubic Zirconia
Since cubic zirconia is a hard material, you can use a nylon-bristle brush to clean them without fear of scratching the crystals. Brush gently first, then soak for some minutes in a mild detergent solution. Rinse and wipe dry with a clean cotton cloth. Make sure no soap residue is left because this will dull the gleam. Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners are also safe to use on cubic zirconia without fear of damage. Mens cubic zirconia rings should be cleaned more frequently to eliminate skin oils. Men tend to sweat more.
They may be simulated diamonds, but definitely not fake jewelry. Cubic zirconia are gemstones, precious in their own right.