Many of us who have an interest in jewelry and stuff like that must have come across sterling silver jewelry embedded with glittering crystals with CZ engraved on it. Very few actually know what CZ stands for. CZ is “cubic zirconia”, which is designated to the man made diamond simulating crystals embedded in these jewelries. Cubic zirconia jewelry is a great gift item for any season, any occasion. Cubic Zirconia crystals are encrusted in sterling silver to create magnificent pieces of jewelry like pendants, rings, etc.
There are particularly two types of artificial crystals:
Synthetic: These crystals are inspired from their natural counterpart and both have almost similar properties. Diamond and synthetic diamonds are examples of such stones with the synthetic variety having the same properties like the natural one.
Simulant: These crystals are like their natural counterparts but are distinct in terms of properties. These distinct properties are such that they provide the same attractiveness and luster as that of the natural ones. This is where the cubic zirconia crystals come in with their exuberant colors unlike the diamonds that they resemble in terms of attractiveness and shine. Cubic zirconia jewelry is usually heavier than a diamond even though they might have the same dimensions.
Properties of CZ Jewelry
* Though many may confuse zirconia with zircon but the fact is that both are very different compounds. Chemically speaking, zirconia is the crystalline form of Zirconium oxide (ZrO2), whereas Zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4) is known as zircon.
* For any gemstone the fainter the color the more valuable it is and this rule holds good for CZ crystals too. Laboratory made gemstones like cubic zirconia can have their colors predesigned.
* In terms of clarity the more unwanted minerals are extracted from the crystal the more clarity it has and hence it becomes more expensive. Being designed in a laboratory the CZ crystal holds more clarity than a diamond.
* Cubic zirconia has more weight than a diamond as the minerals which comprised in it are denser than those present in a diamond.
* These are also very close the diamonds in terms of hardness. On the hardness scale for gemstones (Mohs’ scale) the CZ crystals range from 8.5 to 9.
* The CZ crystals shine almost like the diamonds as they have refractive index very close to that of the diamonds. Their refractive index range from 2.15 to 2.18 to the 2.417 of natural diamonds.