Cubic zirconia (also known as CZ) is a crystal that is compared to a diamond because of its reflective qualities. Its hardness is on par with a diamond making it an affordable alternative. The origination of the Cubic Zirconia came from Russia using high powered lasers. Now cubic zirconia can be found in just about every kind of jewelry. Most jewelry that contains actual cubic zirconia is sterling silver or gold.
CZ's are similar to any other gem as there are variations in quality. What determines the quality of a cubic zirconia are the same as for diamonds. First is the cut and size of the gem. Second and most importantly is what is called the 4c's. The 4c's are clarity, cut, color and carat. The combination of all these traits are what helps determine the value of cubic zirconia.
One of the great advantages to cubic zirconia is that it can be manufactured to match just about any precious gemstone in color. The wide variety of colors includes greens (emerald), clear (diamond), red (ruby) and just about any color precious or semi-precious stone.
Extra tidbit: Did you know that actual diamonds are not even that rare? The cost of diamonds has been due to only a handful of suppliers controlling most of the worlds quantities as well as brilliant advertising over the decades to give a false sense of rarity and value.
The pros of CZ
CZ and diamonds have very similar qualities and due to this it can be very difficult to tell them apart.The great thing is CZ's cost much less than diamonds. Even with so many similarities CZ'a are much more affordable due to the over-inflated prices of diamonds. This difference means jewelry that is just as beautiful for a fraction of the cost. When graded on the diamond chart cubic zirconias have a high clarity grade of F and that is almost perfect. Some more perks of the CZ is it is a manufactured product it can have a near flawless internally and on the surface. Also CZ's are hard and are much more difficult to scratch than most natural gemstones are. also you can get much larger stones for less money.
The cons of CZ
Although cubic zirconia are similar in so many ways and can be very beautiful, they do not have the same status as diamonds and other precious stones and this hurts it's perceived value. CZ's are also more brittle than diamonds due to the synthetic hardness and although rare could break easier from impacts. Lastly, if you are wanting to resell a CZ piece, it does not hold monetary value like a diamond. That's why CZ's make wonderful personal pieces but not so great investment pieces.
The value of cubic zirconia usually correlates more to the personal value or attachment to the jewelry it is in rather than monetary value. That's why it is widely used to make mothers rings and other personalized pieces as the value is tied to the emotional value or attachment to the jewelry
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