Little Known Facts About Cubic Zirconia



Cubic zirconia is a man made gemstone resembling a diamond used in jewelry settings. German mineralogists discovered cubic zirconia in its natural setting in the early nineteen hundreds, but has not been found since. It was originally created to use a refractory material, which is impervious to heat and chemical damage. Scientists developed cubic zirconia as a new material to be used in lasers and other optical operations.

The cubic zirconia you see today has been created in a laboratory by combining the metals of zirconium and oxide through extreme heat and a monitored cooling process. The temperature required to melt the zirconium is so extreme platinum containers could not be used in the melting process. Soviet scientists developed the method still used today to create the carat stones of cubic zirconia. The process entailed using the zirconium itself to hold the molten form of zirconium. The extreme temperature used to melt the zirconium is created by the use of a very large microwave. It allowed the center zirconium to melt while the outer layer remained cool and solid to hold the molten form. By 1980 there were 50 million carats of cubic zirconia created annually by using the method originally developed by the Soviet scientists.

The production of the cubic zirconia, the melting and cooling of the zirconium metal combined with the metal oxide, formation of columnar crystals are produced and then cut into gemstones. Recently manufacturers have been covering the cubic zirconia with a thin layer of carbon. The process has resulted in making the material harder. It has also given the material a more radiant, diamond-like look overall. Covering the stones with a very thin layer of metal oxide creates the iridescent effect. Unfortunately the effect is not permanent; a simple scratch can easily remove the layer of metal oxide.

Because the cubic zirconia so closely resembles a diamond, only a trained eye can distinguish which stone is the diamond. The differences between the diamond and the cubic zirconia can only be seen under a microscope. The notable differences seen under the microscope can be the distribution effect the cubic zirconia has on light. The cubic zirconia is not as hard as a diamond. A cubic zirconia will weigh more than a diamond of the same exact size. The cubic zirconia has in essence no flawless unlike a diamond. Under a microscope the cuts made in a cubic zirconia have notable differences to the cuts of a diamond. A diamond is rarely a colorless stone where as the cubic zirconia can be made with no color at all. Cubic zirconia can be made in almost any color one could wish for. To produce the color in the cubic zirconia different metal oxides are used to create certain colors.

Cubic zirconia did not come make its introduction to the market until the late 1970s and has since had a huge impact on the jewelry industry. Because the inexpensive cost of the cubic zirconia, its resistance to wear and its close resemblance to the diamond, the cubic zirconia has become one of the most used gemstones as diamond replacement since its introduction to the market in the 1970s. The cubic zirconia's main competition was just recently created is a synthetic monissanite. However, cubic zirconia has retained its popularity in the jewelry market. Many people wanting the look of diamond jewelry without the price tag of diamond jewelry will opt of the cubic zirconia jewelry instead.




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