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When considering the purchase of cubic zirconia jewelry, the first thing one should look for is the size and clarity of the stone. Like genuine stones, cubic zirconia comes in different grades which determine its quality. The highest quality of cubic zirconia has a beautiful brilliant appearance, while the lower grades look more like ordinary glass.
The main component of cubic zirconia is zirconium oxide, which goes through a melting process to produce the stone. The processing of the ingredients, along with the proportions of formula and purity of the ingredients, are what determine the quality of the cubic zirconia stone. If one should become unhappy with their stone, many retailers offer a lifetime guarantee for their cubic zirconia jewelry.
There are many styles to choose from when buying cubic zirconia, and just as many colors, though it is most commonly without color. The synthesized material is the cubic, crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. It has a visual likeness to diamond, which has made it a competitor of diamonds for more than thirty years. Most often, the differences between a diamond and cubic zirconia cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The contemporary production of cubic zirconia has caused the crystals to be more flawless than diamonds, which generally have some sort of very small defect. Most diamonds contain a tinge of yellow or brown, with only the rarest being completely colorless, while cubic zirconia can be produced virtually or completely colorless.
In comparison with diamonds, cubic zirconia is not as hard as a diamond, but is significantly harder than most natural gems. In terms of weight, a diamond will be about 1.7 times lighter than a cubic zirconia stone of the same size. Cubic zirconia has a greater dispersive power than a diamond, which means it has a more prismatic fire.
When determining the quality of cubic zirconia, like other imitation and real stones, one needs to look at the color, carat, cut, and clarity. The grades in these four categories will make up the overall quality. Synthetic stones are made of a denser material, causing them to be heavier in carat weight than diamonds. The highest quality stone will be colorless, while the lower end of the scale will comprise pale, unevenly tinted stones.
The transparency of a stone is what determines its clarity. For diamonds, the clarity comes about naturally, but the process and proper mixing of ingredients is what gives cubic zirconia its clarity. The most important factor, though, is the cut. The stone should be cut with proper proportions to maximize its fire. The Brilliant Cut is a measurable standard which has 58 facets cut at mathematically determined angles. This reflects maximum light to expose its brilliance.
When you're buying CZ jewelry, you look at quality for the price. Some CZ pieces are fairly expensive because they have nice mountings in 14k gold or something similar. This is naturally more expensive, but 14k gold is good quality gold.
Also, as tempting as it may be to buy a bigger stone because it is much cheaper than a comparably sized diamond, resist the urge. If you want jewelry that looks like the real thing, going smaller is better. Having an egg on your finger screams "fake," and quite frankly, is in poor taste.
Keep it to a carat or under and you can keep even the sharpest eyes guessing.