When it comes to Cubic Zirconia, people often feel that it is the cheaper version of the real thing. They sure are the look-a-likes of a diamond, but have their own stature and market. A Cubic Zirconia, not to be confused with the real gemstone Zircon, is basically the crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. They are man- made gemstones that are then classified in various grades and quality levels just like an earth-mined stone. Call it CZ, Zirconia or Cubic Zirconia, they have their own individual characteristics that differentiate it from other stones and give them the resultant price tag. Here are some of the features of a CZ that will help you in knowing these gemstones a little better.
A cubic zirconia emits much more sparkle and fire when cut as compared to a diamond. This is a dead give-a-way that it is not a real diamond but is simulated.
The density of a CZ is between 5.6 and 6.0 g/cm3, making it 1.65 times denser and 75% heavier than a real diamond.
3 Mohs Scale
A CZ weights 8-8.5 on a Mohs scale, making it harder than most of the semi-precious gems. But, it will not be as long lasting as a natural stone/diamond, and not be as durable. They will eventually lose some of its shine if not taken good care of.
4 Refractive Index
A CZ has a high refractive index. It refracts colors like red, orange, green, yellow, violet, and blue in a ray of light.
Cubic Zirconia can be graded from A to AAAAA, where A is the lowest and 5A is the highest in terms of quality. This grading affects the look and the price of the stones. So if you are about to buy jewelry that adorns CZ stones, you must know how they are categorized to make the correct choice.
Just like diamonds, CZ’s are also classified with the Four Cs; Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat.
A Cubic Zirconia is faceted pretty much the same way as a diamond. It is essentially the craftsman's skill to cut the stone in such a way that it brings out the best feature in it. There are a variety of stone cuts available. Some of the most popular ones include; Brilliant Cut (Standard Round Stone), Princess Cut (Square shape) and the Heart Shaped Stone.
While manufacturing a CZ, some cloudiness can appear in the stone, this would lower its value. Thus the clearer the stone the higher its value goes just like a diamond’s would.
Sometimes trace elements are added to the CZ during its manufacturing process to give it an appearance of a colored stone. Hence the stone would be graded based on the intensity and uniformity of the color. Usually they are white stones and a perfectly clear stone will have a higher grading than the one with any tinge of color. Having said that, Cubic Zirconia is available in various colors like Pink, Lavender, Green, Aqua, Champagne and Yellow.
Just like a diamond, a CZ is graded by its weight. Since it is denser than an actual diamond, it is heavier in volume.
The commonly used grades in a CZ are A, AAA and AAAAA
The A grade is the lowest and used by artists and craftsmen to beautify their art and add a bling effect with CZ embellishments. AAA grade Cubic Zirconia are highly polished and thus have more shine and luster than an A grade stone, thus costing slightly more. They however do not have the same level of polishing and facets of an AAAAA grade stone. They will usually have some polish or grain lines on them and are used by mass jewelry manufacturers. The AAAAA grade stones are polished and cut brilliantly by skilled expert craftsmen to look as close as a real diamond as possible. This grade of CZ is top of the line and is of the highest quality with a price tag more than its AAA counterparts.
At Adastra only our signature faceted AAAAA grade Cubic Zirconia are used. Our motto has always been the ethical sourcing of raw materials and business practices, using only the very best. This has built our niche brand that stands firm on loyalty and trust of our customers.
We follow a distinctive process when it comes to making a CZ, and use only the best and most perfect ones in our fine jewelry.
Here’s a look at the process of procuring a dazzling Cubic Zirconia at Adastra.
1. Rough selection
Selecting a rough to work on is the primary step in creating the most astonishing CZ. This will ultimately decide on its grading.
Thus finding a bubble-free, non-blackish rough without inclusions is of prime importance here. Our craftsmen go through tons of pieces to pick out the very best, to give you the finest.
2 Marking stones
We mark the stone shapes that will eventually be brilliantly cut into fascinating shapes.
3 Manual faceting
Our skilled stonecutters manually give rough facets to each carefully selected piece before it is sent for machine faceting.
4 Machine faceting
The stone is then machine faceted to reflect light accurately. Any crooked or uneven lines, which are not equidistant, give the stones its grading to 3A. A perfectly faceted stone with high precision then is graded 5A.
The faceted stone is then mounted on lacquer for polishing and smaller facets.
6 Machine Polishing
The first polishing process happens on a machine to give it that clear-cut finishing.
7 Manual Polishing
The final polishing is done by hand to give you a superior finish. Our craftsmen do away with any bump or porosity in the stone, skillfully.
8 Diamond Dust
This is a step that is very rarely used by others. We use real diamond dust to coat every CZ to give it its heavenly sparkle and shine.
9 Quality Check
This is the last stage for checking the quality of the CZ, which is done intricately.
A sieve is then used to gauge and bag the polished and faceted stones into its respective sizes.
11 Final studding
Only the most perfect and finest Cubic Zirconia diamonds are used in Adastra’s jewelry. We pride ourselves at using a meticulous process of acquiring premium quality stones, made with morally sourced and the best raw materials. Taking good care of your stones will make them last you a lifetime of luxury and elegance!