Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

What is the Deal with Cubic Zirconia?

seaurchin

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2012
Messages
1,490
Since I'm looking at my options for a ring with interchangeable stones, I'm wondering right now why cubic zirconia seem to have a reputation as not- so -good right, though they look nice, have decent hardness (8.5 on the Mohs scale) and come in a wide variety of colors.

Is it just because it's a very plentiful and therefore inexpensive material? Or is there more to it than that? Maybe because it's a synthetic material?

Also, are CZs "cut" like other lab created stones or just poured into a mold? (I can't imagine anyone taking the time to cut all those tiny facets for a stone that costs next to nothing).
 
Last edited:

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
7,599
My 2p based on my own personal experience.

CZ looks fine in small stones, very sparkly. However, bigger stones look kind of glassy and a bit dull to me.

They definitely do not wear well, judging by my CZ tennis bracelet that I have for over 10 years; however, I am quite heavy with my hands.

I have CZ in earrings and the said tennis bracelet, not in rings or pendants.

DK :))
 

Made in London

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
290
CZ's are either hand cut or machine cut.Look at chrisUK cz's,they are beautifully cut
 

MidModMin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
70
I think CZs have a poor reputation in part because they (used to?) grow cloudy over time. I remember my mother having a few CZs bought in the 80s/90s that did and it was a bummer.

That said, I've read that this doesn't happen anymore with newer CZs.

My bias against CZs is that I don't know why they used to get cloudy and what change prevents them from doing so now – was it scratching? A film that developed? Some internal change? What is the difference now? I know my mother kept her jewelry pretty clean and wasn't usually hard on what she wore, so I'm not sure of the cause, and when I've looked into it, I haven't found good information.

Not knowing how the stone will wear over time makes it less appealing to me, though they can be very pretty. If more information were available about this, maybe they would be more popular?
 

MeowMeow

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
1,293
For me it's the reputation for clouding over time and the fact that they are usually set in metals that give me a rash. Plus I just prefer the comfort of knowing that my lab grown sapphire is sapphire just with a different origin. It's not glass or paste or whatever masquerading as a sapphire. CZ I still have a hard time getting over for some reason.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,737
I think the reason is that while many other lab created stones are actually chemically and physically identical to their natural counterparts, CZ is not a lab grown crystal of anything found in nature. CZ does have a very high refractive index, and a lot of dispersion, so it looks much more like a diamond than any other natural colored stone. Among people who facet for a hobby it's a favorite as it produced stunning stones, and is very inexpensive. It's also available in very large sizes, much more so than other lab created material such as sapphire and spinel. A lot of hobby cutters like cutting door knob sized stones, so CZ is their go to material.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
11,440
They got so fuzzy over time and the table facets frayed. If you don’t mind changing them every year they are ok.
 

nojs

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
201
As I posted elsewhere:
did a search and found this post on a faceting community about CZ turning cloudy:

“CZ did used to do this over time, and some cheaper stuff still will. But other better chemicals and such are now added into the mix to make the CZ more stable and for its longevity. CZ is Zirconium oxide. The additives are typically plus yttrium or calcium, with, if my memory holds true, yttrium being the better of the two flavors of CZ but the Ca variant having slightly higher dispersion.


All CZ needs these additives in it to even from the crystals and grow in the lab. I believe where the issues occurred in the older stuff was the additives they were using back then, but I could be wrong.”
 

nojs

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
201
I think it is very pretty, and if cut like a diamond, very difficult if not impossible to tell apart. I have all kinds of white gems, mined and MDD diamonds and many loose CZs. They are all pretty :)
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,737
I think with the older material it wasn't that it would turn cloudy on it's own, but that it could slightly absorb hand lotions and soaps over time and look cloudy due to this. With anything, proper cleaning is required.

I haven't cut piece in at least 10 years, but they do make very pretty stones.
 

Polyhex

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
Messages
268
CZ can be cut to perfect optical standards and when it is, IMO it gets closest to the look of a diamond (at least a D-colored one!)

I have early 80s studs that my father bought my mother when CZ was brand new, and they are still perfect and clear. I also have a 17 year-old Winfield's precision-cut interlap CZ and it too is perfect and clear.

This is my theory to explain the current lack of popularity-- when people are trying to replace a diamond in an engagement ring, they want the feeling of the simulant being special and high end. In the early 2000s there were a number of companies that produced "special CZ" -- hand cut, H&A cutting standards, amorphous diamond coating, etc. Moissanite was super expensive (for a diamond simulant) at that time, so it didn't make financial sense to do any of that with moissanite.

As the price of moissanite came down, women looking for a high end diamond simulant switched to that. I think a number of factors make it feel more special to people, including that it's still too expensive to be used in ugly cheap rings the way poorly cut CZ is, and then typically never cleaned!! People think CZ is ugly because that's what they have seen. It may also be harder to convince someone they should pay for the labor of an precision or H&A cut stone for material that has no underlying value (as opposed to a small underlying value.)

It's also possible that people prefer the look of moissanite, but I think majority of people have not had the opportunity to see precision-cut CZ and precision-cut moissanite side-by-side.

This is my old Winfield's/interlap CZ, you can see some of the arrows.

1604444949363.png
 
Last edited:

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
932
I have acollection of those high quality superbly cut CZs that Wink of High Performance Diamonds used to sell, and a couple of custom cut OEC CZs from Michael E of Gem Shoppe. They're gorgeous when spotlessly clean, and not bad looking with a little dirt on them, but definitely have a noticeable decrease in performance once they get dirty. Moissanite handles that much better. The stark D colorless diamond look of most CZs turned people off, too. Most people wanted a CZ that passed as something believeable that they could afford, and not many CZ wearers could afford a D color diamond in a large size. Wink offered warmer CZ colors, and one he sold as "Chinese White" was arguably the best. It was "steely," beautifully cut, and a great performer. Michael E. offered a G/H color that had a bit of ivory tint. I still like my CZs, but we have moissanite and lab diamonds options now.
 

Yelena

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2019
Messages
408
CZ are an excellent way of finding out which cut (shape and faceting) you like. I, for example, found out I really don’t like ovals the way I though :)
Such a great idea because until you wear a ring for a while and can compare it with others, it’s hard to know if you actually like the particular cut for the long term.
 

mrsthirdcharms

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
182
I agree that they’re a good way to try out cuts & styles to see if you like them, without sinking a lot of money into them.

I have a bad habit of browsing jewelry & putting too many on my favorites. When I keep coming back to something over & over, before I commit to buying it in gold/gemstones or something more expensive, I find it’s helpful to get a CZ version first. Some brands are better than others- Berricle is pretty good. I just ordered a pear bezel solitaire and their CZ version of alexandrite in a 3 stone ring to try out. It’s all SS, and well made. With coupon codes, I’m not breaking the bank on something that I may not like or wear very much.
 

Yelena

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2019
Messages
408
The challenge that I have had with CZ is that a lot of the settings that are used don’t look particularly good. I probably need to do a bit of research on different sellers. I would like to test drive a number of different cuts/styles before spending a lot of money on the real thing.
 

Beautiful-disaster

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
313
I was glad to read this thread as I had a diamond stud that has lost its counterpart. It looks so much like a diamond next to my ER but test says nope. My ER is (supposed to be) a 0.6 G VVS1 H&A DB994AC2-043A-49C7-870B-8F0B9A9912DB.jpeg in comparison.
I have other CZ studs that are quite obviously CZ’s to my eye so it was perplexing that this one stud presented so diamond like.
I was wondering how you could all tell the difference..... nice to know when they are good quality it’s very hard to tell.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
7,019
I was glad to read this thread as I had a diamond stud that has lost its counterpart. It looks so much like a diamond next to my ER but test says nope. My ER is (supposed to be) a 0.6 G VVS1 H&A DB994AC2-043A-49C7-870B-8F0B9A9912DB.jpeg in comparison.
I have other CZ studs that are quite obviously CZ’s to my eye so it was perplexing that this one stud presented so diamond like.
I was wondering how you could all tell the difference..... nice to know when they are good quality it’s very hard to tell.
Sad you lost an earing
I hate that
No matter what it cost
 

nojs

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
201
I was glad to read this thread as I had a diamond stud that has lost its counterpart. It looks so much like a diamond next to my ER but test says nope. My ER is (supposed to be) a 0.6 G VVS1 H&A DB994AC2-043A-49C7-870B-8F0B9A9912DB.jpeg in comparison.
I have other CZ studs that are quite obviously CZ’s to my eye so it was perplexing that this one stud presented so diamond like.
I was wondering how you could all tell the difference..... nice to know when they are good quality it’s very hard to tell.
Based on looks alone, I probably couldn’t tell the difference. I know my stones because I bought them, diamonds were expensive and had certificates.
 

nojs

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
201
The challenge that I have had with CZ is that a lot of the settings that are used don’t look particularly good. I probably need to do a bit of research on different sellers. I would like to test drive a number of different cuts/styles before spending a lot of money on the real thing.
I just buy loose stones and model them on temporary stone/ring holder :) Don’t even spend money on the settings.
 

GeliL

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Messages
115
Based on looks alone, I probably couldn’t tell the difference. I know my stones because I bought them, diamonds were expensive and had certificates.
I guessed it being the cushion because it has a slightly warmer tint than the rest of the stones :lol: I reckon that czs would either be white or other colors
 

nojs

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
201
I guessed it being the cushion because it has a slightly warmer tint than the rest of the stones :lol: I reckon that czs would either be white or other colors
You have a great eye! The cushion is a K. Only diamond I have as loose, others are set. The OEC cut CZ is also warmer, perhaps I-J color. The rest are “D”.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    November’s Jewels Of The Weeks
    November’s Jewels Of The Weeks
    Upgrade to Five-Stone
    Upgrade to Five-Stone
    Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond Heart
    Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond Heart

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top