Little Known Facts About
Cubic zirconia is a man-made gemstone resembling a diamond used in jewelry settings. German mineralogists discovered it in its natural setting in the early 1900s, 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 stones you see today have 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 this man-made gem. 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 this man-made gem created annually by using the method originally developed by the Soviet scientists.
During their production, which consists of the melting and cooling of the zirconium metal combined with the metal oxide, the formation of columnar crystals are produced and then cut into gemstones. Recently manufacturers have been covering the stones 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, and a simple scratch can easily remove the layer of metal oxide.
Because these stones so closely resemble diamonds, only a trained eye can distinguish which stone is the true diamond. The differences between them can only be seen under a microscope.
The notable differences seen under the microscope can be the distribution effect the stone has on light. It is not as hard as a diamond. It will weigh more than a diamond of the same exact size. In essence, these stones are flawless, unlike the diamond. Under a microscope, the cuts of these stones have notable differences to the cuts of a diamond.
A diamond is rarely a colorless stone, whereas, their popular look-alikes 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 these less-expensive stones, different metal oxides are used to create certain colors.
These man-made gems did not make its introduction to the market until the late 1970s and has since had a huge impact on the jewelry industry. Because of their inexpensive cost, 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.
The cubic zirconia's main competition, just recently created, is a synthetic monissanite. However, they have retained their popularity in the jewelry market.
Many people wanting the look of diamond jewelry without the price tag of diamond jewelry will opt for the cubic zirconia jewelry instead.
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