What would you think about Cubic Zirconia of AAAAAA quality?
Cubic zirconia is a known diamond simulant widely used in jewelry. Usually, jewelry retailers tell their customers what the stones set in jewelry are made of. Though some of them try to veil this fact claiming the coated cubic zirconia is nearly the same as natural diamond. Indeed, CZ's facets sparkle in the sun like diamond's so that inexperienced person can mix it up with natural diamond, novice but not a professional or a person who has once seen natural diamond. Thus, what's the difference between CZ and real diamond?
First of all, cubic zirconia is of absolutely different chemical composition. While diamond consists of pure carbon CZ consists of zirconium oxide plus calcium or yttrium.
Different chemistry influences CZ's physical properties greatly. Cubic Zirconia is not so hard as diamond. Though it is rather wearable in jewelry, you should be careful not to break it. Its hardness rates from 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale vs. diamond's 10.
In addition, cubic zirconia is heavier than diamond, for example 1k diamond equals 6.5mm in size while 1.13k CZ is only 5.5mm in size - less than you might expect. So, when purchasing CZ you should keep in mind this fact and you'd better consult CZ weight conversion cart.
As for durability, CZ is considered to be rather durable stone, though its main disadvantage is that it fades in time and becomes cloudy. In this case it seems useless to have durable but faded gem.
What CZ is praised for is its luster. In a good light it sparkles brightly and it resembles diamond gem for non-professionals, however it's not hard to differentiate diamond from cubic zirconia when both of the stones are brought together.
With this in mind, do you think the abundance of letters 'A' will greatly influence the quality of cubic zirconia?
However, if you want to save money and still want your jewelry to have diamond fire there is a better option than CZ even of AAAAAA quality. Cultured diamonds. What are they?
Cultured or lab grown diamonds are those created by man. They have the same chemical properties as natural diamonds have - created diamonds are made of pure carbon. A tiny piece of natural diamond is put into a chamber where there is super high temperature and pressure, like those in Earth's mantle where natural diamonds have been formed for hundreds of years. Then this tiny stone is grown individually up to the size of 2, 3 or maximum 5 carats. What is more, created diamonds are of the same crystal structure as natural diamonds, where atoms of carbon are highly symmetrically arranged so that it's impossible to tell the difference between cultured and naturally-occurring diamonds.
Chemistry of man made diamond determines its physical and optical properties. Man made diamonds are tough and unscratched, wearproof and fadeless, durable and of course possess that incomparable fire and luster typical for real diamonds. In addition, cultured diamonds are as solid as real diamonds (they rate 10 on the Mohs scale). The differences are their age and price.
It takes only several days to grow cultured diamonds: three or five days depending on the size of the stone, while natural diamonds take centuries to be formed. As the process of creating diamonds is not so consumptive and does not imply huge resources to mine the stones consequently the price for created diamonds (even fancy colored diamonds) is lower. So, created diamonds are real diamonds with all the properties you expect from diamond however they are much affordable.
In fact, the only stone that can substitute diamond is diamond for it is a unique gem and not any other stone even of superb quality can replace it.