What is zirconia

Zirconia

Zirconia - the artificial crystal from the laboratory

To this day, zirconia is often mistakenly referred to as an artificial diamond. The zirconia is a crystal clear single crystal, but due to its typical diamond cut shape, it is only apparently reminiscent of a real diamond because it consists of a different material. In addition, in contrast to diamonds, zirconia has disadvantageous properties. It can be scratched easily and loses its radiance over the years. Above all, the haze is a property that is a shame when it comes to high-quality or significant jewelry.

Zirconia came onto the jewelry market in the early 1970s. The customers were enthusiastic and the market was flooded with zirconia stones. Many of these zirconia jewelry have now completely lost their shine. For jewelry that is very important and should be worn for many years, diamonds convince with many advantages. So also for wedding rings. A diamond does not scratch and never loses its brilliance over centuries. Diamonds are forever.

What is a zirconica?

The zirconia (technical term: cubic zirconia) is an imitation stone. This synthetic single crystal is often considered an imitation of the diamond. From a technical point of view, however, this is completely wrong. Because the zirconia consists of zirconium oxide and not like a diamond of carbon. Therefore, from an elementary point of view, it is not an artificial diamond replica, but a completely different crystal. In addition, a zirconia is artificially produced. Thus, its origin is not even close to that of a real diamond.

The owner of a zirconia piece of jewelery should be aware that this artificial stone can lose its radiance over the years - a real diamond, on the other hand, retains its fiery sparkle for a lifetime.

How is zirconia made?

The special thing about the production of a Cubic Zirconia is the high melting temperature of approx. 2,700 ° C. The cubic crystal structure of the zirconium oxide is only stabilized in this high-temperature phase. Originally, therefore, special melting pots had to be used for the production of the zirconia. Normal crucible materials would not have withstood the temperature. Today zirconia are mostly produced in a special cold crucible process.

The properties of zirconia

The zirconia is a synthetic clear single crystal. The arrangement of the atoms in the cubic crystal structure gives the stone a special diamond-like brilliance, considerable hardness and high brilliance. However, despite its optical similarity to a diamond, a cubic zirconia is not a real gemstone.

colour

Cubic zirconia is white or clear. Mixed crystals can be formed by adding other elements. The addition of individual elements can change the color of the zirconia. The addition of cesium produces orange to red zirconia, nickel makes it champagne to brown, chrome green and calcium blue. The variety of colors is therefore diverse.

hardness

Due to its cubic crystal structure, the zirconia is extremely hard. On the Mohs hardness scale, zirconia has a hardness of 8 to 8.5. While this is high, it does not protect it from scratches. With a hardness of 10, the diamond is still by far the top of all the elements on our earth.

shine

The zirconia has a high brilliance. With a perfect brilliant cut, zirconia comes close to diamond in terms of radiance. Even experts find it difficult to distinguish a high-quality zirconia from a diamond straight away. But even high-quality zirconia can be distinguished from a real diamond by a thermal conductivity test.

Attention: A zirconia is made of zirconium oxide. It often happens that a zirconia loses its radiance over the years. He becomes dull. A real diamond, on the other hand, never loses its shine and brilliance.

Inclusions

Zirconia are made in all shapes and sizes today. To make it difficult to distinguish it from diamonds, even zirconia with artificial inclusions are made. Even experts cannot distinguish these high-quality zirconia stones from diamonds during a visual inspection. You need to take a special measurement on the stone.

density

A zirconia has a lower density than a diamond and therefore a different thermal conductivity. Thanks to a special measuring process, even deceptively real diamond imitations can be distinguished from real diamonds.

The value of cubic zirconia

Even if a high-quality zirconia looks a lot like a real diamond, it is an artificially produced stone and therefore not a gemstone. A zirconia remains a gemstone with little value. The price for this stone in a piece of jewelry is therefore extremely low. The jewelry industry therefore likes to use zirconia for fashion jewelry and cheap jewelry. In our opinion, the value of the stone should correspond to the value of the piece of jewelery or the value of the workmanship. Real diamonds or other real gemstones should be incorporated into high-quality, real pieces of jewelry such as a ring made of real gold.

Cubic Zirconia compared to other gemstones

We are often asked whether a zirconia is a gemstone. Gemstones come from nature. This is what makes them so valuable. They are rare and mostly arose from special materials, temperature and pressure influences in our earth's interior. Man-made replicas may look similar, but they are specifically produced for commercial purposes. Even a zirconia is not a real gem, but a popular gemstone, which may be reminiscent of a diamond, but has little in common with it. They say: synthetic stones don't tell a story. You have no soul.

Zirconia is still considered the best diamond imitation. However, since synthetic moissanite (silicon carbide) has been produced, it has had a competitor.

Diamond and zirconia

Every diamond we hold in our hands today was formed inside our earth millions of years ago. This was only possible due to the unique high temperature and pressure influences. Why should we want to recreate this natural masterpiece? No question about it: a zirconia is a wonderfully shining imitation stone with initially high radiance, which can be lost over the years. The place on your wedding ring should only be given to one diamond, because a diamond remains beautiful forever.

Zircon and zirconia

The zircon is often mistakenly mistaken for a zirconia. Apart from the similarity of names, the stones have little in common. A zircon is a real gemstone and consists of zirconium silicate. These natural gemstones are available in a wide variety of colors. Blue, red, white but also brownish colors such as coffee, champagne, honey, cinnamon, ... The zircon, on the other hand, is a synthetic crystal made of zirconium oxide, grown in the laboratory.

Rhinestones and zirconia

Often a zirconia is compared to a rhinestone. However, rhinestones are simply diamond-cut glass stones. A zirconia, on the other hand, is a single crystal. The brilliance of a zirconia is higher than that of rhinestones or glass stones.

The cleaning and care of zirconia

Perfume, chemical cleaning agents, hairspray and even sweat can damage the surface of jewelry. That is why jewelry should be removed in the bathroom, at night and while exercising. Zirconia in particular are susceptible to surface and quickly lose their brilliance. Only clean these pieces of jewelery with warm soapy water and polish them with a soft leather cloth. Please do not use microfiber cloths. These can scratch the surface of the jewelry.