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Cubic zirconia is a manmade gemstone material made from zirconium oxide. (Gregory Phillips)Cubic zirconia or CZ is the crystalline manmade form of zirconium dioxide, ZrO2. Zirconium dioxide is also known as zirconia. Ordinarily, zirconia would form monoclinic crystals. A stabilizer (yttrium oxide or calcium oxide) is added to cause zirconia to form cubic crystals, hence the name cubic zirconia.

Properties of Cubic Zirconia

The optical and other properties of CZ depend on the recipe used by the manufacturer, so there is some degree of variation between cubic zirconia stones. Cubic zirconia typically fluoresces yellowish green to gold under shortwave ultraviolet light.

Cubic Zirconia Versus Diamond

In general, CZ exhibits more fire than a diamond because it has a higher dispersion. However, it has a lower index of refraction (2.176) than that of diamond (2.417). Cubic zirconia is easily distinguished from diamond because the stones are essentially flawless, have a lower hardness (8 on the Mohs scale compared with 10 for diamond), and CZ is about 1.7 time more dense than diamond. Additionally, cubic zirconia is a thermal insulator, while diamond is an extremely efficient thermal conductor.

Colored Cubic Zirconia

The ordinarily clear crystal may be doped with rare earths to produce colored stones. Cerium yields yellow, orange and red gems. Chromium produces green CZ. Neodymium makes purple stones. Erbium is used for pink CZ. And titanium is added to make golden yellow stones.

Difference Between Cubic Zirconia and Cubic Zirconium | Diamond Chemistry

Comments

January 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm
(1) Micke AndersÚn says:

A typo, I’m sure, but Zirconium oxide should be ZrO2. ZnO2 is Zinc peroxide, used ias an oxidizer in explosives and pyrotechnics and in antiseptics according to some wiki sources. Also used for certain geometries of ZnO np’s.

February 11, 2013 at 12:14 am
(2) Sikki says:

Cubic zirconia (CZ) is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). The synthesized material is hard, optically flawless and usually colorless, but may be made in a variety of different colors. It should not be confused with zircon, which is a zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4). It is sometimes erroneously called “cubic zirconium”.

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