THE CUBIC ZIRCONIA ENGAGEMENT RING: A REAL ALTERNATIVE TO DIAMOND?
Increasingly, you hear women say that they want a marriage, not a wedding. Be that as it may, most women still want a ring. Not because they want an enormous diamond that costs as much as a luxury car, but because they want a physical symbol of their love, their commitment from the man they’ll spend the rest of their life with. The simple fact is that diamonds are expensive, and getting more so everyday. There’s also increased attention being paid to the inhumane conditions under which most diamond mines are operated. These are some of the reasons why a cubic zirconia engagement ring is becoming more and more popular every day.
Cubic zirconia is a mineral called zirconium oxide. This is found in nature, but rarely. Synthesized, it is colorless unless another mineral is added to give it color. It is hard and, of course, has none of the flaws that a naturally occurring stone would pick up. The name is similar to the gem “zircon” but that stone is composed of zirconium silicate and is different. Cut like a diamond, only an expert can tell the difference between a cubic zirconia engagement ring and one set with a genuine diamond.
Differences from Diamonds
In scientific terms, a cubic zirconia engagement ring is quite similar to one set with a diamond. One of the ways a gemstone is judged is by dispersion rate. That’s the degree to which a prism cut from the gemstone splits the light to show “fire.” The dispersive power of a cubic zirconium is slightly greater than that of a diamond, so that a cubic zirconia engagement ring has more fire to it. The hardness rating is 8.3 compared to a diamond’s rating of 10.
Color is one of the important C’s that determine a diamond’s value. While extremely few diamonds are really colorless, most cubic zirconia can be made to meet the perfect color rating. Because diamonds have a higher refractive rate, the cut of the two stones should be slightly different to optimize their brilliance. The biggest difference between the two gems is that a diamond is an efficient heat conductor while a cubic zirconia is a heat insulator.
Apart from its heat conductivity, a cubic zirconia engagement ring looks, cuts, and lasts like a genuine diamond. It is also less expensive per carat so that the same price will get a larger cubic zirconia engagement ring. The point of an engagement ring has nothing to do with the gem. However, the promise, the hope, the life-altering event are the same whether the ring has a gem or not.
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