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The Four C’s of Cubic Zirconia’s

Updated on June 20, 2014

When looking to buy any piece of jewelry, especially one for a special event or one that is attached to a large price tag, research should be done before hand to ensure that the best piece of jewelry is being chosen. When choosing diamonds, or a jewel like a diamond, namely cubic zirconia, there is a standard named the Four C’s. This standard should be used to find the perfect gem.

Cubic zirconia is a substance that is made in a laboratory by professionals and is therefore not a naturally accruing gem. This has its pros and cons, for one pro, it is often cheaper than diamonds and make for an equally beautiful piece of jewelry, unless it is worn everyday which leads to a con. CZ is a less durable substance, though heavier than diamond, and does not have a high ranking on the Mohs scale. This scale measures substances’ hardness or resistance to scratching. Diamonds are the hardest mineral ranking at a ten but CZ ranks at a 8.5 so if the piece of jewelry made of CZ is to be worn every day, it will most likely show many scratches. But, the same four c’s can be used to evaluate cubic zirconia when shopping around. The four c’s are cut, clarity, carat, and color.

The First C - Cut

The cut of a CZ refers to two areas of interest. The first is the actual cut or shape of the jewel and the other is the substances’ reflective qualities. The cut of the jewel is arguably the most important factor to analyze when choosing a cubic zirconia because the cut is what causes the gem to seem to have that light from within it. If a CZ is poorly cut, it loses its sparkle and shine. The best cut of CZ is the ideal cut, this is because the cut of cubic zirconia causes the light to enter the gem and then be reflected back into the eye without any light leaking away which causes the gem to lose that iconic “sparkle”.

The Second C- Clarity

This a “C” that is less applicable to cubic zirconia. Since CZ is produced in a lab, it often lacks many imperfections or inclusions that a true diamond would have. When looking for diamonds, the clarity is important because that means that the gem lacks a lot of inclusions and is therefore more clear but, since CZ is already very clear to start with, it is not a huge concern to keep in mind.

The Third C - Carat

Carat weight will often be listed as the “diamond equivalent” when shopping. This is because the same amount of CZ will weigh more than an equal amount of diamond. Carats are units of measurement that are derived from the ancient use of carob seeds to balance scales. In relation to diamonds, one carat is equal to .2 grams. Keep this in mind when looking at the diamond equivalent in stores.

The Final C - Color

A colorless diamond or cubic zirconia is the most desirable because it reflects the most light and gives off a stronger “sparkle”. Cubic Zirconia can be produced in other colors due to the huge trend of colored gems being demanded, but any color in a gem will often decrease its reflective qualities because the color causes light to be absorbed rather than reflected


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