Contrary to popular belief about cubic zirconia history, it was actually first discovered and made in Russia. It seems that they were trying to find a substitute for natural gemstones that were in short supply then , for laser technology, and ended up with making cz.

Then some smart guy noticed that it looked so much like a diamond, at less than a fraction of the price, so the ball got rolling to start producing it for jewelry.

Even then the prices compared to today's prices were quite high , somewhere in the region of $15 - $30 a carat. Since then no other synthetic stone has had that much of an impact on the jewelry industry than a cubic zirconia.

Cubic Zirconia , or CZ , is the crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. The single most important hurdle for cz growth was the high melting point of zirconia , nearly 2750 degrees centigrade, as no heat-resistant container was avaiblable for that high temperature.

That was the reason that we did not see cubic zirconia on the market until the late 1970's.

This problem was later solved using the soviet made skull crucible device.

The skull crucible is cooled on the outside with water but heated on the inside with radio frequency coils. The coils heat up as zirconium oxide powder is poured into the skull crucible.

After the zirconium oxide powder is heated, the coils gradually get cooler and cooler. Crystals form slowly as the material on the inside cools, but the outside of the zirconium oxide powder must have already completely hardened in order for crystals to form, hence the cool water surrounding the outside of the skull crucible.

Once the skull crucible has completely cooled, the mass of zirconium oxide can be removed and the outer shell is chipped away to reveal cz crystals. The crystals are then cut and manufactured as cubic zirconia.

Mass production of cz was also done in about 1980s by Swarovski . The best simulated diamond on todays market , cz, offers a combined high value of refractive index, dispersion and hardness ( Mohs hardness: 8.5; refractive index: 2.15; specific gravity: 5.8). Like naturalstones, CZs vary in color, clarity and cut.

Go to crystal jewellery page from cubic zirconia history page.

Go to cubic zirconia vs diamond page from cubic zirconia history page .

Go to cubic zirconia jewelery page

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