Zirconia, a popular alternative to natural diamonds, is very popular in today’s world. The production of zirconia has been done in a laboratory environment, and different metals are used during production in addition to recycled diamonds. This type of jewelry appeals more to the generation Y, who were born between 1980 and 1999 in America and Europe.
A popular alternative to diamond, zirconia is a colorless, synthetic gemstone made from the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. The stones used in all cubic zirconia jewelry were created exclusively in the laboratory. Generally regarded as a cheap diamond alternative, cubic zirconia is very different in its aesthetic qualities and physical structure because it is produced in a laboratory environment. Zirconia is a gemstone far from the naturalness and nobility of diamond. There are major differences between diamonds and zirconia, although they seem similar to the naked eye.
Zirconia is a gemstone found in nature in many colors from dark red to orange, blue to transparent. Diamond, on the other hand, is a special cut with 57 facets of the diamond. Diamond and zirconia are often confused with each other due to their similar structure. These gemstones, which are used especially in the jewelry world, are very famous for their similarities.
Diamond, due to its nature, consists of different formations and traces. In fact, what makes the diamond beautiful is that it does not spoil its naturalness and has a miraculous shine. On the other hand, the situation is the opposite for zirconia. The fact that it is extremely flawless and without a trace easily shows us that it is artificial.
Zirconia is heavier than a diamond of the same size but not as hard as a diamond. On the Mohs scale, zirconia has a hardness of 8.5. Diamond, on the other hand, is the hardest metal on the list, with a hardness of 10. Although Zirconia is flawless at first with this soft production, it is very easy to scratch and wear in daily use.
Diamonds are cut on certain facet values, but in zirconia production, not too much attention is paid to these values, only an image close to diamond is aimed. Naturally, this causes the light distribution and luminescence between diamond and zirconia to differ significantly.
If you look closely at the angles of a diamond, you will notice that its edges are very sharp. In contrast, the surfaces of cubic zirconia stone have smoother and rounded edges. However, you will need to look closely at the gemstones, preferably using a 10x magnifying glass to detect this difference.
Due to the differences in thermal conductivity between them, when you breathe on a diamond stone, the fog created by your breath will disappear immediately. If you do the same test with cubic zirconia, the fog will stay on the stone for a longer time, and you will realize that it is not a real diamond.
In general, zirconia, which is more affordable than diamond, does not satisfy you in the long term, but it causes you to constantly need to buy a new one. Considering the great role that jewelry plays in our lives, choosing a piece of diamond jewelry will make you feel incredible when you consider the energy of the stones. You need to keep in mind that when you go for the diamond, which is the hardest metal in the world, you can have magnificent jewelry that you can use for years and that will remain with your loved ones.
Why Has Zirconia Been Preferred A Lot Lately?
An article published in The Wall Street Journal highlights why zirconia has become so popular lately. When Thomsen Martin wanted to buy a diamond ring for his fiancee Camille, he was torn between a natural diamond and synthetic diamond, or zirconia. Martin looks at jewelers in both America and Denmark. At the end of this process, he prefers zirconia. Stating that people’s diamond purchasing process disappoints him, Martin says that although he can afford it economically, he will not live knowing that it will harm other people and the world to have a beautiful ring.
When asked about people representing generation Y who are newly married or about to get married, it was found that most of them did not have a clear knowledge of zirconia. Almost all of those who have informed the state that they will not prefer natural diamonds due to their price and their history which is the subject of criticism. Those who prefer natural diamonds state that they are obliged to do so because of tradition.
However, it should not be forgotten that these traditions are the result of an advertising campaign that started only 70 years ago. When we look at history, we see that the ring tradition goes back to the Roman civilization. At least that’s what anthropologists claim. So how did this tradition in Rome become so widespread around the world? Although there are many different historical details, behind the clearest signature of recent history is the name of a London-based company. With a global diamond monopoly, the impact of these companies is undeniable.
According to the advertising campaigns launched by these companies in those years, diamond meant eternity! The durability of the diamond meant that in the American spirit the marriage would last forever. Diamond sales increased by 50 percent in three years thanks to the advertising campaign. The purity and sparkle of a diamond began to express the depth of a man’s devotion to the woman he loved. Moreover, this understanding spread almost all over the world. The diamond, which was created as a result of diamond processing, became an indispensable element of the marriage proposal.
It turns out that the man-made diamonds produced in the lab are the same ones extracted chemically from the soil. Both have the same carbon chemistry and crystal structure. Zirconia made in the laboratory is less expensive than natural diamonds. A jeweler, whose opinion is consulted to get a price, says that a natural diamond worth 10 thousand dollars is sold for 2 thousand dollars if it is zirconia.
When consulted with natural diamond producers, it is natural that you will receive the answer that zirconia can never replace natural diamonds. Natural diamond manufacturers say that a gemstone that has been underground for millions of years cannot be the same as another stone made in the laboratory. Another issue that natural diamond producers draw attention to is zirconia, the name of synthetic diamond. They state that even though the adjective synthetic is added to this type, it cannot be called a diamond. They say this is to deceive people.
People who are at the age of Y generation (born in 1980-1999) and who are now considered to be in marriage age were asked about their views on zirconia. Although some say that zirconia is more attractive in terms of both economy and nature, they say that they have to prefer natural diamonds because of the traditions. They say that these rings are not something to be sold later, they bought them as a reminder. However, they are aware that even if it is sold, they will lose half. Therefore, they express that they may prefer to buy a zirconia ring for 2-3 thousand dollars instead of 8-10 thousand dollars natural diamonds.
Another group, whose opinion was taken, says that they will not care if the diamond gifted during the marriage proposal is real or zirconia. They think zirconia is a more logical choice. They don’t prefer to buy something that harms nature. On the other hand, real diamonds have become a tradition. People inevitably feel compelled. They think that if in the future zirconia replaces natural diamond it will be better in many ways.
Since When Has Zirconia Been Produced?
It is stated that the first reproducible synthetic diamond synthesis was produced in 1953. Zirconia, which was launched in the 1990s, was unlikely to catch a line close to natural diamonds in appearance. According to The Wall Street Journal article, it is possible to produce zirconia that looks like natural diamonds at a rate of 99% with today’s developing technology. These gemstones cannot be distinguished from natural diamonds without the approval of a certification paper.
World-renowned companies, which have caused the diamond ring to become a tradition, also invest in the diamond, which is zirconia technology, made in the laboratory. These companies aimed to produce daily parts that are not considered as investments and to become an important actor in this field. Because companies are aware that Generation Y is increasingly interested in where the things they buy come from. This generation wants traceability, wants sustainable packaging and wants to know that the people involved in the making of their jewelry are paid and working fairly.
Differences Between Diamond and Zirconia
When a diamond and a zircon stone are placed side by side, at first glance, you may think that there is no difference between them. There are big differences between diamond and zirconia, which are the two stones that are very similar to each other and perhaps the most similar to each other. In a sense, it is possible to say that they do not have any similarities other than their appearance.
First of all, it should be noted that zirconia is made of glass. Therefore, when you look at it, you can easily say that it is not actually a precious stone. Diamond is one of the most precious stones in nature. Therefore, the price difference between zirconia and diamond is quite high. Diamond is the processed form of the diamond formed in nature over millions of years. The diamond, which has been under the ground for hundreds of millions of years, is removed, processed, and turned into a ring on your finger, necklaces on your beautiful necks, or wristbands on your tiny wrists with special techniques. Moreover, you can take care of the diamond, which has always been considered very precious in history, even at home, and help it shine like the first day.
Processing Diamond and Zirconia
Extracted from hundreds of meters of sublayers of the earth, the diamond is cut, processed, and shaped by the skillful hands of a master. The stone is brought to the desired shape with the grinding process applied to the stones. Then the stone is polished and becomes to be placed on the jewelry. However, zirconia is formed in certain patterns. It does not go through tricky processes like diamonds.
The more difficult it is to find a diamond in nature, the more difficult it is to process. For this reason, when a diamond is processed, its value increases even more and it becomes much more valuable. Zirconia production, as you know, is carried out with machines in a laboratory environment. With mass production, it is possible to produce hundreds of thousands of zirconia during the day. The more difficult it is to process a diamond, the easier it is to process and shape zirconia.
The hardest stone that occurs naturally on our planet is diamond. Since Zirconia is made of glass, it can be processed, shaped, and cut very easily. Therefore, both stones clearly reveal their difference in this respect. Some elements can cause natural stains in the diamond. These spots invisible to the naked eye are called nature’s fingerprints. Atoms such as boron, carbon, and cobalt are the elements in the diamond that cause these stains. Finding an unstained diamond is almost impossible. However, there is no stain in zirconia.
The Transparency Difference of Diamond and Zirconia
Considering that they are laboratory production, it would not be wrong to state that zirconia is much brighter and much more transparent. Because they can have a completely transparent appearance while being produced in the workshop. As a result, it can be concluded that there is no similarity between diamond and zirconia in terms of transparency.
When you compare the brightness of your stone, the light transmission of the diamond becomes greater and faster. In other words, it shines more than zirconia in an environment with diamond light and emits an eye-catching light. Zirconia, which has a structure that darkens with use, is a stone that loses its brightness day by day. Zirconia, which looks shiny at first, can become annoying with black spots after a certain period of time.
The hardest naturally occurring substance on earth is diamond. On the Mohs scale, which is used to measure the hardness of precious minerals, the grade is 10, which is the hardest grade. Zirconia is only worth 6. The other material with grade 6 is glass, so the diamond is a rare stone that can cut glass. When you try to measure diamonds and zirconia of the same size, zirconia will be heavier. Zirconia, a stone that is hardened while processing, is 1.7 times heavier than the weight of a diamond. When diamond and zirconia are compared in terms of brightness, again, diamond is a precious stone that stands out one step ahead.
How to Identify Real Diamonds From Zirconia?
It is very difficult for non-experts to distinguish between diamonds and zirconia cut in the same way. For this reason, the best-known imitations of diamonds are made using zirconia. Zirconia made as a diamond imitation are called ‘cubic zirconia’. The simplest way to detect cubic zirconia is to draw a straight line on white paper and drop the zirconia over the line. If you can see the line when you look from above, you can easily decide that the stone is cubic zirconia. If the gemstone you want to test is on the ring, it is necessary to look at the cone of the gemstone with the naked eye. If the tip of the cone is easily visible, this stone is cubic zirconia. If the tip of the cone is difficult to choose, it is a diamond. Since the brilliance of the diamond is so high, it is not easy to see the cone tip at first glance.
As old as fossils, diamonds are one of the most precious stones as they are so rare. The most important feature of diamonds is that they are extremely hard. These stones are so hard that they can only be scratched by a diamond. For this reason, the diamonds should be put one by one when they are put into a box and stored. Again, thanks to this feature, it can be understood whether a diamond is fake or not.
Nowadays, either real diamonds or synthetic stones produced in the laboratory are sold under the name of diamonds. As real diamonds are formed over a long period like fossils, they are not completely homogeneous. Synthetic stones called zirconia produced in a laboratory environment are produced homogeneously. If you ask how to spot a fake diamond, draw a line with a pencil on a piece of paper to make the difference. When you put the stone on the diamond, the image will not be very clear, but the zirconia will show the line completely. You can distinguish the real diamond from zirconia by trying to draw on the stone again. Real diamonds cannot be scratched by another metal in any way and are not affected by impacts such as bumps.
Contrary to the common consciousness, a diamond does not come out of nature only in white. There are completely yellow, black, blue-white, and brown diamonds. These are the rarest diamond varieties and are often purchased by collectors. The colors of the produced zirconia are the same and they are generally very white.
You can safely buy diamonds from companies and jewelers that only do diamond work without worrying about the risk. However, companies or jewelers that sell silver, gold, etc. may not be able to distinguish zirconia because they are not diamond experts.
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