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Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia (sometimes abbreviated "CZ"), first discovered in 1937 by two German scientists, is the cubic form of zirconium oxide.  It is rarely found in nature and is usually synthesized by growing crystals in a laboratory setting.  Manufactured properly, cubic zirconia is a high quality yet fairly inexpensive material that simulates the look of diamond. 

Although it is not quite as hard as diamond, and sparkles a bit less than diamond, cubic zirconia so wonderfully mimics the look and feel of diamond that it often takes a trained jeweler with special equipment to tell the difference.  Like diamond, CZ is more reflective than glass and can be faceted so that it sparkles brilliantly in the right setting.  It is transparent and comes in a variety of colors, from clear to shades as varied as reds, ambers, greens, and pinks.

Cubic zirconia is manufactured at around 4200F/2300C.  It can easily withstand the heat of the kiln.  It will stick to glass when fired, and can be combined with precious metal clay (PMC), embedded on the top surface of glass, or even used as an "inclusion" if the stone is small enough. 

Click her for tips to help you get the best results from firing cubic zirconia in the kiln.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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