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.
Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.
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