When it comes to cubic zirconia (CZ), one of the most common questions that jewelry enthusiasts have is whether it scratches easily. After all, CZ is a popular and affordable alternative to diamonds and other gemstones, but is it durable enough to withstand everyday wear and tear? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the scratch resistance of cubic zirconia from all angles to provide you with a well-rounded understanding.
What is Cubic Zirconia? Before we delve into its scratch resistance, let’s briefly explain what cubic zirconia is. CZ is a synthetic gemstone made from zirconium dioxide crystals. It was first developed in the 1970s as an affordable alternative to diamonds and has since gained popularity for its brilliance and affordability.
The Mohs Scale of Hardness To determine how easily a gemstone can be scratched, we often refer to the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This scale ranges from 1 (the softest) to 10 (the hardest), with diamonds being the hardest at 10. Cubic zirconia typically falls around 8-8.5 on the Mohs Scale, making it quite durable. However, it is not entirely immune to scratches.
Factors Influencing Scratch Resistance Several factors can influence how susceptible cubic zirconia is to scratching:
- Quality: High-quality CZ stones are less likely to scratch due to better craftsmanship and fewer impurities.
- Cut: A well-cut CZ with smooth surfaces and no sharp edges is less likely to develop scratches.
- Setting: The way a CZ is set in jewelry can affect its exposure to abrasion.
- Maintenance: Proper care and cleaning can prolong the scratch-free appearance of cubic zirconia.
Daily Wear and Tear Cubic zirconia jewelry can withstand daily wear, but it’s important to be mindful of activities that may increase the risk of scratching. Avoid wearing CZ jewelry during activities like gardening, exercising with weights, or other tasks that may expose it to abrasive materials.
Comparing to Other Gemstones Compared to natural gemstones like diamonds and sapphires, cubic zirconia is generally more prone to scratches. However, it is essential to note that even diamonds can develop scratches over time, albeit less easily than CZ.