Cubic zirconia, often dubbed as the “diamond simulant,” has gained popularity in recent years as a more affordable alternative to natural diamonds. While it’s known for its dazzling sparkle and affordability, many wonder about its durability and how long it truly lasts. In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll delve into the longevity of cubic zirconia, examining its characteristics, factors affecting its lifespan, and its overall suitability as a gemstone choice.
What is Cubic Zirconia?
Before we dive into its durability, let’s understand what cubic zirconia is. Cubic zirconia is a synthesized gemstone made from zirconium dioxide. It’s designed to mimic the appearance of diamonds, often with remarkable clarity and brilliance. Due to its affordability and resemblance to diamonds, cubic zirconia has become a popular choice in jewelry, including engagement rings and earrings.
The Durability of Cubic Zirconia
Cubic zirconia is a hard and durable material, scoring 8.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, just below diamonds which score a perfect 10. This means it can withstand everyday wear and tear quite well. However, its durability isn’t without limitations.
Factors Affecting Longevity
- Scratch Resistance: Cubic zirconia is resistant to scratching, but it’s not entirely scratch-proof. Over time, it can develop fine scratches, especially if it comes into contact with harder materials.
- Chipping and Breakage: While cubic zirconia is durable, it is more prone to chipping and breakage compared to natural diamonds. Vigorous impacts or accidental drops can result in damage.
- Heat Sensitivity: Cubic zirconia can be sensitive to high temperatures. Exposure to intense heat, such as that from a jeweler’s torch during resizing, can cause it to crack or discolor.
- Chemical Reactions: Harsh chemicals can damage cubic zirconia. It’s essential to remove your jewelry when working with chemicals or cleaning agents.
To ensure your cubic zirconia jewelry lasts as long as possible, here are some tips:
- Regular Cleaning: Clean your cubic zirconia jewelry regularly with a soft, damp cloth to remove dirt and oils that can diminish its sparkle.
- Storage: Store your jewelry in a soft pouch or a jewelry box to prevent scratching and keep it away from direct sunlight.
- Professional Inspection: Periodically have your jewelry inspected by a professional jeweler to identify any potential issues.