There is probably not a gemstone in the universe that can match the perfectly cut and well-mounted diamond in beauty and appeal. If any gemstone even comes close, the cubic zirconium is probably as near to a perfect match as possible. In fact, one of the means used to discriminate between diamonds and cubic zirconia uses the zirconia’s perfection as a distinguishing factor. A seemingly perfect authentic diamond will always have a detectable flaw The cubic zirconium will in comparison appear flawless. So if you ever offered an opportunity to purchase a perfect diamond, take a pass. You’ll probably end up with a zirconium if you do not. The cubic zirconium does exist naturally but most of this class of gems require human intervention to enable their creation.
The man-made cubic zirconium starts its existence as a very rare mineral zirconium oxide. This mineral is synthesized using a process that generates tremendous heat to produce a hard, optically flawless and colorless material. If other than a clear color is desired, metal oxide additives are added during the process to produce red, yellow, green and various other colored zirconia. Although the production process produces a near perfect product, the manufacturers are constantly seeking to improve their product.
One improvement the Zirconium Crystal Bar manufacturers developed involved using a film coating on the zirconium. This resulted in a finish that was harder, more lustrous and much more like a diamond. Another improvement entails introducing an extremely thin layer of metal oxide (usually gold) onto the finished stone. This produces a surreal effect on the zirconium. The effect is not permanent however, and is easily removed by abrasion.