We all know that Wink CZ is able to produce gorgeous cubic zirconia jewelry for every flavor and occasion, but where does he get his raw CZ’s? Where does cubic zirconia come from? The birth of the wonderful CZ jewelry you enjoy literally starts at the smelter, having industrial origins. From the last post [hyperlink They Use CZ for what?] we know it all started in Russia as a viable substitute for ruby lens cores in laser technology.
“In 1973, Soviet scientists at the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow perfected the technique of manufacturing cubic zirconia via the “Skull Crucible” process. Zirconium oxide powder is heated, then gradually allowed to cool in the crucible. Once the mixture has cooled, the outer shell is broken off (photo below right) and the interior core of the “run” is used to make the final cut stones.” source In other words, the make raw zirconia in a similar manner to the process of creating metal alloys in which a combination of different elements are added to the cauldron and super heated to fuse into a new end product. Weird to think your beautiful ring or pendant from Wink CZ comes from an industrial mill, huh?
Speaking of metal, here is another fun science fact: did you know that cubic zirconia actually starts out as metal? The base element for CZ’s is zirconium, a metallic element that through the “skull crucible” process is crystallized. According to yourgemologist.com, “Cubic zirconia is sort of an oxymoron…that meaning that it is really a contradiction of terms. Mainly because zirconium is not only a metal, but it crystallizes in the tetragonal crystal system in the form of the gemstone called zircon. However, zircon is a zirconium silicate, while a cubic zirconia is a zirconium oxide. The importance of this is that by substituting the oxygen for the silicon, the zirconium metal can be forced to crystallize in the cubic crystal system.
Now, when I say forced to crystallize I mean exactly that. Zirconium metal with silicon (and in nature) will always form in the tetragonal crystal system…But by adding just a touch of either the elements calcium or yttrium, these elements have the ability to stabilize the zirconium metal to form crystals with the oxygen that have the properties of the cubic crystal system.”
Whoa, that was a lot of technical stuff, huh? What does this all mean? It means that, just like with many elements, if you apply enough heat and pressure, the result will crystallize or “glass over”; think of those volcanic rocks that look like pieces of broken bottles. If that is all it takes, why did cubic zirconia not come out sooner? We’ve been melting and shaping metals for millenia, so why so recent?
The answer is just one word: microwaves. Without the invention of microwave devices similar to the one you use in your home to make popcorn, cubic zirconias wouldn’t be possible. Before microwave emitters were discovered and invented, industrialists couldn’t generate the necessary heat for zirconium to crystallize as desired. “What the microwave did [was] to give a method of synthetic crystal growth called a skull melt. This means that the material itself makes its own crucible. Since a microwave oven heats from the inside out, this allows for the interior of the substance to become very, very hot, while the outer layer stays cools and forms a crust that holds the molten interior. This is how the skull is formed and how we get the term skull melting.” source
Skull melting? Sounds like something that happens at a rock concert with a long guitar solo. So be a “rock” star and get yourself a rock that shines like a diamond, but is totally flawless. Wink CZ chooses only the best specimens for cutting and shaping to create the perfect gem for you or that special someone. We offer any kind of cut with virtually any color you can think of to get customization option you could only dream about with diamonds, all at the fraction of the cost. Now that you know how your cubic zirconia is born, pick the one that you will adore for years to come at Wink CZ! Contact us at winkcz.com for our wide selection different cuts, shapes and colors for every taste.
Photo Credit: Larry P Kelley http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/diamond_simulants_cubic_zirconia.html
Cubic Zirconia jewelry has been rising in popularity since the 1980’s, proving to be a beautiful yet cost-effective alternative to diamonds thanks to the synthetic stone’s versatility and near flawless results. Since it is made in a lab, it can be crafted to fit any situation you might desire for decorating your fingers, wrists, ears and neck. The versatility of cubic zirconia is well documented, beginning as early as the 1970’s. However, did you know that CZ’s were originally created to fit scientific needs?
“The first cubic zirconia was made in Russia, for the purpose of laser technology. It seems the Russians did not have enough natural rubies that were required at the time to generate laser beams. So they set about to find a synthetic material that would have the properties of ruby. Their development: Cubic Zirconia. Not that CZ is particularly close to a ruby gemologically, but optically it served the purpose for the Russian laser technology.” source
Rubies were first used in laser technology in 1960 by Theodore Maiman. The iconic red gems were chosen because the possessed chromium, an element that gives rubies their brilliant red color. The chromium atoms are what made the early lasers work. “The green and blue wavelengths in the flash excite electrons in the chromium atoms to a higher energy level. Upon returning to their normal state, the electrons emit their characteristic ruby-red light. The mirrors reflect some of this light back and forth inside the ruby crystal, stimulating other excited chromium atoms to produce more red light, until the light pulse builds up to high power and drains the energy stored in the crystal—this produces what we typically think of as ‘laser light’.” source
Besides acting as a focusing lens for light in laser beams, cubic zirconia has also found a home in sound technology. In 2009 Panasonic released their RP-HJE900 “high fidelity in-ear headphones that feature[d] a sound chamber made of Zirconia, a white crystalline oxide of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) that is extremely durable and can withstand extreme temperatures.” source
If you are having trouble imagining your favorite jewelry inside your earphones, zirconia has proven itself to handle sound resonance very well. According to gizmag.com, “Panasonic [had] chosen Zirconia for the RP-HJE900’s sound chamber over plastic or aluminum as it has less resonance than either of those materials,” allowing the earphones to produce much clearer sound to the listener.
“Constructed with Neodymium magnet, the RP-HJE900 in-ear headphones boast a frequency response of 6Hz-26kHz and have a sound pressure sensitivity of 100dB, impedance of 26Ω and 12.5 mm drivers” says Darren Quick of gizmag.com. Hopefully you deem the better sound quality worth the over $200 price tag.
Hopefully that wasn’t too technical for some folks, but it just goes to show you that cubic zirconia is a lot more useful that just looking good on a ring or necklace. It is so versatile that you can form it any which way you like with a flawless cut and a brilliant shine. The gem is highly resistant to heat and extremely durable, making it the perfect addition to an active person who doesn’t want to sweat damaging their jewelry.
At Wink CZ, we engineer our cubic zirconia pieces to fit you and your style. You will never have to worry about having to sacrifice beauty for durability with these precious stones. Everything about CZ’s is customizable to your every mood, from size cut to color. We make our jewelry to order and use the talents of our famous artists to create something you are sure to treasure forever. To see how versatile a cubic zirconia can be for you, visit us at http://winkcz.com/ to browse our wonderful selection. As science has demonstrated, cubic zirconia is great for any situation on any occasion!
Diamonds and gems have been among the most rare and prized form of jewelry on planet Earth for centuries. Along with gold, diamonds have retained their inherent monetary value and set the bar for luxury. Although these commodities have been perceived as a rare part of Earth’s makeup, recent research suggest they can be quite abundant on other planets in our solar system.
Researchers recently announced that there could be up to 10 million tons of diamonds stored in Saturn and Jupiter. “The atmospheres of these gas-ball planets have the perfect temperature and pressure conditions to host carbon in the form of diamond, say Mona Delitsky of California Specialty Engineering in Pasadena, California, and Kevin Baines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” source.
Previous research had hinted that Neptune and Uranus were the main sparkling planets in our solar system, but this new research suggests that Jupiter and Saturn could showcase the precious gem as well.
According to Delitsky, “These planets are all made of gas, so their “interiors” are essentially very hot, pressurized gas. Carbon would be soot in the top part of Saturn’s atmosphere, but as it falls, it would turn into graphite at around 2,000 degrees Kelvin (3,140 degrees F). Closer to the planet’s core, at around 3,000 Kelvin (4,940 F), it would become diamond.” source.
Although it is plausible that carbon in diamond form could be in the interiors of Saturn and Jupiter, physics professor Peter Read of the University of Oxford is skeptical that they would be similar to those on Earth. “Rather than chunks of precious stone, there may be instead clouds of condensed diamond material–but we just don’t know.” source
However, because Saturn and Jupiter are much hotter planets, the possibility of diamonds melting is a lot higher as well as their relative consistency. “We can therefore say that, most probably, diamonds are forever on Uranus and Neptune but not on Jupiter and Saturn,” said Mona Delitsky, a planetary scientist at California Specialty Engineering in Pasadena, CA and lead author of the study. source. Despite this new research, the possibility of humans being able to get their hands on diamonds that are out of this world remains a very unlikely scenario. Scientists need to find them first and considering the hostile conditions of other planets, it isn’t going to be an easy task.
However, there is hope; although no diamond-mining space missions are on NASA’s docket, we may know more about the likelihood of diamonds soon. The Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 and the Cassini spacecraft will dive into Saturn in 2017. “These spacecraft won’t get deep enough to explore the theoretical diamond regions, but they will at least be able to check whether we detect signatures of density changes that would occur near where diamond is predicted to form,” Guillot said. source
Even on Earth, obtaining real diamonds can be a pricey and uphill battle. That is why more and more people are turning to cubic zirconia to satisfy their taste in jewelry. Since its inception in the early 1970s, cubic zirconia has steadily become a main competitor in the diamond market and has proven to be the more cost effective alternative. Not only is it a fraction of the cost, but it is also very durable (8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness) and glamorous.
Wink Jones who owns WinkCZ has been in the jewelery business since the inception of cubic zirconia. He has extensive knowledge about the industry and believes cubic zirconia can be a tremendous alternative to regular diamonds. “These are beautiful gems in their own right and cost a fraction of the price of a diamond, while being just as beautiful. While with proper care they will last for many years, if something does happen they can be easily replaced.”