Let’s say someone is offering to sell you a “diamond” for a pretty good price. How do you know you are getting the real thing? This diamond ring could just be a CZ (cubic zirconia) and be worth almost nothing!
What is a CZ (Cubic Zirconia)?
You know what a diamond is, right? But the imitations? You’re not too sure.
A CZ is a gemstone – just not a very expensive one. Its technical name is zirconium dioxide. The stone itself does not occur too often in nature, and most of the ones you see have been synthesized through additives and a heating and cooling process. CZ is often used as an imitation diamond because of its colorless and sparkly quality. It is not as hard as a diamond. It is an 8 out of a possible 10 – 10 being diamond hardness.
How Can You Tell the Difference?
There are a few tests you can do yourself to help you determine the stone’s authenticity.
- Breathe on it – if it’s a real diamond, the fog will dissipate immediately due to its heat transfer properties. The CZ stone will keep the fog longer.
- Examine the ring under magnification - A real diamond will have some flaws, or inclusions. The CZ usually won’t have any flaws.
- You probably shouldn’t try to scratch the product -but just know that a diamond can’t be easily scratched by ordinary materials. You might ask the seller to scratch it and note the reaction.
- Note the colors – the CZ will actually have brighter colors than a diamond, as its refractive qualities are greater.
- Note its weight – the CZ stone is about twice as heavy as a real diamond.
- Look at the setting – does it appear to be a quality mounting? Or is it obviously cheap, indicating a cheap stone?
- Note the facets – are the edges rounded or sharp? A true diamond has very sharp facets, and not so with the CZ.
The best test of all is to take the piece to a reputable jeweler and let them test it. They should have precision equipment which will allow them to test the authenticity of the gemstone you are considering. If the seller doesn’t want to do that, you have your answer.