by Katie Duzan
Cubic zirconias are beautiful and brilliant, making them well-suited for use in jewelry. They are also affordable diamond alternatives because they are created in a lab and, in many cases, must be tested in a lab to determine whether a stone is a diamond or a cubic zirconia, also known as a CZ. Cubic zirconia jewelry is quite easy to care for and doesn't scratch easily, but there are a few things you can do to keep your cubic zirconia rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces looking their best.
What cubic zirconia jewelry is (and isn't): Cubic zirconias are only created in a lab, so they are always synthetic stones. But they aren't cheap plastic. The material is actually a crystallized version of the mineral zirconia. A good quality cubic zirconia is indistinguishable from a diamond to the naked eye.
Cleaning your CZ jewelry: Cubic zirconia stones can appear dull over time with the build-up of lotions and oils from the skin. Cleaning CZ jewelry regularly can help it maintain its brilliance. Cubic zirconia stones can be cleaned professionally if desired, but they can also be easily cleaned at home.
If your CZ jewelry is made of gold or platinum, then you can clean it with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, pre-packaged jewelry cleaning solutions, or rubbing alcohol.
If your CZ jewelry is made of sterling silver, it is best to avoid these cleaning products as harsh chemicals can discolor and damage sterling silver jewelry. Soapy water and a toothbrush can be used to clean any type of CZ jewelry. Simply mix mild dishwashing liquid with warm water and soak the jewelry. You can then gently brush the jewelry clean with a soft-bristle toothbrush and rinse it under warm water.
Keeping CZ jewelry clean: To keep your cubic zirconia jewelry clean and sparkly, remove the jewelry before applying lotions or other beauty products. It is also best to remove the jewelry while exercising, because perspiration can transfer oils from your skin and make a CZ look dull. If your cubic zirconia jewelry is made of sterling silver, remove it before handling harsh chemicals or swimming to avoid damaging or discoloring the silver.
Storing CZ jewelry carefully: While cubic zirconias themselves are difficult to scratch because they have a very high hardness rating similar to diamonds, metal and other stones in the jewelry can be damaged if the jewelry is not stored properly. Because CZ jewelry can be expensive, it is a good idea to store the jewelry carefully to protect your investment. Store cubic zirconia jewelry in a separate compartment in your jewelry box or keep it in a soft jewelry pouch.