Due to the affordability, durability and appearance of cubic zirconia CZ (not to be confused with Zircon), this synthetic stone remains the most popular diamond stimulant. It’s a common misconception that all CZ Stones are the same, which just isn't true.
Most people may ask how are Cubic Zirconia stones rated? Just like Diamonds, there are a number of quality levels, and a range of price points for these beautiful look-a likes and there's a market for them all. Cubic Zircoinia stones are rated from A to AAAAA,This rating system is based on the Four C method, which is the same method used in rating the quality of diamonds.
Those four Cs are: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight of the Stone.
There’s a variety of Cuts that are used for different shapes, and the skill of the stone cutter is very important to the final appearance of the stone.When cutting the Cubic Zirconia, the aim is to maximize the beauty of the stone, bringing out its brilliance and fire to best effect. Popular Shapes of CZ would be the Brilliant Cut (Standard Round Stone), Princess Cut(Square),Trillion Cut (Triangular) and the Heart ,Pear and Marquise Shaped Stone.
Most Cubic Zirconia are flawless with very high Clarity and have no inclusions in its crystals, although in some cases there can be cloudiness which can develop during the manufacturing process.
Cubic Zirconia is usually Colorless and has the D grading of a diamond. If you know diamonds, then you will know that a D Color grade means totally colorless (and therefore more valuable).Trace elements are added during the manufacturing process to create a colored stone. These colored stones are rated on their own for similarities and intensity of color.
Just like a Diamond, a CZ is rated by its weight, or Carat Size. Since a CZ is more dense than a Diamond, it is heavier by volume, But, Unlike diamonds, the price of a cubic zirconia does not increase exponentially with the increase in carat weight.
Cubic Zirconia Grades
Let’s take a look at the main grades...
Grade A is the Lowest quality and are easily damaged, chipped and tarnished and are usually used to embellish creations. These A-rated stones are certainly not fine jewelry grade, but they are very popular in the art world.
Grade AAA(3A) are mid-range stones and are more polished than grade A, However, they don’t have the level of finishing and facets of AAAAA grade stones. You may see some polish marks or grain lines across the surfaces.
Grade AAAAA(5A) are of the highest quality with little difference in appearance to diamonds. These stones are also marketed as being hand cut and polished and therefore, the very best of CZ. These stones are remarkably similar in appearance to diamonds and set in the same type of mountings as their diamond counterparts, it would be difficult to tell them apart.