Cubic Zirconia, also known in its shortened form as CZ, gets a bad rap. Many people associate it with “cheap” jewelry that is designed and sold for kids and tweens. However, that is wrong. In reality, cubic zirconia is an affordable alternative to diamonds, with all of the sparkle that goes along with them – but without the high price tag. It can be set into many different types of jewelry from bracelets to necklaces, but CZ earrings are the most popular.
The Basics of CZ
Unlike diamonds, rubies and other precious and semi-precious stones, cubic zirconia is man-made in a laboratory. It does resemble diamonds and other gemstones once it has been polished and cut, and it comes in many different colors, the most popular of which is clear and colorless. In fact, because a CZ is man-made, they are often completely colorless, unlike most diamonds, which even when considered the utmost of quality, rarely look as perfect. (For the record, other colors of CZ include black, purple, green, pink, golden brown, red and shades of yellow and orange.) CZ is made from zirconium dioxide, and once it is in its “mineral” state it is almost as hard as a diamond.
CZ Stud Earrings
The most popular style of CZ earrings is that of studs. To put it simply, these are earrings that don’t dangle from the earlobes. Instead, stud earrings consist of one or more stones set flush with a small post and a backing attached. These earrings are very traditional and simple, and can be worn just about anywhere and with anything. They are not flashy – even when the CZs consist of multiple carats, and can be worn to work, the grocery store and everywhere in between. Even men can wear a CZ earring of this type in the workplace.
Round or Square-Stoned CZ Earrings
Once you’ve decided to buy a pair of CZ earrings, the next question is: round or square-cut stones? Both are equally stylish, and the decision comes down to preference, more than anything else. A round-cut CZ, when set into a backing of 14K yellow or white gold, is the more classic of the two. However, a square-cut (also known as princess cut) set of CZ earrings is just as simple, albeit slightly more modern.
Once you’ve chosen the cut, the next choice is the size. Cubic zirconia are sold based on carat size, just like precious gemstones. The color of the stone (clear and black are the most traditional, and they match everything in your closet) and the color of the metal (either white or yellow 14K gold) are the decisions that you’ll need to make. The best part? Due to the price of CZ earrings, you don’t have to choose just one pair!