Cubic zirconia is a very popular alternative to the expensive and over-hyped diamond. If you learn how to clean cubic zirconia earrings at home, you can reduce the cost of going to jewelers. Cleanings at home also provide the benefit of increasing the lifespan of your gemstone!
How to clean cubic zirconia earrings at home
When it comes to cleaning cubic zirconia earrings and jewelry at home, it’s very important that you’re using the right materials and methods to not only clean the gemstone but ensure it lasts forever.
You can cause your cubic zirconia to become faded and dull over time if you don’t handle it well. However, cubic zirconia, or CZ, can hold up for generations with proper cleaning and care.
What is cubic zirconia?
Cubic zirconia is a synthetic material. It comes from zirconium dioxide’s crystalline form. That’s the scientific explanation – usually, we say that cubic zirconia is a gemstone made in a lab.
This unique gemstone is colorless, and while it’s sometimes found in nature, any time you see it being used in jewelry, it’s been created in a lab.
Cubic zirconia is solid, and when shaped, looks very much like a diamond. While it is most commonly created in its standard color of diamond, it can be dyed or manufactured to have other colors.
Cubic zirconia is made under very high heat – 4,982 degrees Farenheight, 2,750 degrees celsius. It spends hours under incredible heat and stress, just to come out more beautiful than ever – just like you!
Steps to clean your cubic zirconia earrings or jewelry
The experts at CubicZirconia.com recommend two specific cleaning methods.
- Warm water and Dawn
- First, you’ll want to get the blue, name-brand Dawn dish soap.
- Mix 2-parts warm (not hot!) water with 1-part Dawn.
- Immerse your cubic zirconia fully for 2 minutes.
- Gently scrub with a soft-bristle brush, such as a toothbrush.
- Rinse in warm water, and dry with a microfiber cloth (such as a jewelry polishing cloth, eyeglass cloth, or a similar towel.)
- Jewelry Cleaning Liquid made specially for cleaning metals and gemstones.
- Make sure to find a cleaning solution specifically designed for jewelry – some types are even intended for lab-grown gemstones!
- Immerse your cubic zirconia fully for 10-15 minutes. Do not exceed 20 minutes in total.
- Remove, gently scrub with a soft-bristle brush.
- Rinse in warm water and dry with a polishing cloth.
- If dirt persists, repeat the cleaning process.
- **NOTE: Never fully submerge opals, emeralds, pearls, or any piece with glue.
Always rinse all chemicals or solutions thoroughly from your cubic zirconia.
How to tell the difference between cubic zirconia and diamonds
There are two sure ways to spot the difference between a real diamond from a cubic zirconia gemstone.
The first is to hold the stone under a bright, natural light. A diamond will give off a white light, whereas cubic zirconia produces a rainbow effect. This method will not harm either stone!
The second method involves a little damage: a diamond will not become scratched if rubbed against another surface. If you rub the stone on a surface and it’s not marked, the stone is most likely cubic zirconia.
How to polish cubic zirconia
Never use a hard bristled brush on cubic zirconia.
To polish your cubic zirconia jewelry, use the cleaning method mentioned above, and gently scrub the stone. Use a polishing cloth made of soft cotton, microfiber, or other non-shedding material.
Gently rub the stone in circular motions. Hold it up to a light to find build-up or dirt.
Tips for storing your cubic zirconia jewelry
When storing your CZ, you should take a few precautions.
- Know the metal your cubic zirconia is set in – some metals prefer to be hidden away from sunlight when not being worn.
- Protect the setting from the stone. Lighter or porous metals can become scratched by the stone.
- Do not store in a bag or box that will transfer residues, such as lint or wood dust.
- Use foam or cloth to separate multiple pieces.
How to care for cubic zirconia
When it comes to cubic zirconia, you should care for it like it’s a valuable, prized piece of jewelry.
Follow the general rule of thumb for most antique stones, such as keeping a regular cleaning schedule and removing the gem before any activity that can have heavy impact on it.
Tips to keep Cubic Zirconia (CZ) looking its best
Keep your cubic zirconia and its setting looking beautiful for decades by:
- Never soak it in an acidic solution.
- Remove CZ when applying lotion.
- Remove CZ when hand washing, cleaning or doing laundry.
- Never swim with cubic zirconia, especially in pools with chlorine.
- Take off CZ before your exercise to reduce sweat transfer.
- Do not wear cubic zirconia when gardening or performing activities where your hands will get dirty.
Can cubic zirconia get wet?
Cubic zirconia can be fully immersed in water. However, issues with stone clarity will arise when other chemicals are in the water.
If your CZ jewelry gets wet, make sure to clean and store it properly afterward.
What you should do if cubic zirconia gets dirty
If your cubic zirconia earrings or jewelry gets dirty, make sure you clean it using one of the two methods listed above.
It is recommended that you clean your cubic zirconia jewelry every week with everyday wear or every month with occasional wear.
Quick facts: Cubic zirconia jewelry
Cubic zirconia is a beautiful alternative to diamonds. Not only is it ethically produced (no child labor!), it’s gorgeous and much more cheaper to buy.
Diamonds vs. Cubic Zirconia: Value
A diamond is evaluated on its cut, color, carat, and clarity (or 4 C’s) to determine its value. Genuine diamonds will start around a few thousand for a small stone and increase from there. Diamonds that have been harvested ethically will cost you even more.
Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, sells relatively cheaply. You can find cubic zirconia jewelry for as cheap as $10! High-quality CZ gemstones will often retail for $1,000 or more, as they are more similar to their diamond counterparts.
Cubic Zirconia settings
When it comes to settings, you should consider how the gemstone will be worn.
Costume jewelry that will be worn occasionally will usually be made with cheaper sterling silver or gold-covered vermeil.
Middle-of-the-road pieces that won’t break the bank but offer a bit nicer quality and longevity should be set in titanium or tungsten. These harder metals will provide more scratch resistance and allow your gemstone to shine.
For the high-level CZ gemstones, you should go for 14 or 18-carat gold, platinum, or white gold.
Cubic Zirconia lifespan
Cubic zirconia will often last 2 to 3 years with everyday wear. Over that period, the gem will become cloudy and may get scratched.
To maintain cubic zirconia forever, take it to a jeweler for inspections and cleaning annually.
Other diamond alternatives
Cubic zirconia often shines when it’s paired with other stones. Other diamond alternatives include moissanite and lab gems. Moissanite is also created in a lab, almost as strong as a diamond, and sparkles more than diamonds!
There are also lab-created stones that are optically, chemically, and physically identical to natural gemstones, such as sapphires, emeralds, opals, and rubies. Scientists can even create a “Lab Diamond” – which is a fraction of the price, looks identical, and has a better carbon footprint!