As a new jewelry retailer, you might be tempted to order wholesale loose cubic zirconia stones based on price alone. Unfortunately, extremely low prices can sometimes mean low quality as well. It's important to know what type of loose cubic zirconia to look for before buying wholesale. Understand the grades of quality before you place an order so you and your customers will be happy with the finished jewelry product.
How Loose Cubic Zirconia Quality is Determined
There are four main factors that help determine the quality or grade of cubic zirconia. These are carat (or carat weight), clarity, color, and cut. CZ stones are imitation diamonds or simulants and are measured in carat weight. Loose cubic zirconia stones are always heavier than real diamonds. This is because the materials that are used to create the stones are denser.
Though loose cubic zirconia stones are generally colorless, many shades of colors can be added using trace elements during the manufacturing process. These colors might include lavender, peridot, pink, violet, champagne, aqua, citrine yellow, and others. Typically, transparent cubic zirconia will be the more valuable, high-end diamond imitation. Colored CZ stones are valued according to the rarity, evenness, and tone of their colors.
Clarity, or clearness, of loose cubic zirconia is also a quality factor. The manufacturing process can sometimes cloud a stone, making visible imperfections. Just as with genuine diamonds, the clearer the stone is, the greater the value.
The cut is also very important in determining quality for loose cubic zirconia stones. Just as with diamonds, the cut reveals the stone's beauty through every facet. The facets must be even and precise to create just the right appearance. Also as with diamonds, the skill of the stone cutter makes all the difference. Stone cutters do much more than cut. They analyze the stone carefully to determine how much of the stone should be cut off to give proper clarity. Then, they take many steps to perfect their cut without taking away from the stone.
Though the Brilliant cut is the standard, there are other popular cuts such as the Trillion, Princess, and Radiant cuts. There are also a variety of shapes to give each stone its own unique personality.
CZ Stone Hardness
Loose cubic zirconia stones are harder than other gemstones, but not harder than diamonds, sapphires, rubies, or chrysoberyl. Hardness is determined by Mohs' scale of hardness. The highest grade of cubic zirconia is AAAAA, which measures 8.5 in hardness on the Mohs' scale.
Grades of White Cubic Zirconia
White cubic zirconia stones are graded for quality. These resemble genuine diamonds. They are graded as A, AAA, and AAAAA with cubic zirconia AAAAA being the highest grade. CZ AAA stones are the most popular among jewelry stores because they still offer great quality at affordable prices. Prices range from $22 upwards for beautiful jewelry pieces of this grade.
When buying wholesale for your jewelry store, check out the quality of the loose cubic zirconia stones you are buying. Be sure you are getting what you pay for and the quality that will please your customers. Whether ordering loose cubic zirconia (or lab created gems), simulated stones, or synthetic gems, consider the quality of the jewelry items you are buying and choose only those items that will give lasting enjoyment.