The weather may be warming up, but ice has never been hotter when it comes to your jewelry. The key to keeping your cool girl vibes sub-zero this spring? Cubic zirconia (‘CZ’). Eye-catching, elegant, and a little bit extra — CZ’s deliver a healthy dose of shine to your wardrobe. Similar to the revival of statement pearls that dominated early 2021, this diamond doppelgänger is set to steal the show this season. Not only does the history of the CZ match its multifaceted nature, but beyond its beauty, this stone is much more than meets the eye. 

While today we wear cubic zirconia in the name of style, it was originally created in the name of science. First utilized in 1972 by Russian physicists, CZ’s were employed in laser technology. Revered in the scientific community for its optical properties, this man-made stone acted as a prime substitute for rubies. Naturally occurring and rare, rubies were in short supply at the time, which ultimately led scientists to search for a synthetic option. Although the early 70’s marked the emergence of cubic zirconia, its discovery actually came several decades earlier by two German Gemologists — M. V. Stackelberg and K. Chudoba. However, the pair were so ahead of their time that they failed to understand the value of their discovery, opting not to document it. Luckily for fashionistas far and wide, CZ’s made the leap from industrial to beautiful in 1977.

With technology on its side, Russia was the first to grow this function of physics into something spectacular — simulated diamonds. Advanced by French techniques as well as their own, they created the synthetic stone that pioneered the perfection of cubic zirconia, Djevalite. Followed by the world-famous Swarovski brand, the crystal manufacturer made the switch from lead to zirconia, igniting the signature sparkle that defined the 80’s.

Flawless and free of imperfections, CZ’s continue to offer an affordably priced alternative to the ultra-luxe diamond. In a time when jewels are trending towards opulence, the accessibility of cubic zirconia creates an inclusive dynamic that also drives a more environmentally friendly fashion narrative. Grown in a lab as opposed to organically, cubic zirconia combats a long list of environmental concerns generated from natural gem excavation. Not only does the competition that CZ’s create reduce environmental impact, but the synthesis of CZ’s produces way fewer fossil fuels without disrupting natural ecosystems. A better option for our planet, these perfected stones speak to the superiority we seek when sourcing materials at @ShopMarrinCostello — as well as our brand mission to design + manufacture consciously. Shop our sustainable CZ styles HERE.