Zirconia: From Supporting Player to Center Stage



Zirconia has come a long way since it was first discovered in its naturally occurring form, baddeleyite, in 1892. This yellowish mineral only became of interest to the jewelry sector as a diamond simulant when a stable cubic form that was hard, colorless, and optically flawless was synthesized. In the late 1970s, zirconia became ever more popular and by 1980, the annual global production had reached a staggering 50 million carats.

In 1976, Swarovski was the first company in the world to offer machine-cut zirconia to the jewelry industry, taking the Gemological Institute of America’s rigorous standards for grading diamond cut quality as its benchmark for excellence. Calling upon all of the company’s expertise in the exacting science of precision cutting, Swarovski developed the Pure Brilliance cut for zirconia, resulting in unmatched quality and brilliance. Further innovations followed including a range of classic Zirconia Fancy Diamond Cuts, and the striking Zirconia Diamond Colors, each equating to one of nature’s most celebrated colored diamonds.

More recently, Swarovski joined forces with jewelry designer Judith Ripka to develop a new cut for her latest collectionThe Double Brilliant Cut for Zirconia, boasting 118 precision-cut facets that deliver exceptional brilliance and sparkle, is the product of that collaboration. Additionally, every stone is marked with a specially developed Judith Ripka laser engraving to ensure origin and authenticity.