If you want the look of a shimmering diamond without the hefty price tag that comes with it, cubic zirconia is a route worth your consideration. "It’s the most popular synthetic gemstone in the world, created in a lab rather than from the earth," Missoma CEO and Creative Director Marisa Hordern tells Brides.
Meet the Expert
Cubic zirconia is durable, colorless, sparkly, and wonderfully budget-friendly, and if you’re not familiar with its composition, you can think of it as the crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. All cubic zirconia on the market today is manmade and while it certainly looks similar to diamonds, the two do not share the same chemical composition (diamonds are made of carbon).
If you’ve made the decision to invest in a piece of jewelry or ring crafted from this material, you’ll need to know how to give it the TLC it deserves—just because it's more affordable doesn’t mean it doesn’t require (or deserve!) upkeep. Over time, a pesky buildup of debris, cosmetics, and other everyday materials can cause your jewelry to lose its radiance and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Rather than letting this happen, you can keep your pieces looking radiant and new with very little effort involved and a few simple tips.
Ahead, the expert-led rundown on how to clean cubic zirconia rings and jewelry with tips on what products to use (and which ones to avoid), plus how often you should be setting aside time for maintenance.
How to Clean Cubic Zirconia
Cubic zirconia is just like any other gemstone in the sense that it needs to be cleaned in order to preserve its radiance. "I recommend cleaning your cubic zirconia jewelry carefully with a soft, non-abrasive, and lint-free cloth or chamois," Hordern says. In doing so, you can help maintain or bring back its shine. "If necessary, you can use a mild washing-up liquid with warm water and a soft toothbrush, then rinse with clean water." Once you are done with the cleaning process you can pat your cubic zirconia pieces dry with a soft cloth.
If cubic zirconia rings and jewelry aren't cleaned regularly, they can become a welcoming environment for bacteria and grime. And because these pieces are making direct contact with your skin, a sanitary situation is beneficial not just for the appearance of your jewelry but for your health and wellbeing, too.
How Often to Clean Cubic Zirconia
While you don’t need to incorporate a cubic zirconia cleaning ritual into your daily routine, you also don’t want to ignore cleaning for months at a time. Instead, Hordern says you can "keep your cubic zirconia jewelry shining for longer by cleaning it every few weeks."
Make it easy on yourself and create a calendar invite to remind yourself to take 20 minutes on the weekend to give your cubic zirconia baubles a quick scrub.
What Not to Use When Cleaning Cubic Zirconia
While Hordern notes that a mild washing-up liquid is safe for cubic zirconia, she advises against cleaners that are more abrasive. "Avoid using 'dip' polish or abrasive jewelry cleaners as these contain harsh chemicals and can destroy your jewelry over time," she says. "I wouldn’t recommend using any jewelry polishing cloths which have been treated with cleaners or polishing agents." Instead, opt for a simple, soft cloth.
While it may be advisable to have an expensive diamond engagement ring professionally cleaned from time to time, a piece of cubic zirconia jewelry is easy to clean yourself at home. By following Hordern’s low-lift tips, your jewelry will look dazzlingly clean for many, many years to come.