The Physics
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Index of Refraction of Cubic Zirconia

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
CPO Integrated Physics and Chemistry. CPO Integrated Physics and Chemistry. Cambridge Physics Outlet, 2002
Ethyl alcohol1.36
Fused quartz1.46
Crown glass1.52
Cubic zirconia2.20
Keller, Bob. Bob's Rock Shop. 1995-2007.
Quartz Solid 1.54
Salt Solid 1.54
Tourmaline Solid 1.62
Garnet Solid 1.73–1.89
Cubic Zirconia Solid 2.14–2.20
Diamond Solid 2.41
Lerner, Lawrence S. Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 1996: 944. Zirconium oxide 2.2 2.2
Graham, Jeff. Gram Faceting. 06 June 2007.
Color: All ranges, including color changes
Moh’s Hardness: 8.25–8.5
Refractive index: 2.14–2.20
Critical Angle: 27.86°
Specific Gravity: 5.7

Cubic Zirconia or zirconium oxide (ZrO2) is commonly know as the fake Diamond. The cubic zirconia ia a synthetic gemstone which has physical traits similar to the traits of a diamond which makes the cubic zirconia easy to be mistaken for a diamond. Although the cubic zirconia is nowhere as hard as the diamond, it is still harder than most natural gems. The cubic zirconia is also two times heavier than a diamond and cannot conduct as much heat as the diamond. The cubic zirconia is usually colorless but may be made in different colors. It has a high melting point of 2750 °C and becomes electrically conductive at 500 °C. Also similar to the diamond, the cubic zirconia has an isometric crystal structure. This artificial gem was not used in jewelry until 1969. It is now used extensively in the jewelry business as a diamond substitute.

The index of refraction of a cubic zirconia is 2.2 which is almost as high as the diamond's 2.4. The index of refraction of a substance is the measure of how much the speed of light is reduce inside that substance. This measurement is a ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light inside the medium. Since the result is a ratio, it does not have a unit.

Jeanne Chau -- 2007