When did Preciosa begin producing cubic zirconia and why did you decide to expand your portfolio?
Preciosa’s production of cubic zirconia began in 1999 following the decision to establish a new division dedicated to fine jewelry, which benefited immediately from Preciosa’s cutting-edge technology and thorough knowledge of glass polishing.
What is cubic zirconia and how is it made?
Cubic zirconia is widely accepted as the closest material to natural diamond, which, if expertly made, can be indecipherable to the naked eye. Since cubic zirconia is not a natural material, its availability is not limited, which makes it significantly more affordable than diamonds. It’s created by a chemical process invented in France in 1960.
What is the difference between cubic zirconia and crystal? Are they used in the same way?
The main differences lie in their optical-aesthetic properties, (brilliance, fire, spark), and physical properties, (color, hardness and thermal and chemical resistance). Cubic zirconia possess extraordinary brilliance and exceptional light dispersion, (“fire”), traditionally characteristic of diamonds and other precious stones, resulting in a slightly higher price point than that of crystal. Due to its high melting point, cubic zirconia is ideal for the production of jewelry using the lost-wax casting method, which is why our cubic zirconia customer base is dominated by the jewelry segment.
What are synthetic jewelry stones and what is their advantage?
In the truest sense, synthetic jewelry stones are man-made stones whose properties match or surpass the properties of natural precious stones. They do not contain any deficiencies, grooves, protrusions, cracks or inclusions. Our cut stones made of synthetic materials are perfect.
For the first time cubic zirconia is part of Preciosa’s Inspirations & Innovations seasonal campaign. Why?
As our Cubic Zirconia & Gems and Crystal Components customers begin to merge, it made sense to connect the divisions and offer an extended portfolio to everyone. Also important is that, whether the stone is made from crystal or cubic zirconia, we are still one Preciosa, representing the world's highest quality, service and tradition in stone grinding.
What novelty in the A/W 2018 campaign would you highlight? Why is it special?
It's hard to choose just one. Each has its own merits and has been chosen for its uniqueness and distinction. If I had to pick, I would choose Aventurine. This is an entirely new material in our offer: glass with copper microparticles, which create a gorgeous glittering effect. My favorite is the Blue Aventurine – it reminds me of the summer night sky full of stars.
Which of the new products or colors was the most difficult to develop? How long did it take?
This would probably have to be the Buff Top Square, which lasted about two months. It was necessary to design several dozen variations of the cut and then to physically make countless samples to assess and select the best option to suit customer demand.
What differentiates your stones from competitors’?
Our stones’ facets are individually polished and exhibit exceptional precision proven by the visible star shape, which can be geometrically verified by a special gemological instrument called Starpix. What sets our stones apart is their brilliance, fire and twist. Every stone is cut to a tolerance of 0.01 mm.
How many colors do you offer and which are the most popular among your customers?
We offer a total of 44 colors, of which 22 are available in nanogems, 17 in cubic zirconia, three in synthetic spinel and two in synthetic corundum. We also offer an additional eight coatings. Our most popular color is, of course, the clear color of a diamond or “White,” which appears most often in classic jewelry. Pink and Black are also very popular, as well as Emerald Green and Sapphire Blue, which flawlessly imitate their natural namesakes. We have also recently received a high demand for Turquoise.
What is the difference between a diamond cut and a brilliant cut?
For those not familiar with jewelry industry terminology, the answer might be a bit surprising. Everyone knows that diamonds are an expensive natural stone, but “diamond” is also the name of a cut. The difference between the diamond cut and the brilliant cut is the number and shape of the facets on the stone. A diamond cut stone has 41 facets including the table and is frequently used for grinding small stones (up to 1.45 mm); a brilliant cut stone has 57 facets including the table.
What are nanogems and how do they differ from cubic zirconia?
Nanogems or nanocrystal is a purely synthetic material for the production of jewelry stones; there is no natural or precious counterpart. Nanogems are made from a glass-ceramic based material that is highly resistant to heat, making it likewise suitable for lost-wax casting. We offer nanogems in a wide variety of colors, especially those that imitate natural stones, such as Emerald or Sapphire, and opaque colors, such as Opal Honey, all of which cannot be achieved with cubic zirconia.
How do you control the quality of your cubic zirconia stones?
Our quality system is based on a sophisticated camera system that controls 100% of our production. This system instantaneously evaluates various qualitative parameters of stones including their optical-aesthetic and dimensional parameters. Our production meets all valid legislation of the Czech Republic and the EU. Our stones also comply with the ROHS and REACH directives.
What do you like the best about being a product manager? What is the biggest challenge?
Preciosa is synonymous with beauty and Bohemian tradition. Our product brings sparkle to the designs of some of the finest jewelers in the world. That’s what I enjoy the most – making something beautiful. However, the work of a product manager is not easy; it is complicated in it of itself. I am constantly learning new things about the product and the segment, but it is also exciting, especially when the team comes together to develop something new.surrounds us. The whole concept or the creative identity of an artist then gives it a tangible form. Every new vision is often composed by forming new connections recycled from past ideas.