Cubic Zirconia is a cubic form of zirconium oxide that is created in a laboratory, thus it is not a mineral. However, it was found naturally occurring once at one site in the 1930's, but has yet to be discovered since then. The mineral with the same chemical composition as CZ, but in the monoclinic crystal system, is baddeleyite.
Cubic Zirconia was discovered in its natural state in 1937 by two German mineralogists, von Stackelberg and Chudoba. It was in a highly metamict zircon given to them by B.W. Anderson. The zircon contained tiny crystals that were determined to be the cubic form of zirconium oxide by x-ray diffraction. The two mineralogists thought so little of their discovery that they did not even give it a name; which is why it is still known by its scientific name, cubic zirconia.
Caring for CZ
Cubic zirconia can be cleaned with any conventional jewelry cleaner or detergent. With such a high hardness and durability, you can use a brush to clean off dirt or oil also. Ultra sonic jewelry cleaners may also be used on CZ and will not damage the stone. However, when using soaps or detergents to clean CZ, one should wipe the jewelry dry thoroughly to avoid residue from the soap leaving a film that will dull the brilliance of the stone. Cubic Zirconia should be cleaned frequently to remove oils from skin that also dull the brilliance of the gem.