While it is hard to deny the beauty and allure of diamonds, there will always be a large number of women who are opt for the more affordable alternative: cubic zirconia. Because there are many online retailers who sell variations of cubic zirconia,  which stores are trustworthy? The most affordable with the highest quality? Take a look at the top cubic zirconia retailers and learn more about this popular gemstone.

Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamonds

In the early beginnings of cubic zirconia, it was cut to an acceptable standard but nowhere near the quality of diamond cuts. Fortunately, advances in technology and cutting techniques (including diamond cutting) for cubic zirconia has greatly improved this synthetically produced gem.

To the average observer, cubic zirconia is reasonably indistinguishable from a natural diamond. There are, however, some differences:

  • Flaws: Nearly all natural diamonds will have some flaws (or inclusions). Because cubic zirconia and other synthetic gemstones are produced in perfect laboratory conditions, they are flawless. Flawless diamonds are incredibly rare.
  • Hardness: Diamonds are incredibly hard–a 10.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas cubic zirconia is around the 8.5 range. Still considered to be a hard gem, but simply does not have the strength of a diamond. Interestingly enough, diamonds can and do chip, so no stone is truly chip-proof. CZ can cloud or scratch over time and requires good cleaning practices.
  • Weight: Cubic zirconia is approximately 70% heavier than a diamond and your jeweler can easily determine its authenticity by weighing the stone.
  • Fire and Brilliance (Sparkle): Cubic zirconia disperses (reflects) light more than a diamond, making it appear slightly more sparkly. It sparkles a differently because it does not capture the light exactly the same way as a diamond. Although cubic zirconia doesn’t have the same “depth” and deeper coloring as a diamond, the price difference is significant enough that it is still a viable and reasonable option for many women today. The main thing to watch out for are the larger carat sizes (2 carats or larger) as they will look too fake and sparkle too much. Keeping your cubic zirconia below this size will ensure it looks as natural as possible.

Caring for Cubic Zirconia Jewelry

Just as with any precious gemstone or diamond, cubic zirconia and all diamond simulants should be cleaned frequently in order to keep it looking beautiful. Take off your cubic zirconia (or any jewelry) while using chemicals, gardening, gym equipment or any other type of activity that might damage your ring. Warm soap and water works great, as do the jewelry cleaners found in any department store.

Finding Quality Cubic Zirconia Jewelry

Whether it be for earrings, necklaces, engagement rings or wedding rings, cubic zirconia is the most popular alternative to diamonds. Many settings feature cubic zirconia when, for example, a full diamond pave ring or necklace may be too costly for the average consumer. Cubic zirconia is also a popular accent for colored gemstones and allows for much of the cost to be concentrated on the quality of a beautiful ruby, emerald or sapphire.
A fantastic option for many women is to find the highest quality cubic zirconia stones and place them in a platinum, palladium or 14k gold setting in order to create the illusion of a high-priced piece of jewelry without sacrificing quality.

Popular Cubic Zirconia Jewelers 

There are some excellent online stores which sell cubic zirconia jewelry at affordable prices. It pays to research the various stores’ selection, prices and quality.
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Although cubic zirconia was once considered a mediocre alternative to diamonds, the quality of the cut and settings has increased dramatically over the past 5 years. Its popularity in fashionable, upscale marketplaces makes it a reasonable choice for women who want affordable luxury.
Images courtesy of BirkatelyonSwarovski .

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