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.