Cubic zirconia and diamonds may appear identical from a distance, yet they are vastly different in terms of beauty, quality, and value. We recommend that natural diamonds be used instead of cubic zirconia when creating a gorgeous engagement ring that will last a lifetime. While you can purchase a cubic zirconia ring similar to this on Amazon for a fraction of the cost of a stunning 3 Carat diamond ring, the diamond is a far preferable choice.
Even though the two stones have certain similarities, cubic zirconia and diamonds vastly differ in physical structure, beauty, and value. Before deciding on an engagement ring or other fine jewelry, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental differences between the two. Our guide compares cubic zirconia vs. diamonds in everything from appearance and brilliance to pricing and durability.
What is Cubic Zirconia?
CZ is a colorless, synthetic gemstone produced from the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide, a chemical element. Cubic zirconia can be found in nature in the form of the mineral baddeleyite. However, it is an incredibly unusual occurrence. The gemstones used in cubic zirconia jewelry are synthetic and manufactured in a laboratory.
Cubic zirconia is sometimes referred to as a low-cost diamond substitute. However, it differs from genuine diamonds in terms of their aesthetic attributes and physical structure because it is lab-grown, whereas natural diamonds are magnificent, naturally occurring jewels.
How can you Tell the Difference Between Cubic Zirconia and Diamond Engagement Rings?
The best way to identify the difference between cubic zirconia and a diamond is to examine the stones in natural light: a diamond emits white light (brilliance), whereas cubic zirconia emits a visible rainbow of colors (excessive light dispersion). Excessive light dispersion is an important indicator that the stone is not a diamond.
There are various other ways to tell the difference between diamonds and cubic zirconia, including examining their physical, chemical, and optical characteristics. Knowing the distinctions will assist you in making the best option possible while creating and purchasing jewelry, among other things.
Cubic Zirconia Vs. Diamond: Beauty and Brilliance
The cut of a diamond determines how much light reflects through the diamond’s table to your eyes, and it is this feature has the most impact on its brilliance. Brilliance is white light reflection, while fire refers to colorful light reflection.
There is no natural sparkle or fire in cubic zirconia, and it has a much lower refractive index than diamonds, ranging from 2.15 to 2.18. Cubic zirconia reflects light differently than other materials, resulting in much less reflection back to the eye. You can tell the vast difference in light reflection just by looking at the two jewels under a light.
Cubic zirconia also has a higher dispersion rate than diamonds (0.058–0.066 vs. 0.044). The enhanced dispersion gives the CZ stone a “rainbow effect,” which means it reflects an excessive amount of colored light. It’s easy to recognize as a fake diamond because of the excessive dispersion of light.
Another distinction is that cubic zirconia has a refractive index of 2.15–2.18, whereas diamonds have a refractive index of 2.417–2.419. Because light travels faster through a diamond and back to your eyes, it has a higher refractive index. A refractive index isn’t a criterion for determining the value of a diamond. While the refractive index of cubic zirconia and diamonds differs, it is not an essential factor to consider. Cubic zirconia pales compared to a diamond’s unrivaled beauty and brightness.
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Cubic Zirconia Vs. Diamond: Durability and Density
Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring mineral on the planet, with a Mohs hardness rating of 10. Diamonds are solid and long-lasting, perfect for engagement rings and everyday use, and diamonds require very little care to keep their radiance and beauty.
On the other hand, Cubic zirconia has a Mohs hardness rating of 8.5. It has some durability because it is made of synthetic material. It can be used to make jewelry, but it will not last as long as a diamond. Cubic zirconia, for example, becomes damaged and hazy over time.
Diamonds are somewhat denser than cubic zirconia. By weighing a CZ stone against a diamond on a scale, a jeweler or gemologist may easily distinguish it from a diamond. Cubic zirconia, like diamonds, can cut or scratch glass. That’s why rubbing a stone against a piece of glass isn’t an intelligent way to tell if it’s a diamond. Both fake and natural diamonds have the potential to scratch the surface. Some individuals assumed this was a valid test, but it is no longer valid.
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Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond: Clarity and Color
Unlike diamonds, which have natural flaws, cubic zirconia is manufactured in a laboratory. Unblemished diamonds are tough to come by and, as a result, quite costly. Cubic zirconia is deemed faultless by some, but it is regarded as “too perfect” or “fake-looking by the majority.”
It’s best to find an eye-clean diamond if you’re shopping for a diamond because it will be difficult to spot any flaws or inclusions if the diamond is not eye-clean. The Clarity grade will vary according to the Carat weight, but VS1 or VS2 will generally suffice. Choosing a higher Clarity grade will cost you more money, but you’ll be paying for a feature that will go unseen. By choosing an eye-clean diamond, you will be able to obtain a stone that seems to be nearly flawless to the unaided gaze.
When it comes to Diamond Color, we recommend that you go for a diamond that seems white compared to its surrounding setting. We usually recommend looking for a diamond in the G to I range, depending on the shape of your diamond and the setting you have chosen.
What is the Process of Creating Cubic Zirconia?
Cubic zirconia is created by melting zirconium oxide powder in the presence of stabilizers such as magnesium and calcium at 4,982 degrees Fahrenheit. Crystals form and stabilize after being exposed to high temperatures for an extended period. After that, the crystals are cut and polished. Cubic zirconia is manufactured in various ways, each with its unique set of specifications.
Cubic zirconia may seem like a variety of diamond shapes, including Cushion-Cut and Oval-Cut diamonds. Cubic zirconia is also available in a variety of different colors.
Is Cubic Zirconia a Decent Choice for a Wedding Band?
In terms of jewelry, cubic zirconia is a relatively inexpensive synthetic choice. However, it is not suggested for engagement rings or other fine jewelry. Cubic zirconia will not last as long as a diamond or colored gemstone, and it will not be nearly as beautiful as a diamond or colored gemstone.
Is it Possible to Get Cubic Zirconia Wet?
It is possible to get cubic zirconia wet; however, frequent contact with water will cause the stone to get damaged. When performing water-related activities such as dishwashing, bathing, or swimming, it is best to remove cubic zirconia jewelry to avoid injury.
If you continue to wear your jewelry while engaging in these activities for an extended period, the quality of the cubic zirconia will decline. Chemicals in water, including chlorine, saltwater, and certain minerals, can affect your stone.
Is it Possible for Cubic Zirconia to Become Cloudy?
Craquelure (clouding) of cubic zirconia occurs due to scratches, soap and mineral residue, grime, and prolonged exposure to oxygen in the air and water. You can clean your cubic zirconia jewelry with soapy water and a soft cloth if necessary. It is possible that you will not be able to restore your gemstone to its original state, depending on the cause of the cloudiness.
Is Cubic Zirconia Suitable for Use in an Engagement Ring?
When it comes to jewelry, cubic zirconia is a low-cost synthetic choice that should be avoided when buying an engagement ring or quality jewelry. Compared to a diamond or colored gemstone, cubic zirconia will not last nearly as long as the latter or offer nearly as much beauty.
Are Lab-Created Diamonds and Cubic Zirconia the Same Thing?
Diamonds made in a laboratory are not the same as cubic zirconia. Lab-created diamonds are synthetic diamonds with the same physical and optical attributes as actual diamonds but are not as expensive as natural diamonds. For example, lab-created diamonds have identical carbon atom configurations to those seen in natural diamonds, and they reflect light with the same brilliance and fire as genuine diamonds. In comparison to diamonds, cubic zirconia does not have the same physical attributes as diamonds, and it does not have the same brightness and fire that diamonds possess.
Using a lab-grown diamond rather than cubic zirconia will provide far better results. Even though it is significantly less expensive than a natural diamond, you will still receive timeless beauty and stunning brilliance.
Diamonds are unrivaled in their reputation and class, which are closely associated with them (though this is mainly due to clever marketing strategies). No matter how well cubic zirconia works or how logical a purchase it is, it will never be able to compete with the status that comes with having a diamond.
Having stated that, your values and preferences determine whether or not you should choose a CZ. If you place a high value on affordability and long-term sustainability, a CZ is your vehicle. A diamond is a must-have if you want something that will last a lifetime, has style, and will give you bragging rights.