What is Cubic Zirconia? CZ vs. Diamonds

What is Cubic Zirconia? CZ vs. Diamonds

Diamonds are the most popular engagement rings but aren't the only gemstone option. Cubic zirconia is a good choice if you want something other than a diamond ring.

What is CZ?

CZ is an artificial diamond created in 1975 by General Electric and DeBeers. It's made of zirconium dioxide and looks like a diamond but costs much less. This makes it a great alternative if you're on a budget or want to be able to afford more than one ring!

You've heard of cubic zirconia, and you've probably even seen it in person at some point in your lifetime. Some people call it CZ, and some call it CZ stones or CZ jewelry. ​But whatever you want to call it, you've probably wondered, is cubic zirconia expensive? Is cubic zirconia genuine? And most importantly – do they look like diamonds? ​If you are wondering if cubic zirconia's are worth the money compared to diamonds or if they are even a good substitute for natural diamonds, then keep reading to find out more.

Cubic Zirconia, Diamonds

Is cubic zirconia expensive?

CZ is a synthetic diamond alternative that mimics the look and feel of natural diamonds at a fraction of the cost. But just because it's not real doesn't mean it isn't beautiful! Many people choose CZ jewelry to get the look without spending thousands of dollars on a ring or necklace.

So how do you know if you're getting a good deal? First, be sure to ask about the quality of your CZ jewelry before making your purchase. Some stores may sell fake pieces that look like real ones but cost much less than authentic items made from natural materials like diamonds or gold.

In addition to being careful about what kind of jewelry store you shop at, you should also research CZ before deciding what kind of stone would look best on your finger or neckline.

If you're looking for custom-made cubic zirconia jewelry, look no further than Asorock. Our team comprises the most skilled artisans in the custom-designed jewelry industry. We take pride in identifying the greatest jewelers and strive to be a market leader in the custom jewelry industry. We can only do this with our staff's outstanding craftsmanship and expertise. 

Is cubic zirconia genuine? 

CZ is not natural; it's artificial! However, due to its high brilliance and durability (comparable to diamonds), some people may mistake it for the real thing if they aren't familiar with how jewelry is made.


How to spot cubic zirconia

The best way to test for cubic zirconia is to use a loupe, a magnifying glass that jewelers use to inspect their pieces. Hold the loupe over the center of your piece, then look at it through the lens. If you see "fire" coming off of the stone, then it's the most likely natural diamond—but keep reading! You can also use this method when shopping online or at brick-and-mortar stores by taking pictures and comparing them side by side with photos of natural diamonds. If they're not identical, chances are good that it's not a natural diamond. If you don't have access to either of these tools (or if they're too expensive), you can try rubbing some clear nail polish on the stone—if it leaves marks on its surface, then it's probably cubic zirconia.

How does it compare to diamonds?

Cubic Zirconia, Diamonds
While many think that cubic zirconia and diamonds are the same, this isn't true! Both are created with different methods and materials, which means they have different properties. For example, CZ has fewer flaws than diamonds—which means it will look better in your engagement ring!

CZ vs. Diamonds: The Basics

Cubic zirconia is a crystalline silica (SiO2) form with added iron and trace minerals such as titanium and chromium. In simple terms, this means that CZ has the same chemical composition as quartz—but with a slightly different atomic structure. That gives it some unique properties that may make it look like a diamond from afar. The most important difference between CZ and diamonds is that the latter has a crystalline structure of carbon atoms arranged in an orderly way. In contrast, the former has an amorphous structure with no orderly arrangement. This means that diamonds have much higher thermal conductivity than cubic zirconia, while both materials are insulators—meaning they don't conduct electricity very well.

Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond: Their Looks and Glow

Cubic zirconia contains no true brilliance or fire. It has a refractive index between 2.15 and 2.18, while diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42. Cubic zirconia is very different in how light travels through it, reflecting much less light to the eye. Just by looking at the two gems under a light, you can see how different they are in how they reflect light. For example, this beautiful 0.8-carat diamond ring from James Allen will shine brighter than any cubic zirconia, no matter how big.

The dispersion rate is also higher for cubic zirconia (between 0.058–0.066 and 0.044 for diamonds). Because of the increased dispersion, the CZ stone has a "rainbow effect," reflecting too many different colors. The fake diamond is easy to spot because it spreads too much light.

Another difference is that the refractive index of cubic zirconia is between 2.15 and 2.18, while the refractive index of a diamond is between 2.417 and 2.419. The refractive index of a diamond is higher because light moves through the stone and back to your eyes faster. The refractive index is not a way to measure a diamond's good. Even though the refractive index is different for diamonds and cubic zirconia, it's not a very important thing to think about.

Cubic zirconia can't compare to the beauty and brilliance of a diamond, which can't be beaten.

Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond: Strength and Density

On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, diamonds score a perfect ten as the world's most complex naturally occurring mineral. Because diamonds are so strong and resilient, they are great for engagement rings and everyday use. Diamonds retain their luster and beauty with minimal upkeep.

In contrast, cubic zirconia scores an 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Because it is made of a synthetic substance, it is somewhat durable. It can be used in jewelry but will not possess the durability of a diamond. For instance, cubic zirconia scratches and becomes hazy over time.

Cubic zirconia may cut or scratch glass similarly to a diamond. Therefore, scraping the stone on glass is not reliable for determining whether the stone is a diamond. Both synthetic and natural diamonds can scratch a surface. People once believed this was a valid test, but it is no longer a valid procedure.

Diamond vs. Cubic Zirconia: Brightness and Color

Because cubic zirconia is manufactured in a laboratory, it lacks the natural flaws of diamonds. A perfect diamond is extremely rare and, hence, quite valuable. Some may deem Cubic zirconia faultless, although they are typically considered "too perfect" or artificial-looking.

If you're looking for a diamond, we advise you to pick one that is eye-clean, meaning that you cannot perceive flaws and inclusions with the naked eye. Depending on the carat weight, this entails typically selecting a Clarity grade of VS1 or VS2. While you have the option of selecting a higher Clarity grade, you will be paying for a feature that will go unseen.

Choosing an eye-clean diamond will result in a stone that seems nearly flawless to the naked sight. Cubic zirconia is deemed colorless due to its manufacturing process. However, these synthetic stones frequently reflect orange-colored light, which is another apparent indication that they are not genuine diamonds. 

Purple cubic zirconia with checkerboard cut

Purple cubic zirconia with checkerboard cut

Multi-color cubic zirconia

Multi-color cubic zirconia

Three-tone cubic zirconia gems

Three-tone cubic zirconia gems

Three-tone cubic zirconia gems

Three-tone cubic zirconia gems



Diamonds are expensive. If you're looking to save some cash, other options will give you the same sparkle without breaking the bank. Cubic zirconia is one example of such an option. It offers all of the beauty and brilliance of a diamond without costing as much—and it can be just as durable.

Do you want a custom-made piece of jewelry?

Asorock custom watch

Our company, Asorock Watches, is here to make that happen.

We craft premium custom pieces at fair prices without the excessive markup on traditional pieces. We use only the best materials and ensure every piece is carefully crafted.

If you're looking for cubic zirconia custom jewelry, we can help you get the look you want without breaking the bank or compromising quality.

Asorock watches are a great way to get affordable custom-made jewelry pieces. You can check out their Instagram for more information or visit their website.

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