Main Difference Between Cubic Zirconia and Diamond(Pros $ Cons Explained in 2024)

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Are you planning a proposal? Depending on the preferences, style, and the likes of your S/O, you cannot go wrong with an engagement ring adorned with a sparkling stone. And as you know by now, the bigger the stone, the better the effect, well, unless your partner is not into such stuff.

But going by trends, the best engagement rings (even promise) rings have a stone set on them, and the best part is that absolutely no one will say no to the ring because it has a huge stone. Well, unless they are saying no to your proposal, which is not what we wish anyone like you.

But which are the best stones? Diamonds are popular, and the cubic zirconia stones are also gaining popularity. Both diamonds and the cubic zirconia stones are sparkling, and they add an elegant flair and class to rings. So, which of the two options should you settle for?


What is Zirconia?

Cubic Zirconia Earring

If you are new to the jewelry world, it may be different for you to differentiate between diamonds and the cubic zirconia. To take you from novice to pro, zirconia, better known as cubic zirconia, refers to the synthetic gemstone designed in a semblance of diamond. Cubic zirconia or CZ is, therefore, man-made. To be specific, CZ represents a type of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). Note that while diamonds have been in existence for eons, CZ is relatively new, dating back to 1976.

The CZ manufacturing process is rather complex, and a skull crucible is involved. It should be noted that as a result of the synthetic processes/ steps in the creation of CZ, this synthetic gemstone comes out just about 100% flawless, and it has zero microscopic cracks or chips common in natural diamonds. Although CZ is often made to mimic diamonds and it’s made to look colorless and sparkling like natural diamonds, there are colored CZ gemstones. Note, however, that pure diamond is never truly colorless, and they always come with a tiny yellow tinge.


What is a Diamond?

There are different ways you could define diamonds, but the best possible definition of a diamond is this: a diamond represents the most valued and treasured of gemstones. Diamonds are believed to have been formed millions of years ago from high pressurization of carbon atoms, and they are found deep in the earth’s crust, specifically 93 miles beneath the earth.

Over the years, the pressurized carbon-turned diamonds were pushed up closer to the surface of the earth, and these are the pieces that are mined and then curved into jewelry. In 2018, diamonds were ranked as the hardest substance known to man. The hardness of diamonds is unsurpassed in their transparency, brilliance, and fire. A natural diamond is, besides being the most prized gemstones, almost flawless and mostly colorless. However, did you know that diamonds could be synthetic or natural?


Main differences between cubic Zirconia and Diamond

As mentioned above, diamonds are precious metals mined from great depths below the earth, they are highly-priced, and they are natural. Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, is cheaper since it’s a synthetic/ man-made.

But the processes that bring these stones into existence aren’t the only things that differentiate Cubic Zirconia from diamonds. There are several other differences, and we’ll look at all of them in this article. For ease of differentiation, we’ll look at the main features of these gemstones and how they differ.

CZ vs. Diamonds: Origin

Diamonds are available in synthetic natural forms, with the mined diamonds being the most expensive of precious stones, and the synthetic ones the slightly cheaper. Note, however, that despite the difference in their origins, the synthetic diamonds are optimally, chemically, and also visually identical to the mined diamonds, and this means that they are just as real, with the only exception between the diamonds being where they are created.

On the other hand, you have the Cubic Zirconia gemstones, which, in as much as they are like the synthetic diamonds following their lab-based manufacturing processes, are more of diamond simulants. They have little in common with diamonds, besides the similarities in appearance.

Also, regarding diamonds and CZ: diamonds are made purely out carbon atoms that have undergone a significant amount of pressure while CZ is made out of Zirconium oxide.

Here’s an interesting bit of information about CZ gemstones, a reason why you may opt for CZ over diamond: unlike the mined natural diamond, CZ is a more sustainable option with its creation in the lab, meaning that CZ is durable, and created in an ethical, conflict-free environment.

CZ vs. Diamond: Durability

The MoH scale is used to determine the hardness of metals/ materials. And on this scale, diamond scores a perfect 10 confirming what we already know – that diamond is the hardest, naturally occurring mineral. In addition to being the hardest mineral in existence, diamond is also super resilient and durable, hence their use in jewelry as bedazzling embellishments for wedding and engagement rings. Diamond’s durability is further enhanced by the fact that this precious gemstone will not be chipped or easily scratched.

CZ, by contrast, isn’t as hard as diamond, and it ranks at between 8.0 and 8.5 on the MOH hardness scale. At this range, CZ is a comparatively hard stone, but it’s not as hard as diamond, and it’s prone to chipping, scratches, and other forms of external damage. It means, therefore, that despite the hardness of CZ, you will see some damage over time, and the stone may appear cloudy. On the bright side, you can reduce the appearance of scratches or the cloudiness through regular cleaning.

Therefore, when it comes to the durability of jewelry embellished with either CZ or diamond, the value and the appearance of the jewelry over time will, for the most part, depend on how well the piece is taken care of.

CZ vs. Diamond: Clarity

The clarity of gemstones is a critical factor when it comes to the determination of the grade and value of the precious stones. So, if you have diamond and CZ stones but you cannot tell why they are valued differently, check the clarity of the stones. On matters clarity, the grading starts from Flawless to Included. As expected, the Flawless diamonds are the most expensive and often the most sought-after; these flawless stones have the fewest possible natural incisions. However, Flawless diamonds are incredibly rare. CZ stones are, on the other hand, incredibly flawless, which is why when testing diamonds and CZ, a stone with 100% clarity posing as a diamond would be a dead giveaway. CZs are often considered to be too perfect and even fake looking. Flawless diamonds are very expensive.

CZ vs. Diamond: Color

The other big difference between CZ and diamond is in color. Diamonds are rare, beautiful, and in most cases, clear. However, before you buy a diamond ring, you should know that diamonds are not always colorless, and they may come with some colored tinge. As a result, there is a grading system specific to diamonds. The grading is on a scale system from D to Z – colorless to yellow. Diamonds graded D are the most valuable. The colored diamonds are also valued at a price that’s significantly higher than the price of the CZ gemstones.

Looking at cubic zirconia, you will find that most of the jewelry bedazzled with cubic zirconia is clear, although there are colored options too. The reason why you will find 100% clear, pink, red, champagne, green, or blue CZ stones has to do with the highly controlled conditions in which the stones are created. The most impressive bit is that almost all CZ stones with that stunning clear/ colorless look match the appearance of the best diamonds but at so much less.

It’s also worth noting that while the yellow-tinged diamonds are valued at a lower price than the clear diamonds, the red, blue, green, pink, and champagne diamonds cost a lot more than the clear diamonds.

CZ vs. Diamond: Refractive Index

The refractive index, RI, is the angle that light enters a gemstone, and as light bends, it will create a certain brilliance in the stone. Diamond has a high RI of 2.42, while CZ’s RI is lower, ranging from 2.15-2.18. So, while both gemstones sparkle, the diamond’s brilliance is unmatched. Brilliance adds to the timeless allure of diamonds.

CZ vs. Diamond: Value

Between cubic zirconia and diamond, it’s an undeniable truth that diamonds are valued way above the CZ stones. In fact, the price-per-carat between the diamond and CZ gemstones is significantly high. One ct. of CZ costs tens of dollars whole one CT. of diamond costs several hundred dollars, if not thousands of dollars. So, if you are looking for the cheaper option, you may want to opt for the CZ gemstone.

CZ vs. Diamond: Density

The density of the gemstones is an important factor that’s used to determine the value and the authenticity of the gemstones. CZ’s density is higher than diamonds; it’s specifically 1.7x denser than diamond. The differences in density imply that CZ and diamond will never share their carat weight value, and one CZ carat looks smaller than a carat of diamond, as long as all the other factors are held equal.


The pros and cons of Zirconia


  • CZ is cheaper than a diamond; priced at roughly 1/10th of natural diamond’s cost
  • A loss would be manageable
  • 100% flawless clarity
  • It resembles diamond
  • It comes in different colors


  • It’s softer than diamonds and prone to damages
  • It gets cloudy over time
  • You’ll have to replace the stone after an average of years
  • Less valuable


The pros and cons of Diamond


  • Very durable
  • Extremely valuable
  • Great brilliance and sparkle once it’s cut
  • Artificial treatments improve the color and clarity of the diamonds
  • They last forever
  • They retain color easily


  • Expensive
  • Grading is necessary for you to pick the most authentic piece


CZ and diamond are incredible gemstones and great jewelry options for engagements or weddings. But as seen above and as you already know, a diamond is very expensive. Therefore, CZ gemstone may be an excellent option for you if you cannot afford the real thing.

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