cubic zirconia vs. diamonds

cubic zirconia vs. diamonds

15.07.2019, 11:00

When it comes to engagement rings and other sparkling jewellery, the age-old question remains: diamonds or cubic zirconias? While both stones have their pros and cons, the truth is, it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two.

What are Cubic Zirconias?

Cubic zirconias, also known as CZs, are a popular alternative to diamonds. They’re made from zirconium oxide, which is a naturally occurring mineral. However, unlike diamonds, CZs are lab-created, which means they’re not mined from the earth. This makes them a more ethical option for those who are conscious about the environmental and social impact of their jewellery choices.

illustrative image of a young black woman with diamond earrings
These could be diamonds or they could be CZs!

CZs are known for their brilliance and fire, which makes them an excellent choice for those looking to add some sparkle to their jewellery collection. They’re also available in a wide range of colours, which means you can get creative with your jewellery choices – and mimic lots of other gemstones. Whether you’re looking for a clear, classic stone or a bold, colourful gem, CZs have got you covered.

It is quite common for people to purchase engagement rings with CZs rather than genuine diamonds to keep costs down, especially since they even mimic the dispersion of diamonds.

What are the main differences between CZs and Diamonds?

  • Diamonds do not easily get scratched or chipped which is why they work well in engagement rings which tend to get a lot of wear. Although CZ is a hard and relatively hard-wearing stone, it can become cloudy if not regularly cleaned and is also prone to scratches.
  • The clarity of diamonds can vary, and if you read our guide to diamonds you will know that the clarity of a diamond does affect its price. CZ’s lack flaws and always have excellent clarity.
  • Inclusions within diamonds also affects their price, but with CZ’s they are nearly always perfect.
  • CZ’s can be made into any colour, you will often see sapphire cz products for example, whereby the CZ has been manufactured to mimic the colour of the birthstone. Coloured diamonds are generally very expensive, and a large number of birthstones are also pricey.
  • Diamonds have a greater depth of brilliance, which means that they reflect light better, therefore appearing more shiny and glistening than a CZ would – this is one of the reasons that diamonds are so popular!
  • CZ’s generally have a more obvious “rainbow effect” when caught by the light. This feature is known as dispersion, and diamonds actually have a lower level of dispersion than CZ’s do.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Diamond and a CZ

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to diamonds and CZs is telling the difference between the two. Both stones have a similar brilliance and fire, which can make it difficult to tell them apart. However, there are a few key differences that can help you distinguish between the two.

The most accurate way to tell the difference is by looking at the stone under a microscope. Diamonds have a unique internal structure called a “carbon lattice,” which is not present in CZs. Additionally, diamonds have a higher refractive index, which means they’ll have a higher level of sparkle and fire.

A more practical way to tell the difference is by looking at the stone’s weight. Diamonds are significantly heavier than CZs, so if a stone feels lighter than you expect, it’s likely a CZ.

Back to the science! You can also do what’s called a thermal conductivity test, Diamonds are good conductors of heat, so if you touch a diamond with a cold metal and it quickly cools, it’s likely a real diamond. While CZs are insulators and will not conduct heat as well.

It’s also worth noting that CZs are available in a wide range of colours, while diamonds are typically clear. So, if you come across a colourful stone that you suspect might be a CZ, it’s likely that it is.

In conclusion, while it can be difficult to tell the difference between a diamond and a CZ, there are a few key differences that can help you distinguish between the two. By keeping an eye out for these differences, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a diamond and a CZ with greater accuracy

Despite these differences, CZs are an excellent alternative to diamonds for those looking for a sparkling stone without breaking the bank. They are also a great option for those who are conscious about the environmental impact of their jewellery choices.