Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond: What's the Difference?

If you're considering purchasing a sparkling new piece of jewelry, you've likely come across the terms "cubic zirconia" in your search. But what exactly is the difference between these cubic zirconic and diamond, and how do they compare in terms of price, durability, brilliance, and color?

In this article, we'll take a closer look at cubic zirconia and explore the differences between it and diamonds to help you make an informed decision for your next jewelry purchase.

What is Cubic Zirconia?

Cubic zirconia (CZ) is a synthetic gemstone that closely resembles a diamond in appearance. It is made of zirconium dioxide, a crystalline material that can be produced in a lab. Cubic zirconia has been used as a diamond alternative since the 1970s due to its affordability and striking similarity to diamonds.

Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond Differences


One of the most significant differences between cubic zirconia and diamonds is the price. Cubic zirconia is considerably less expensive than diamonds, making it an attractive option for those on a budget.

The price difference is primarily due to the fact that cubic zirconia is a lab-created material, whereas diamonds are naturally occurring and must be mined from the earth. The process of producing cubic zirconia is less expensive than mining diamonds, and the supply is not limited by natural deposits.


When it comes to durability, diamonds are the clear winner. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on Earth, with a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This makes them highly resistant to scratches and chipping. Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, has a rating of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, making it less durable and more prone to scratches and chips.

While cubic zirconia is not as durable as diamonds, it is still a reasonably hard and durable material suitable for everyday wear. However, if you're looking for a long-lasting investment, a diamond may be the better choice.


Cubic zirconia has a higher refractive index than diamonds, which means it bends light more efficiently and can exhibit more brilliance. The refractive index of cubic zirconia is around 2.15-2.18, while diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42. This means that cubic zirconia can appear to have more "sparkle" than a diamond under certain lighting conditions.

However, it's essential to note that the extra brilliance in cubic zirconia can sometimes make it look less natural and more "glass-like" when compared to diamonds. This difference in brilliance may be a deciding factor based on personal preference.


Cubic zirconia is typically created to be colorless, closely mimicking the appearance of a diamond. However, it can also be produced in a variety of colors, such as yellow, pink, and blue. Diamonds, on the other hand, can naturally occur in a range of colors, including colorless, yellow, brown, and even rare shades like blue and pink. The color of a diamond can significantly impact its value, with colorless diamonds generally being the most valuable.

In conclusion, Cubic Zirconia and Diamond have their own set of pros and cons and choosing between them depends on personal preferences and budget. Cubic zirconia is an affordable and visually appealing alternative to diamonds, making it an attractive option for those who want a beautiful piece of jewelry without breaking the bank. Diamonds, however, are considered more valuable and durable, making them a better long-term investment.

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