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

Cubic zirconia and diamonds are often compared for their beauty and brilliance. While both gemstones are prized for their aesthetic qualities, there are significant differences between them. 

Cubic zirconia is a man-made synthetic material created in a laboratory, while diamonds are a naturally occurring mineral. While both gemstones are visually similar, diamonds are valued for their rarity, durability, and hardness, while cubic zirconia is less expensive and less durable.

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It can be confusing trying to wade through the differences but don’t worry! We will compare and contrast cubic zirconia and diamonds to help you decide which is the right choice for you.

What is Cubic Zirconia Exactly?

We all know about diamonds, but what about cubic zirconia? Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that is created in a lab as a diamond simulant. It looks very similar to a diamond but has a lower price tag. 

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The material is a crystalline form of zirconium oxide (ZrO2), which is a white powder. When heated to a very high temperature, it transforms into a transparent crystal with a hardness that is very similar to that of a diamond.

Cubic zirconia is often used as a diamond simulant in jewelry because of its cost-effectiveness and durability. It is also a popular gemstone for those looking for a diamond look-alike without the hefty price tag. Unlike diamonds, cubic zirconia does not need to be treated with special care and is not prone to scratching or chipping.

Cubic zirconia is available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. It can be cut into fancy shapes like marquise, princess, and emerald cuts. It can also be cut into a variety of sizes, including carats. This makes it very versatile, as it can be used to create a variety of pieces of jewelry, from engagement rings to earrings.


a cubic zirconia ring


Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamonds

There are many different pros and cons to both cubic zirconia and diamonds. Here are a few of the biggest differences between them.

The Cost

The difference in price between diamonds and cubic zirconia is significant. Diamonds are among the most valuable gems available on the market. 

The cost of a diamond is based on the quality of the stone, which is determined by factors such as cut, color, clarity, and carat size. These factors will determine the price of a diamond, which can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, is a synthetic gemstone that is much less valuable than a diamond. It is usually made of zirconium oxide and is often used as a diamond substitute. 

While the cost of cubic zirconia can vary, it is generally much less expensive than a diamond. A cubic zirconia is usually worth a few dollars or less, while a diamond could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

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The largest difference between diamonds and cubic zirconia is the price. While diamonds are expensive and highly sought after, cubic zirconia is much cheaper and offers a great alternative for those who want a sparkling gemstone that is still cost-effective. While diamonds may be the real deal, cubic zirconia is a great alternative for those who are looking for a more frugal option.


Diamonds and cubic zirconia are both stones that resemble each other in terms of appearance. However, there are distinct differences between the two. 

At first glance, diamonds and cubic zirconia look very similar, and it can be hard to tell the difference between them. Diamonds are clear and usually colorless, with a strong sparkle and refractive index, while cubic zirconia is usually a little more cloudy and has a slightly lower refractive index. 

The most obvious difference between diamonds and cubic zirconia is in their weight and density. Diamonds are much heavier than cubic zirconia, which means that a real diamond will feel heavier in your hand. Cubic zirconia also has a higher scratch resistance than diamonds, so it will be less likely to get scratched or damaged. 

Diamonds also have a unique cut that sets them apart from cubic zirconia, called the “brilliant cut.” This cut allows for a higher refractive index, which makes the diamond sparkle more than cubic zirconia. 

Finally, diamonds have a higher thermal conductivity than cubic zirconia, which means that they will stay warm longer than cubic zirconia will.

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Durability is an important consideration when shopping for jewelry. Both diamonds and cubic zirconia are popular choices, but there is a key difference in their durability. 

Diamonds are the hardest natural material on earth and therefore the most durable. They have a Mohs hardness rating of 10, meaning they can only be scratched by a diamond or other substance with a higher rating. 

Because of this, diamonds are difficult to break, chip, or scratch. Additionally, diamonds have excellent heat and chemical resistance, making them ideal for use in jewelry.

Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, has a Mohs hardness rating of 8.5, which makes it slightly less durable than diamonds. It is softer than diamonds and can be scratched or chipped more easily. Cubic zirconia also has a lower heat and chemical resistance, making it less ideal for use in jewelry.

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Overall, diamonds are much more durable than cubic zirconia. While diamonds can cost substantially more than cubic zirconia, their superior durability makes them a better choice for long-lasting jewelry. If you’re looking for a timeless piece that will last for years, diamonds are the clear choice.


a large diamond ring


Final Thoughts

While cubic zirconia may look similar to diamonds, the two have very different properties. Cubic zirconia is not nearly as hard as diamonds and is much less expensive. Diamonds are much more valuable and long-lasting, making them the preferred choice for fine jewelry.