What is Cubic Zirconia?
When it comes to Cubic Zirconia vs Diamonds, everyone knows what diamonds are. Through years of marketing and controlled supply and demand, the diamond has become one of the most expensive and sought-after natural stones in the world. However, Cubic Zirconia is a little less well understood. It is often referred to as Cubic Zirconium which it is not and given how incredibly close to a diamond it looks, they are often viewed as fake diamonds.
Cubic Zirconia is a hand-made synthesised material that is hard and colourless. That description does not do it justice. It is hard as diamonds, it sparkles like diamonds and is durable, like diamonds. But most importantly, it doesn’t break the bank like diamonds.
How is Cubic Zirconia made?
Originally a natural form of Cubic Zirconia was discovered in 1937 but was so small it was initially overlooked. Years later, Cubic Zirconia (CZ) was developed by scientists with one eye on laser technology and optical applications. With their focus solely on improving laser technology, they were blinded to the beauty of the stones and just saw their practical uses.
However, their beauty soon shone through and the jewellery makers flocked to mass-produce Cubic Zirconia from 1977 onwards. One of its key modern benefits is that it is man-made and grown in a lab, which makes it much more sustainable than diamonds.
Cubic Zirconia is made by heating a metal, but not in a normal way. They use something called a skull melt. This Skull Melt is a process much like a microwave, heating from the inside out and making its crucible in the process. Zirconium Oxide powder is placed in the crucible and a small amount of calcium or yttrium is used as a stabiliser. This forces the Zirconium Oxide to take on the cubic structure needed to replicate the diamond.
Heat is then applied, the powder melts and forms the crystal structure as it cools. This crystal is then cut how the gem maker desires.
Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond – what is the difference?
Looking at the two names, it does sound like two superheroes battling it out to be in the latest Marvel blockbuster. But in reality, there is a place for both.
Modern CZ has massively improved since it first burst onto the market in the 1970s. From the outset, it quickly became popular. Here was a stone that looked exactly like a diamond and even outshone it in many ways. Nowadays, the highest grades of CZ can often be difficult to tell apart from diamonds.
Price difference between Cubic Zirconia vs diamonds
The most obvious difference between CZ and diamonds is the price. Diamonds are much more expensive due to their rarity, which is somewhat controlled by the diamond markets and cartels. Clever marketing and their natural occurring features have also affected the demand for diamonds and their high price.
Cubic Zirconia is man-made, it is in essence grown in a lab. Cubic Zirconia is, therefore, cheaper than diamonds as it is easier to create. But, as you can see above, this disparity in price is not just down to a case of nature versus man-made.
Hardness difference between Cubic Zirconia and diamond
Cubic Zirconia has a lower hardness rating than diamonds. In practice, this means that the edges on CZ will eventually soften and round off. Diamond edges will remain sharp forever. This actually can be a positive for jewellery makers and customers, as it allows more flexibility in creating unique designs with CZ. Edges can be round and smooth, and the stones cut differently to diamonds.
The density difference between Cubic Zirconia and diamonds
Diamonds are less dense than Cubic Zirconia. So, although the two could look identical to the naked eye, a skilled gem identifier should be able to tell their difference by weight.
The colour difference between Cubic Zirconia vs diamond
Colour is an important difference between diamonds and Cubic Zirconia. It is a very rare diamond indeed that is truly colourless. Diamonds tend to have a tinge of yellow or brown in most cases. Cubic Zirconia is genuinely colourless, it would be a perfect diamond if looked at on the diamond scale. Which begs the question why would you not want a perfect diamond? Because it is cheaper?
Cubic Zirconia can be created in other colours too. Pink, purple, yellow and green being the most popular. This allows jewellery makers to create one piece of jewellery using just Cubic Zirconia and not multiple expensive gems to create the same effect.
Why you should buy Cubic Zirconia
At Jewelixir we believe the value in jewellery is not based on price alone. Cubic Zirconia is beautiful and can be used to create jewellery that is both elegant and of good value.
Cubic Zirconia jewellery can be made at a fraction of the costs of diamond jewellery and still be truly spectacular. Our craftsmen design a wide range of jewellery that use the highest-grade cubic zirconia to create stunning statements of love, glamour and elegance.
Buying Cubic Zirconia can also be a more ethical choice when choosing beautiful jewellery, as it is sustainably produced.
Our designs utilise the beauty of CZ in creative and unique ways. Something only the most exclusive and sometimes prohibitively expensive diamond jewellery can do.
At Jewelixir we design engagement rings, statement rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more, all using beautiful cubic zirconia stones of various colours. This means you can truly choose a unique piece of jewellery ethically and at a fraction of the cost of a diamond equivalent.
How to tell if a diamond is real
Real diamonds have flaws. The fewer flaws they have, the higher their value. But most diamonds on the market will have some natural flaws that make them less than perfect. They also have a colour cast, usually yellow/brown and sharp edges.
There are various advanced techniques to tell if a diamond is real or not.
To the layperson, it is unlikely you will need to worry. Diamonds you buy in your jewellery shop or reputable online stores will have authentication certificates to prove their provenance. You probably will not find yourself sitting in a darkened room looking at a pile of diamonds on black velvet, wondering if they are real or not.
What you might experience is a salesperson justifying the difference in the price of various set diamonds by letting you look up close at each one’s imperfections. The fewer imperfections, the higher the price (if the stones are the same size).
If you do find you are unsure if a loose diamond is real, you can try a couple of tests before heading to the jeweller to check.
The water Test
If when dropped your stone sinks to the bottom quickly, then it is likely your diamond is real. Diamonds have high density, so sink quickly. If your stone gets stuck in the surface or floats slowly or stops mid-way down, then you could have a fake on your hands.
A cubic zirconia stone will sink even quicker than a diamond, just to confuse things further.
The Fog Test
Simply breathe on your diamond until it fogs up. If the stone remains fogged for a few seconds, then chances are it is a fake. Real diamonds do not fog up easily.
If you have a diamond and cubic zirconia lose in your hand, you will probably be unable to tell the difference. Many experts find it difficult. One way is to look into the stone as a bright light enters. Cubic zirconia will usually shine like a rainbow and be much brighter than the response of a diamond.
One of the worst aspects of diamond production is how some of them are mined using forced labour and the money made has then been used to fund civil wars. This coined the phrase conflict diamonds. This practice is illicit and involves smuggling and forced labour. There are various processes in place to try to reduce the amount of these diamonds reaching the market. But some still do and it is not always easy to explore the providence of every diamond you see.
Cubic Zirconia can be viewed as a more ethical way to buy beautiful jewellery. They are also environmentally sustainable which certainly adds to the appeal of someone looking to boycott the funding of some of the more unethical practices in diamond mining.
How long does cubic zirconia last
As with everything, the more care you take the longer it lasts. Cubic Zirconia like any jewellery is susceptible to dull over time. This is often due to lots of factors including exposing your jewellery to soap, hairspray, makeup, grease, chlorine, the list goes on.
It is also possible that CZ can be scratched easier than a diamond. This is due to it not being quite as hard. If the CZ builds up scratches over time, then this will affect its brightness and shine.
However, with care and cleaning your Cubic Zirconia can last for decades. Use a soft brush and dip it into mildly soapy water and then gently brush your jewellery. Be sure to clean all areas of your jewellery, especially the underside. Often missing out the underside can be a cause of dullness showing through the stone. When complete rinse your jewellery under warm (not hot) water and dry with a soft cloth.
Do not use an abrasive cleaner on plated jewellery as it can cause permanent scratches.
Cubic Zirconia value
The real value of cubic zirconia is its ability to create beautiful and colourful jewellery which would be impossible using diamonds for the same price. Cubic Zirconia is a fraction of the cost of a diamond, but still incredibly beautiful.
We can create amazingly colourful jewellery using the highest-grade cubic zirconia, all at a fraction of the cost of diamonds.
This means you can afford to buy stunning jewellery to suit every occasion or outfit and still sparkle. So, the value in Cubic Zirconia is not in the stone itself but rather in how it can make you look and feel at all times.
This is why buying Cubic Zirconia is a smart choice when deciding on statement jewellery for yourself or a loved one.
It is incredibly beautiful, can be made in a range of colours, is durable and looks so much like a diamond that experts sometimes find it hard to tell the difference.
With cubic zirconia jewellery, you can save money and look amazing too.
If you want to explore our range of cubic zirconia jewellery, you’ll find we offer beautifully unique designs and colours to choose from with rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings all available. We are artisans who create jewellery by hand using only the best quality gemstones, ethically sourced.
Explore our site now to discover our special offers and wide range of captivating designs.