Ever since the 1970s, cubic zirconia has been the main competition for diamonds. It is incredibly durable, inexpensive, and looks almost identical to diamonds. For those individuals without the financial resources to purchase more valuable gemstones, but still wanting jewelry that appears beautiful and elegant, cubic zirconia has been the gem of choice. It is not simply cut glass. Rather, it is the crystallized for of zirconium dioxide. Although it is often confused with zirconium silicate, it is a different material altogether.
Although cubic zirconia and diamond may appear nearly identical at first glance, there are some key characteristics that make them unique.
Differences Between Cubic Zirconia and Diamond:
1. Hardness: Diamond is given a rating of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale as opposed to cubic zirconia’s rating of 8.
2. Denseness: Cubic zirconia is more dense than diamond, and so pieces that are the same size of a diamond would weigh more.
3. Cut sharp: The shapes of the cuts used on cubic zirconia differ from those used om a diamond. But only a jeweler with a fine eye would be able to notice.
4. Color: Cubic zirconia is generally formed colorless, whereas only in extremely rare cases are naturally-forming diamonds colorless.
5. Thermal conduction: Here’s where diamond and cubic zirconia greatly differ. Cubic zirconia is a thermal insulator, resisting the ability to pass heat through it. Diamonds, on the hand, are very efficient conductors of heat energy.
6. Amount of flaws. It is very rare for diamonds to be flawless. In the natural process if diamond formation, flaws are quite common. This isn’t the case for cubic zirconia, which tend to be nearly flawless in appearance.
Although diamonds and cubic zirconia may seen dfference on the surface, rarity and durability of diamonds are what make them so much more valuable than cubic zirconia. But for those pople wanting the appearance and perceived social status that having a larger diamond ring can portray, purchasing jewelry made with cubic zirconia is a passable alternative.