Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond

Cubic Zirconia is a crystalline material that is optically flawless, hard and typically colorless. Despite being a low cost material, cubic zirconia is pretty strong and durable. It also bears remarkable resemblance to diamonds and is currently growing popular as a viable alternative to diamonds. While diamonds may be stronger and more valuable than cubic zirconia, the differences are subtle and are hard to spot. Cubic zirconia can therefore be passed as diamonds easily.


When it comes to gemstones, color is one of the major determiners of value and beauty. Colorless gems are usually more expensive given their rarity and beauty. Diamonds vary in color, usually on a scale between D and Z with D being colorless and Z being yellow. In terms of color, the D colored diamonds are the most expensive. CZ is a better alternative when it comes to color due to the fact that it is lab created. Since it is made in the lab, manufacturers can control various elements of the material, including the color. They can therefore produce cubic zirconia that are similar to D grade diamonds. It is thus easier to find a CZ that is similar to the best-colored diamond.

Diamonds and CZ are also available in colors such as the red, blue, green and pink. Diamonds of these colors are however often a lot expensive. This is not the case with CZ as they are lab produced and the color can be determined by the makers.


Clarity is another factor that significantly determines the value of a diamond. Clarity is also used in the grading of diamonds, usually ranging between flawless to included. Since they are rare, flawless diamonds are the most expensive. Finding a completely flawless diamond is also pretty hard as even the flawless ones have minimal inclusions. With cubic zirconia however, the clarity is often excellent. The flawlessness is as a matter of fact one of the ways jewelers determine real diamonds and CZ. It is easier to find a CZ with the perfect clarity than it is to find diamond of the same grade.


Dispersion is the ability of a stone to disperse light into spectral colors. The dispersion of a rock often determines its sparkle and brilliance. The value of diamonds relies on their dispersion rate that is estimated at 0.044. CZ is a viable substitute to diamonds as they possess higher dispersion rates. Standing at 0.066, CZ has a characteristic rainbow effect when it is hit by light. The size of the CZ affects the prominence of this dispersion rate. For smaller CZ stones, distinguishing this dispersion from that of real diamonds can be quite tricky. Bigger CZs however reveal this heightened dispersion.


CZ is denser than real diamonds. They are therefore heavier, meaning diamonds and CZs of the same size will not have the same carat.

The value comparison of CZ and diamonds is another factor that makes CZ a viable alternative to diamonds. They are more affordable and offer much more brilliance than diamonds.

In the end, it really depends on person ultimately receiving the jewel and what the use of the jewel is.  Some women are very partial to having a real diamond as an engagement ring and will sacrifice the size in order to get one.  However, if someone is trying to make a vape pen looks more shiny, they may opt for something less expensive like a cubic zirconia or even a cheap crystal.

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Kevin Lee is a former tech advisor who cut his teeth in Silicon Valley. He now spends his time sharing his passion for investing in diamonds and jewelry. You can reach Kevin for any comments by using this form.