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The Difference Between Cubic Zirconia, Genuine, and Lab-Created Diamonds

Posted by Adeline Hocine on


We sell a wide range of jewelry at variety of price points; you'll find rings made of solid gold with genuine, conflict free diamonds to more affordable pieces with cubic zirconia or Swarovski crystals. Because of the range in jewelry that we offer, we thought it was important to outline the differences between cubic zirconia, genuine and lab created diamonds.

Cubic Zirconia rings are an affordable alternative to genuine diamonds for fashion jewelry

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia refers to the cubic crystalline form of ZrO2 (zirconium dioxide for those of us that didn’t fare too well in high school chemistry). And while it does well to mimic the structure and durability of a diamond, cubic zirconia is the much less expensive version of a girl’s best friend. Rings made with cz stones are an affordable alternative to genuine diamonds and are perfect for affordable fashion jewelry.

naturally occurring genuine diamonds

Natural Occurring Genuine Diamonds

Naturally occurring diamonds are a geological process that happens at the earth's mantle level which is between 85 and 120 miles below ground. All of the naturally occurring diamonds found today were formed 1-3 million years ago by a combination of high temperatures and extreme pressure below the earth's surface. Both lab created and naturally occurring diamonds are made from highly organized carbon.

sweetheart diamond and opal rings

Lab Created or Enhanced Genuine Diamonds

It’s important to note that two different types of "real" diamonds exist - those created naturally, and those created in laboratories. Lab-created diamonds share the same physical and chemical characteristics of mined diamonds, and are - as “natural” diamonds are - made of pure carbon. A diamond with the label of lab created was born in a high pressure, high temperature chamber that simulates the earths crust where diamonds naturally form. This is unlike cubic zirconia which does not possess any similarities to diamonds other than it's appearance.

A lab created diamond is still considered to be a genuine diamond, it's just that one was made by man and the other was mined from the earth and occurred naturally without human assistance. Lab created diamonds are chemically and visually identical to naturally mined diamonds. But as an added bonus, man made diamonds tend to cost about 30-40% less than naturally mined diamonds making them a wonderful alternative for the budget conscious. 

the difference between genuine and cz diamonds

How to tell the difference between cubic zirconia and genuine diamonds

While CZ stones are man-made and genuine diamonds are naturally formed, differences can still be nearly impossible to see with an untrained naked eye...unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Here's a quick guide to help you tell the difference.

Surface scratches are the first sign that a diamond is actually cubic zirconia, followed by its shape. While perfection is often a quality we strive towards, authentic diamonds should always possess some flaws; this is a sign that they were never altered or modified.

Before purchasing a diamond that you believe to be genuine, try breathing on it; diamonds don’t retain heat and will thus become clear again almost instantly, whereas cubic zirconia will remain cloudy long enough to spot the imposter.

The decision to buy either cubic zirconia or authentic diamonds is heavily influenced by price, as the former is significantly more cost-effective than its counterpart. Many prefer cubic zirconia as well due to its sustainable practices. Genuine diamonds, on the other hand, often require disturbing natural resources to obtain the pretty jewels.

Regardless of what type of diamond best suits you and your needs - rest assured that you’ll have an endless array of options to choose from.