The Value Proposition: Comparing Benefits of Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond

Today is a big day for you. You’ve decided you want to propose to your partner for a while now. You head to the jewelry store and it doesn’t take you long to notice that most of the diamond rings are out of your budget.

You don’t have to pick up a diamond to let your partner know that you love them though. Cubic Zirconia will do fine. In fact, from far away you can’t even tell the difference between the two.

Don’t believe us? Keep reading to see the differences between these two gemstones and the pros and cons of each one.

What is Cubic Zirconia and How is It Made?

The first thing that you should know about cubic zirconia is that it’s synthetic. It can be found in nature but it’s rare. 

For the most part, it’s made in a lab using zirconium oxide powders that have been stabilized by magnesium and calcium. Now just because it’s synthetic doesn’t mean it’s a bad option.

Cubic Zirconia is made to mimic different cuts of diamonds and again, it’s hard to tell the difference unless you’re a professional. 

Hardness

While cubic zirconia can copy the look of a diamond there are a few areas where it falls a bit short. One of these is the hardness. Cubic zirconia is much softer than a real diamond. Due to this while it can still cut glass, it scratches a bit easier.

Further, being more porous than diamond cubic zirconia can lose its shine and become dull after a period.  However this is easily fixed with CZ restorable to its full lustrous shine by following proper maintenance on your ring or by following the manufacturers cleaning instructions. 

Density

Cubic zirconia tends to weigh a bit more than a diamond but the difference isn’t enough to weigh down your hand or anything. It’s only a bit heavier depending on the size of the stone. 

Large cubic zirconia stones will be a lot heavier than smaller diamonds. The gap isn’t that wide when comparing it to a large diamond though. 

cubic zirconia solitaire engagement ring from Luxuria
Photo: Luxuria® uses the highest grade cubic zirconia diamond simulants to make the engagement ring as realistic as possible. The Lumiere [above] is a classic solitaire 2.04 carat round shape, round star cut very high grade white diamond simulant engagement ring from the Luxuria Jewelry brand.

Dispersion and Refractive Index 

If you’re unfamiliar with what the dispersion and refractive index it’s the measure of how light passes through a stone and reflects light. Dispersion is when the light passes through and scatters throughout the stone and refraction is how brilliant it appears when looking at it from the outside. 

Out of the two, cubic zirconia is higher in dispersion than diamond.   This means it sparkle’s a lot more than a diamond. The thing is, it has a low refractive quality so it’s not quite as brilliant as a diamond. Not a lot of people can tell the difference until you get into the larger stones. 

The differences between the two in this department get a lot more obvious the larger the stones get. So, if you’re going to pick up a cubic zirconia engagement ring to use as a proposal ring it’s better to get one with smaller sets of stones if you want it to have the closest approximation to diamond.  Further if you are buying the fake diamond ring as a temporary engagement ring with plans to later buy the real deal together you probably don’t want to replace a 5 carat fake diamond ring with a ¾ carat real one! 

Flawless Values 

Cubic zirconia is always flawless. It is made in a lab after all whereas diamonds occur naturally. It’s due to this that diamonds always have some sort of impurity. Ones that don’t are rare and very expensive. 

The thing with flawlessness is that you can’t tell if there is a blemish on a stone without the tools that professional jewelers have. So whether you have a diamond or cubic zirconia, nobody will be able to tell if there is an imperfection when your partner is walking down the street. 

Appearance and Color

You can get cubic zirconia in different colors but for the most part, they are going to be clear and colorless. As far as diamonds go, even white diamonds still have a bit of a yellow tint to them.

Going back to how they reflect light, the way that diamonds reflect light is unique.  Inside the stone, the diamond will sparkle gray and white known as “brilliance”.  While on the outside of the gem, it will reflect rainbow colors onto other surfaces.   This dispersed light is known as “fire”.  

On the other hand a fake diamond which is often cubic zirconia will have rainbow colors that you can see inside the diamond.   Cubic zirconia stones are not restricted to white and those that may wish for pink or yellow (canary) diamond simulant can be accommodated.

Cost

Cubic Zirconia is leagues cheaper than diamonds. You could get a nice 1-carat cubic zirconia ring in the store for less than 100 bucks. If you were to go to a store and try to get a 1-carat diamond ring it would cost you easily 10 times more. 

The price gap gets even larger when you get into fancy colored gems. You can get a fancy colored cubic zirconia ring for a little over 100 dollars. When it comes to a diamond you’ll pay over ten thousand. 

Cubic zirconia vs. diamond CZ rings that look real Luxuria
Photo: Luxuria® diamond simulant engagement rings which have the LUX hallmark surpass industry standards for grade AAAAA, are near colorless (D color), are internally flawless and round stones feature an ideal cut to “Hearts and Arrows” for maximum fire.

Valuations

As you are probably aware, cubic zirconia doesn’t hold any real market value. You can’t sell a ring made of it and get a substantial amount of money.

That being said, a diamond isn’t an investment either despite having market value.  The sad reality is your diamond purchase loses about half its value by simply leaving the retail store.   This is because retail jewelers mark-up diamond engagement rings by an average of 300%.

How much a diamond is worth is completely dependent on its cut, clarity, color and carat weight. Still, you can pass them down from generation to generation if you want to. You are less likely to do that with cubic zirconia!   

The Benefits of Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond

If you want to be able to get your partner a beautiful engagement ring with not a lot of money in your pocket then you should go with cubic zirconia. While it can’t mimic a diamond on all fronts, to the untrained eye there isn’t a huge difference. Show your love for less. 

Using a cubic zirconia ring for a marriage proposal is a great idea. Don’t risk spending thousands of dollars on a ring that doesn’t suit her. Shop together later for the real deal. This not only reduces risk but it ensure she gets what she wants – and only she knows that!

Are you ready to start shopping around for the perfect engagement ring?  Check out our shop to see if we have what you’re looking for. 

Learn more about Cubic Zirconia rings

Cubic Zirconia engagement rings offer many benefits.  They are perfect for a surprise proposal and make an exceptionally good substitute for diamond.    To learn more about choosing fake engagement rings that look real [CLICK HERE]

Want to know what our most popular diamond simulant rings are? [CLICK HERE]

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