Cubic Zirconia Hardness vs Diamonds: Beauty, Value, and Luxury

Cubic Zirconia Hardness vs Diamonds

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Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Steal the Style

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then cubic zirconia is her frenemy.

To the naked eye, the two may look the same, but there are stark differences between them in things such as value, creation, and cubic zirconia hardness. They both can create eye-catching jewelry, but if you’re looking specifically for diamonds, then there are some things that you should be aware of.

Are you on the market for new jewelry but aren’t sure how to tell the difference between diamond and cubic zirconia? Then keep reading to learn all about their differences.

What Is Cubic Zirconia?

Before delving into the differences between cubic zirconia and diamonds, it’s important to first understand what cubic zirconia is. Most people have seen them and are familiar with the term but are unclear about what it really means and how they came about.

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic crystalline and is an inexpensive alternative to diamonds. Its history dates back to the early 1890s when cubic zirconia was first discovered, but we didn’t start seeing them being used in jewelry until the 1970s.

Since then, the man-made gemstones have evolved to replicate all the popular diamond styles and cuts. With several advancements, cubic zirconia has been able to create beautiful pieces and have the majority of people believing that it is real diamonds.

Cubic Zirconia Hardness vs. Diamond

Now that we’re clear on its origin, we can look into what specifically makes cubic zirconia different from diamonds.

One obvious way to separate the two is by their hardness. Diamonds are significantly harder than cubic zirconia and are, in fact, the hardest stone known to man. When compared on the Mohs scale for mineral hardness, cubic zirconia ranks in between 8-8.5 while diamonds are a perfect ten.

The phrase “pressure makes diamonds” isn’t just a figure of speech. It’s a fact! Diamonds are formed in intense heat and pressure that causes carbon atoms to crystalize. This process to form diamond rocks is estimated to take anywhere between one to three billion years to complete. Still, it is hard to prove since its formation may not occur continuously.

Diamonds are, in fact, so durable that they will not scratch or wear down. Since Cubic zirconia is lab-created, it is not as strong and will scratch and appear worn down over time.


The value of jewelry is important to many people and can be a determining factor in which pieces they choose to buy. When it comes to the age-old debate of CZ vs. diamond, there are many similarities regarding style, but the value is a different story.

Diamonds are a precious stone and are a luxury. Designers create high-end pieces with them, and people aspire to be able to afford them. With that being said, the value of diamonds varies.

While there are certainly diamonds that can be worth thousands and even millions of dollars, you can find smaller and more affordable pieces. The value of a diamond is going to rely on a few things, such as carats, weight, size, cut, color, and clarity. Red diamonds are the most expensive globally, and the emerald cut is the most affordable style available.

Cubic zirconia may be more affordable than diamonds, but they do not hold the same amount of value. Cubic zirconia is actually worthless and does not appreciate anything overtime. In some cases, the ring setting is more valuable than the gemstone itself, depending on the style used.

Cubic zirconia is a good alternative to diamonds and may fool the majority, but when it comes to value, there is no comparison.

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Physical Differences

Lastly, there are slight physical differences between the two that could be hard to pick up on.

Unless it is obviously fake, the naked eye can have a hard time concluding that cubic zirconia is not a diamond, so natural light is needed. When the two are looked at in natural light, the differences become apparent because they reflect different things.

While both stones are brilliant, diamonds give off white light and sometimes yellow, known as its sparkle. This has to do with the dispersion of light. Only a portion of light hitting diamonds reflects while the rest travels through, resulting in its shine.

Cubic zirconia has a much higher rate of dispersion than diamonds and ranges from 0.058 – 0.066. This allows for more light to hit the stone, and it gives off a noticeable rainbow.

Light dispersion is the main physical difference between the two and typically does not steer people away from one over the other. Both CZ and diamonds have the ability to give off a sophisticated and stylish look, and you can find any style you’re looking for at at an affordable price.

Shine Bright With Diamonds or Cubic Zirconia

When it comes to looks, both diamonds and cubic zirconia have got them. They can help you show off your style and elevate any outfit. While both can be elegant and bold, only one has the value to go along with it.

It can be a complicated process of figuring out the difference between the two, and we hope our guide was helpful. Now when you’re shopping for your new pieces, you know to look for nuances such as cubic zirconia hardness, value, and the way light hits the stones.

Diamonds are forever, but if they’re not in your budget, cubic zirconia can be a nice alternative!

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