Have you ever been confused whether the gemstone embedded in your dazzling jewelry piece is brilliant zircon or a cubic zirconia? Certainly, it’s hard to tell the difference between zircon and cubic zirconia just by observing them with a naked eye. However, there are tell-tale features that make both stones stand out.
What is the Difference between Zircon and Cubic Zirconia?
Zircon is one of the oldest minerals on earth. The first specimen of zircon was found in Australia and is estimated to be 4.4 billion years old. This natural gemstone is not very common, either.
On the other hand, cubic zirconia (CZ) is a newcomer to the world of gemstones. Though natural cubic zirconia was first found in the 1930s, it was a rare occurrence. Scientists started experimenting with the synthetic variety. By the 1970s they perfected the synthetic version of CZ and began its commercial production for industrial use. But cubic zirconia clearly displays jewelry potential with its dazzling brilliance!
Zircon is made of zirconium silicate, whereas cubic zirconia is made of zirconium oxide. Both of the gemstones are hard to differentiate from each other and are confused as being the same. This confusion is reasonable; after all, both gemstones nearly look like diamond, the dazzling April birthstone and share an almost identical name. But that’s where the similarity ends!
There are a few more points that help you distinguish the two.
- A lab created cubic zirconia is man-made. Zircon is a natural gemstone.
- Natural zircon is rare and more expensive than cubic zirconia.
- In terms of hardness, cubic zirconia ranks 8.5 and zircon ranks 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
- Both stones exhibit incredible fire.
- The affordable cost of cubic zirconia makes it the most popular diamond simulant.
What is Zircon?
Zircon is a natural gemstone popular for an astounding optical splendor that resembles a diamond. This trait of zircon makes it popular among jewelry and gem enthusiasts. The unique characteristic of displaying fire and luster makes this gemstone optically similar to diamond. The luster and reflective quality of natural zircon are not far from that of a diamond. Apart from the colorless variety, zircon is found in various popular colors such as blue, green, pink, purple and yellow. Zircon can be heated to make it colorless or to enhance its colors. The fact that differentiates a zircon from a diamond is the display of double refraction.
Shop LC offers an exclusive selection of jewelry embedded with a variety of zircon gemstones.
- Natural White Zircon: A colorless gem cherished for its crisp and clear visual quality.
- Cambodian Blue Zircon: A natural blue gemstone preferred for its bright hues.
- Umba River Zircon: A rare natural gemstone that is known for its deep red radiance.
What is Cubic Zirconia?
Cubic zirconia is the most popular diamond simulant. Used by jewelry manufacturers since the 1970s, it is lab created crystalline zirconium dioxide (ZNO2). When viewed with a naked eye, the look of a cubic zirconia resembles a diamond. This lab created gemstone is eye-clean, colorless and measures 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. No wonder it’s such a popular diamond alternative! One property that differentiates CZ from a real diamond is its thermal conductivity. Lab created cubic zirconia is a thermal insulator, whereas diamond is a thermal conductor.
Shop LC offers an exclusive selection of jewelry pieces with a variety of lab-created zirconia.
- Colored Zirconia: Available in a variety of colors, this lab-created zirconia jewelry is cherished for its wide range of color and sparkling intensity.
- SWAROVSKI Zirconia: Popularly known as one of the finest diamond simulants, this lab-created gem utilizes a proprietary cut for enhanced brilliance.
While everyone loves the enchanting hues of zircon, its dazzling appearance, and its natural origin, cubic zirconia remains popular for its affordability, durability, and color selection.
Between zircon and cubic zirconia, which will you choose? Tell us in the comments!