Cubic Zirconia VS Lab Diamond

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
Cubic Zirconia VS Lab Diamond

Cubic zirconia is often used in jewelry because it’s inexpensive, durable, and is a great diamond simulant. Cubic zirconias are made by cutting crystals into facets with a laser cutter, which gives them their sparkle. 

However, when you compare cubic zirconia to lab diamonds they just can’t compete! Lab diamonds have that beautiful deep shine that is so coveted in the jewelry world today.

One look at the difference between cubic zirconia vs lab diamonds will show you why people are making this switch back to lab diamonds for their engagement rings.

This blog post will go into depth about what makes them different and help you decide which one you want to buy for yourself or someone else as a gift!

What Is Cubic Zirconia?

Cubic zirconia is a form of synthetic, usually colorless, and flawless crystal made from the element zirconium dioxide. Because it resembles diamonds so closely that they can sometimes substitute for them in jewelry products like simulants.

They are also popular in dental implants and other products where they offer the same benefits as real diamonds but without all their costs.

What Is A Lab Diamond?

A laboratory diamond is a real diamond that was grown in a lab.

Typically, they are absolutely flawless and have the same properties as traditional diamonds but for at least half of their price. They can even be used to cut glass just like regular diamonds!

The Difference Between Cubic Zirconia And Lab Grown Diamonds

Between a Cubic Zirconia and Lab Diamond – Which One Is Better?


Lab diamonds are typically very durable. They can scratch with other stones, but not many others will be able to damage them when it comes to hardness. Lab-created diamond rings that have been exposed to high pressure and temperatures in the lab for weeks before they were cut. The result is a super-durable stone almost identical in appearance to natural diamonds.

Cubic zirconia on the other hand is not nearly as durable and will scratch easily when compared to a lab diamond.

In today’s world where beauty and perfection are key, people spend thousands of dollars for that perfect engagement ring. Lab diamonds are the perfect choice for those looking to find a stone that is stunning in appearance, quality, and durable.


Weight is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a diamond. This is because you want your ring to be as comfortable and durable as possible.

Cubic Zirconia is a very dense stone. This results in a heavier ring that can be uncomfortable for some people to wear over time, whereas lab diamonds are much lighter and easier to adjust to wearing.

The Sparkle

A lab diamond sparkles more. This is due to the increase in refraction, dispersion, and chromatic diffraction of light within a lab diamond as opposed to cubic zirconia.

Lab diamonds often have higher clarity grades than CZ because they are made with pure carbon crystal which means there are no impurities or cloudiness that can distract from their shine.

Because of their lower refractive index, CZ is less likely to reflect light back up toward the observer’s eyes. This is why people often see a rainbow of colors when looking at a ring made of CZ, but never see rainbows in lab diamonds.


While there are many other factors that come into play and can influence which stone is chosen, an easy way to compare these two stones is on price alone. 

As you may know, lab-grown diamonds cost almost half the price of real diamonds and also do not hold their value as like a natural diamond. But when compared to the price of CZs, a lab diamond is usually more expensive.

This is because cubic zirconia is a diamond simulant, which means it’s designed to mimic diamonds. As such, they lack market value, which makes them great alternatives to the real stone for those on a tight budget.

The 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight

The color of a lab diamond is graded on a scale from D to Z, where D is pure diamond and colorless, and Z has a noticeable yellow or brown tint.

As for the clarity grade of lab diamonds, the scale typically ranges from flawless with no visible inclusions, to diamonds with inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye.

Cubic zirconia is usually colorless and does not have any inclusions or blemishes under a microscope. CZ’s refractive index varies from diamond but they are typically very similar to each other.

This is why cubic zirconia gemstones can be treated as diamond simulants and substitutes, even though they’re not technically diamonds themselves.

Both CZ and lab-grown diamonds are graded on a scale of their own; the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grading scale for example grades the fire and brilliance of a diamond on a scale from 0 (no fire or brilliance) to 15 (maximum fire and brilliance).

Cubic zirconia is graded as well, albeit not as accurate because it’s treated as an alternative for diamonds instead of being evaluated objectively. The GIA grades cubic zirconia gemstones with the same criteria as for diamonds; this includes the four C’s.

These grades are based on a comparison between other gemstones and not to diamonds themselves, which makes them less accurate than lab-grown or natural diamond calibration reports.


The composition of these two products also plays a big role in the price. Lab diamonds are 100% pure carbon with no other impurities, while CZ has all kinds of elements mixed into it (including boron and zinc), which affects its hardness.

It’s also mined out of the ground like any other gemstone, so you can’t exactly control the conditions under which it’s mined.

Why Should You Buy Cubic Zirconia?

The number one reason why you should buy cubic zirconia is that it looks similar to a diamond. It has the same sparkle and brilliance as real diamonds do, but at a fraction of the cost. You can get an engagement ring with cubic zirconia for anywhere between $25-$200 depending on where you purchase it from.

Why Should You Buy A Lab Diamond?

Again, if you are on a budget, then you should buy a lab diamond. Lab diamonds are very affordable and they look similar to real diamonds as well, just not as good of quality.

The decision between cubic zirconia vs lab diamonds is really up to you. If you are on a budget, then either of these options will look good as an engagement ring and they can be worn daily without worrying about losing or damaging them.

Which Should You Buy: Cubic Zirconia Or A Lab Diamond?

Before making your decision on which of these two jewelry products you should invest in, here are some tips that you can add to your understanding:

  • Cubic Zirconia is more affordable than lab diamonds, making it a good choice for those who are just starting out.
  • Lab Diamonds have great clarity and shine which helps create the illusion of real diamonds at an affordable price.
  • While both cubic zirconia and lab diamonds are man-made stones, cubic zirconia is a more affordable alternative to a real diamond.

So, between cubic zirconia vs lab diamond, which one should you purchase?

Cubic Zirconia is a good alternative if you are on a budget, but lab diamonds have superior shine which creates the illusion of real diamonds at an affordable price tag.

Having learned about cubic zirconia and lab grown diamonds, you should also be aware of the difference between natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds to help you make the best jewelry purchase decisions.

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