Diamonds are diamonds, right?
Well, what about “diamonds” that are made from Cubic Zirconia, are those still diamonds or are they something different?
The answer is that these two types of gemstones have similarities and their chemical properties are very close, but they are not the same.
What Is The Difference?
Zirconia, which is the mineral from which zirconium diamonds are extracted, is a different material than diamond.
Cubic Zirconia is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide and it can posses a color, clarity and cut that are indistinguishable from the color, clarity and cut of a natural diamond to the untrained eye.
For that reason, synthetic Cubic Zirconia is the gemstone that most closely competes with diamonds in the commercial sphere.
Gemologists, the professionals that study and analyze the physical and optical properties of minerals and gemstones, are able to determine the difference between natural diamonds and Cubic Zirconia.
While there are several technical elements that indicate the minerals’ differences, such as the refractive index and dispersion, the most notable is that Cubic Zirconia is virtually flawless. This is not the case with natural diamonds that have been mined from the ground.
The other telltale sign that is used to distinguish a natural diamond from synthetic Cubic Zirconia is the transparency of its color. The most expensive diamonds are classified by color on an alphabetic scale that begins with the letter “D” for diamond. A “D” color rating is indicative that the diamond has a perfect color, and there no yellow or brownish tinges to the gemstone at all.
On the other hand, Cubic Zirconia is frequently made with absolutely no color, which is very rare and difficult to come by when dealing with diamonds that originate in nature.
In terms of its hardness, or brittleness, Cubic Zirconia holds a rating of 8.5 on the scale of one to 10. In comparison, natural diamonds take the highest ranking – a 10 – making them the hardest of all the gemstones that are available for purchase.
Why Do Diamonds Retail For More Than Cubic Zirconia?
Because Cubic Zirconia is similar but not identical to diamond, the term has become synonymous with the expression “fake diamonds“. As such, jewellery that is made with this material is not as highly valued as jewellery that is made with “real diamonds” or natural diamonds.
Part of the reason that diamonds command such a high market value has to do with their rarity. Diamonds are a natural resource, meaning that they are inherently imperfect and limited in their quantity. Moreover, natural diamonds must be mined, which is an extremely costly activity that also adds value to the price of a natural diamond when it is sold in a retail environment.
Synthetic Verse Natural
A synthetic diamond is made in laboratories, using a technological process versus natural diamonds that are formed through natural geological processes. Synthetic diamonds are sometimes called either PHT diamonds or CVD diamonds, depending on the technique used in their production.
Most recently, a third technique to make synthetic diamonds has been gaining popularity within the marketplace.
And that’s a little introduction to natural diamonds versus those made from Cubic Zirconia.
For those looking at purchasing a diamond engagement ring you really need to consider whether or not you want to have a Cubic Zirconia or real diamonds to express your love. You might also be interested in our post about How To Find Out If A Diamond Is Fake.