Three luxury sustainable lab-grown diamond rings with different diamond cuts and shapes.

Lab-grown Diamonds Vs. Cubic Zirconia

As the saying goes "nothing sparkles like a diamond," and it’s true. They're some of the most coveted and valued stones on the planet. Whether formed by nature or lab-grown, the unique internal structure of diamonds brilliantly reflects light. It’s this quality, among others, that makes diamonds so desirable as jewelry.

But diamond simulants, including cubic zirconia, are also available, and you may not know how to make the distinctions between those simulated stones and lab-grown diamonds.

The lab-grown diamond is, in fact, a true diamond gem. However, the cubic zirconia stones are not diamonds at all. And these are the other key differences and comparisons to know before you make any gemstone purchasing decisions.

What Do Lab-grown Diamonds and Cubic Zirconia Have in Common?

Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, while cubic zirconia is officially labeled as a diamond simulant. Both diamond and zirconia have a cubic crystal-like form and are similarly clear, colorless, hard, and sparkle in the light. However, diamonds are created from carbon, while zirconia is formed from zirconium dioxide.

Zirconia is often cut and polished to reflect diamond shapes like the Cushion, Pear, Princess, or the ever-popular Round Brilliant cut. To the untrained eye —and let’s face it, most of us are exactly that — zircon gems can be challenging to distinguish from genuine diamond stones. But the similarities end with those surface appearances.

Key Differences Between a Genuine Diamond and Cubic Zirconia

The average consumer can tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and a cubic zirconia stone in two ways. So, before you buy any gemstone, you can use these methods to identify key distinctions. A gemstone professional will evaluate more in-depth. However, to an untrained eye, there are visible characteristics to distinguish between a genuine lab-grown diamond and cubic zirconia.

  1. Using a magnifying glass, examine the cut edges of each stone. The hardness of the diamond enables the sharpest of faceted edges to be cut, while zirconia has rounder edging due to its softer material. Unfortunately, zirconia is also much more prone to scratching and can become quite dull over time.
  2. Introduce light to each stone and study the reflective qualities. Diamonds have brilliance, i.e., intense white light is reflected, while zirconia’s light-reflecting qualities are comparatively subdued, displaying the spectrum of rainbow colors.

While neither of these methods is necessarily precise, they can be helpful to the average consumer looking to evaluate and invest in a diamond. And lab-grown diamonds will always represent a higher quality and brilliance since they’re, in fact, real diamonds. Cubic zirconia will pale in comparison in every facet. If you’re unsure or harbor any doubts about the gem, you’re better off taking it to a reputable jeweler who will use a professional diamond tester tool to verify its authenticity.

Real Diamonds for Everlasting Jewelry and Symbolism

There’s a reason that diamonds are the preferred gem for engagement and wedding rings. It’s not just their hard-won nature, whether mined or lab-created, or their unique sparkle. As one of the hardest, most durable substances on earth, diamonds can last a lifetime and, with high-quality, beautifully designed settings, can be cherished forever.

On the other hand, cubic zirconia is easily scratched, losing its luster after a few months, and you can expect that the gemstones will have to be regularly replaced. Unlike lab-grown diamonds, which are created as nature intended, the cubic zirconia materials are intended to “look” like a diamond without the enduring properties and associated value.

The lasting symbolism of diamonds as an expression of everlasting love has a strong emotional appeal for engaged couples. And somehow, a marriage proposal with the words, “Honey, will you accept this fake diamond as a symbol of my love for you” doesn’t have quite the cachet as would the real thing. Before buying or investing in any gem, consider what message you intend to convey with your gemstone gift. If you want to say “forever,” it has to be a diamond.

Create Your Unique Engagement Ring Design with Our Lab-grown Diamonds

If you want your engagement or wedding jewelry to reflect your special relationship uniquely, custom design can deliver this for you. Carbon Diamonds will help you express your sentiment, artistry, and personal tastes and capture these elements into a meaningful Bespoke jewelry piece. From the initial concept through all the design steps, selecting your diamond stones, choosing precious metal settings, and then crafting your rings, we will assist you all the way.

Contact us for a virtual appointment or visit our showroom and start exploring the brilliant lab-grown diamond options for yourself.