Are Lab Grown Diamonds Cubic Zirconia?

There are so many fake diamonds on the market which could potentially catch you out. It’s a good idea to thoroughly research diamonds and what could catch you out when purchasing your first diamond. You might think that a cubic zirconia gemstone is a lab grown diamond, but we’re here to inform you correctly.

Lab grown diamonds are not cubic zirconia. They are two completely different types of gemstones and have various aspects to them. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds, whereas cubic zirconia gemstones are made from synthetic material.

Lab grown diamonds are not the same as a cubic zirconia gemstone. Lab diamonds are very much real diamonds. They are the same as a natural diamond, but the only difference is, is that they were created in a laboratory rather than naturally made and mined.

What is the difference between cubic zirconia and lab grown diamonds?

There are undoubtedly many different factors when it comes to a cubic zirconia gemstone and a lab grown diamond.

Cubic Zirconia don’t have Imperfections
A cubic zirconia diamond does not have any imperfections; this is because it is artificially created. It is a virtually flawless “diamond”. Whereas a real diamond is likely to have defects as they are natural. They can have black spots, lines, and other imperfections.

Cubic Zirconia are prone to Scratches
Due to the materials that cubic zirconia are produced from, they are less durable and more brittle than a real diamond. This means that they can easily be scratched, chipped or broken. If you want to avoid your cubic zirconia gemstone from chipping, it would be best to handle with care.

Cubic Zirconia are Cheaper to Buy
Since cubic zirconia gemstones not being real diamonds, they are much cheaper to purchase. Whereas real diamonds are not cheap, some can cost tens of thousands. Lab diamonds are about 50% cheaper than earth-grown diamonds, but cubic zirconia is even cheaper, up to 75%-85% cheaper.

Cubic zirconia is Heavier than real diamonds
Cubic zirconia gemstones are much heavier than real diamonds, usually twice as heavy. If you had a real diamond and a cubic zirconia gemstone that were the same size, you would be able to tell the difference by holding them both in your hand.

Cubic zirconia has Smooth Edges
Real diamonds have sharp edges, but cubic zirconia gemstones edges will be smooth and round.

So are cubic zirconia real diamonds?

A cubic zirconia gemstone is human-made from synthetic materials, not carbon like real diamonds. Because of this, cubic zirconia is not considered a real diamond. It is instead what you could classify as a cheap imposter, a fake diamond. It does look like a diamond but has a lot of differences.

Is cubic zirconia a synthetic diamond?

Cubic zirconia is produced from synthetic zirconium dioxide in its crystalline form. Despite them being made from a synthetic material, they are not classed as diamonds. This is because they contain zero-carbon. Both earth-mined and lab diamonds are made entirely from carbon. 

Lab diamonds are identical to mined diamonds, something which a cubic zirconia gemstone isn’t due to all the differences we explained above.

See also: How are Lab Diamonds Formed?

How to tell the difference between diamond and cubic zirconia?

The differences between a real earth-made or lab-made diamond and a cubic zirconia gemstone can be quite obvious to spot. Some of the differences which you will be able to spot even if you are not a qualified gemologist are:

1. Look for Imperfections
If the diamond does not have any common traits of a real diamond such as black spots, lines or any other imperfections, then the likelihood is, is that this diamond is not real.

2. Light produces a Bright Rainbow Color
If you were to shine light through a cubic zirconia gemstone, it would produce a bright and colorful rainbow color. A real diamond would not create this color.

3. The Breath Fog Test
One way you can determine whether a diamond is real or a cubic zirconia gemstone is when you breathe against the diamond, a real diamond will not leave fog from your breath on the diamond. However, if it were a cubic diamond, it would remain foggy for some time.

4. Visit a Jewelry Store or Jeweler
If you are still unsure whether your gemstone is a real diamond or cubic zirconia, the easiest path to take is visiting a diamond jeweler for a small fee. The likelihood is, is that they will have an electric device that can test diamonds. This will be accurate and be able to show you if your gemstone is a real diamond or not.

5. Buy a Diamond Tester
For as little as $20, you can buy a diamond tester to see if your diamond is real or not. I reviewed the best diamond testers a few weeks ago. Once you have a diamond tester, you can go wild and test all your jewelry. It’s kind of fun.

See also:

Research your diamonds wisely

As you can see, it can be relatively easy to be caught out when purchasing a diamond. If you are buying from an independent seller, they could be selling a cubic zirconia gemstone as a ‘real diamond’. Use the tips we have given in this article to know what you are buying.

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Carl Jones

Carl has been involved in the jewelry business since his youth. Growing up in South Africa his parents were jewelers who worked in the industry for decades.

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