Some people ask about zircon vs cubic zirconia. Most of them don’t because they don’t even know there is a difference between those two gems. And we are not talking about color here. In fact, zircon and cubic zirconia couldn’t be more different in terms of properties, value and, of course, occurrence. So, if you want to make an informed purchase and know the difference between zircon vs cubic zirconia, read further to find out more.

Zircon vs cubic zirconia – their origins

Those two gems may share similar names and looks, but that’s it. They are, in fact, very different from one another and it starts with their origins. Perhaps you didn’t know this, but zircon is the oldest mineral on Earth. Scientists believe that the oldest piece of zircon is over 4.4 billion years.

Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, is not a naturally occurring mineral. Well, to be fair, there are some rare situations when cubic zirconia is found in nature. One of these instances was back in 1930 when people discovered it and fell in love with it. That’s what got them to start creating cubic zirconia in a lab and by 1970 they perfected this process.

Today, most cubic zirconia you find in a jewelry shop is lab-created whereas zircon is still a natural gemstone. So, does this mean that in the match zircon vs cubic zirconia, the first one wins? Not necessarily.

Zircon vs. cubic zirconia – their hardness

Perhaps you have heard of that little Mohs scale gemmologists love to use to determine the durability of a gemstone. From this point of view, the first round of the match zircon vs cubic zirconia is won by CZ.

While zircon is a rather brittle stone which can crack, cubic zirconia is much more resistant. On the Mohs scale, zircon has a hardness between 6.5 and 7, whereas CZ ranks between 8 and 8.5. One important thing to remember about zircon is that it is very sensitive to light and ultraviolet rays. If you expose it constantly, the stone will fade. Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, does not scratch and it has no light sensitivity. It is a much more resistant stone but, in time, it may get cloudy. You just have to clean it regularly so that it maintains its brilliance.

Zircon vs cubic zirconia – their brilliance & clarity

When people ask us about zircon vs cubic zirconia, they often want to know about the brilliance and clarity. As you can imagine, the clarity of cubic zirconia is better than that of the zircon because CZ is lab-created. The zircon we find in nature is usually free of impurities and with high clarity levels, but it also has its flaws. Sometimes it can be a bit cloudy, other time it can have inclusions.

CZ is created in a controlled environment, which means that, usually, it is flawless. So, coming back to where we started, cubic zirconia has more clarity than zircon. But does this mean that it also offers more brilliance? Not necessarily.

Zircon has double light refraction, which means that its brilliance can even match that of a diamond. It plays amazingly with light and sparkles beautifully, creating the sensation of a fiery stone. And while cubic zirconia also has a gorgeous sparkle, it will never match the brilliance of zircon.

Zircon vs cubic zirconia – their colors

Although clear zircon is the purest form of this gemstone, the most popular colors are blue, pink and yellow. The rarest and most expensive zircon gemstone has a gorgeous green color. Some zircon gemstones can also exhibit different colors from different angles. Those stones are very popular, especially for rings and necklaces.

And since we are keeping the score on zircon vs cubic zirconia, the latter can be found in more color varieties. Usually, CZ is clear to mimic a diamond, but it can also be red, pink, blue, green, orange and black. There is a whole cubic zirconia rainbow out there so that you can have the most interesting jewelry pieces.

Zircon vs cubic zirconia – the value

Last, but not least, when comparing these two gemstones, the value also plays an important role. What is the price of zircon vs cubic zirconia? It all depends on the origins.

Since zircon is a natural-occurring gemstone, it is more expensive than CZ. The price for a carat of zircon ranges between $75 and $200, depending on the color, quality, and cut. Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, has a lower price of around $20 per carat. The price is lower because CZ is lab-created and not because of a lower quality.

In fact, as you have discovered, CZ may be more high-quality than zircon when considering the durability and color range options. However, we believe that both of them are wonderful gemstones to have in your jewelry box. To view our fine jewelry collection, visit Ana Luisa online jewelry shop.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.