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The difference between lab-created diamonds and cubic zirconia?

July 1, 2022

As diamond creation evolves, there can be some confusion about what a synthetic or simulated diamond is, and what a real diamond is. If you’re curious about the differences between lab-grown diamonds and cubic zirconia, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how they vary in the most important ways, including cost, durability and sparkle.

What is a lab-grown diamond?
A lab-grown diamond is just that: a lab-grown diamond. It is chemically identical to a natural diamond – they are both composed of pure carbon. The most common process for making lab-grown diamonds is called chemical vapor deposition, where a small thin slice of an existing diamond (either natural or lab-grown) is placed in a vacuum. The vacuum simulates the intense pressure and heat required to create a natural diamond, and the carbon molecules assimilate with the diamond “seeds”. Lab-grown diamonds typically take weeks to months to develop in size.

Lab-made diamonds vs. natural diamonds: what’s the difference?
What is cubic zirconia?
Cubic zirconia (CZ) is a crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. Although a version of CZ can technically occur in nature in another stone, it is extremely rare, and all CZs on the market today are man-made. CZs are colorless and look like diamonds to the untrained eye, but they are chemically different from diamonds. (As noted above, diamonds are carbon, CZs are zirconium dioxide.) For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as “synthetic” or “simulated” diamonds when mentioned in the context of overlapping spheres.

Lab-made diamonds and cubic zirconia
Because lab-grown diamonds are not available in finite quantities, are not subject to the same supply chain, and require less labor and energy to produce than traditional mining, they often cost much less than natural diamonds, sometimes as much as 50% less. Similar grades.

Cubic zirconia are much cheaper to produce, mainly because they do not require the reconstruction of pre-volcanic conditions that exist only beneath the earth’s crust. As a result, they are usually purchased for a fraction of the size and cut of a similar diamond, and the price difference only increases with the size of the diamond.Per Tomori, a one or two carat CZ ring will barely set you back more than $100.

Like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are composed of pure carbon. They are the hardest substance on earth – 10 on the Mohs scale – and are therefore extremely durable. You can strike one and wear one during physically demanding activities, and the stone will hardly ever break unless pre-existing inclusions near the surface cause it to do so. (Knocking the diamond out of its setting, however, is another matter.)

CZs are still difficult-typically 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale. they usually hold up well to the typical wear and tear of everyday life, but, according to Tomori, “you may see some scratches from tapping your hand. ”

If durability is important to you, another popular diamond alternative, moissanite, is harder than CZ. It clocks in between 9.25 and 9.5 on the Mohs scale.

Lab-created diamonds are grown just like natural diamonds, albeit for a much shorter period of time. Because of this, there are still inclusions or small defects that may affect the clarity of the stone. These inclusions affect the clarity grade of the diamond, which ranges from flawless (F1) to included (I3). Lab-created diamonds are graded the same as natural diamonds because they are both diamonds.

Cubic zirconia stones are machine-made, so there is no chance of such natural flaws. They do not possess inclusions.

Cubic zirconia is slightly denser than diamonds and therefore heavier. Cubic zirconia and lab-grown diamonds of the same carat weight have different physical dimensions, with CZs being slightly smaller than diamonds.

Quality Grades
Because cubic zirconia is not composed of the same material compounds as diamonds, it is graded differently than diamonds. Instead, CZ is graded on an overall quality scale of A (1A) to AAAAA (5A), with AAAAA being the highest quality. These ratings are most often cited during wholesale purchases of CZs and are less likely to show up in typical consumer purchases.Per Tomori, the best choice for quality and price is AAA, which is what you will most often find in the marketplace from reputable sellers.

Completely colorless (D grade) diamonds, whether mined or lab-created, are extremely rare and extremely expensive. Most couples turn to diamonds that are near colorless or graded G to J. Even in this range, the untrained eye will not notice any yellow color that a diamond may exhibit.

CZs, on the other hand, are completely colorless. They do not have any hue unless it is intentional.