Diamond or Zirconia? Understand the differences!

zirconia ring

What is the difference between zirconia and diamond? Used to make jewelry, the similarity between the stones can confuse those who have no experience in identifying these materials. Although they are very similar, knowing how to distinguish them is essential to be able to make the correct choice without being deceived by someone in bad faith. In this post, you will understand which diamond characteristics differ from zirconia. Check out!

The origin

Removing the carbon formed under the ground, the diamond has its completely natural origin. The formation of this mineral happens from activities that involve extremely high temperatures and pressures, such as volcanic eruptions and movements of tectonic plates.

It is estimated that the first diamonds on Earth were formed over 2 billion years ago. Its rarity makes it highly coveted for jewelry making.

Colorless natural zirconia is extremely rare to find in nature. The material used to manufacture jewelry is cubic zirconia, an artificial stone developed in 1976.

The characteristics of this stone are similar to diamond. As it is produced in the laboratory, it can be created to imitate other gemstones such as ruby, emerald, sapphire and amethyst.

The visual differences between zirconia and diamond

The differences between cubic zirconia and diamond are very difficult to visually identify in stones of 0.90 mm and 1 mm, considered small. The inequalities, however, begin to become evident as the stones increase in size.

The most obvious distinction is the diamond’s more intense shine. The gemstone also has a yellowish or brownish tinge, as the colorless version is rare. Finally, the shiny stone has small imperfections on its surface. The smaller the number of these occurrences, the more valuable the object becomes.

In turn, cubic zirconia tends to have fewer imperfections on its surface, as it is made in the laboratory. The color of the synthetic gemstone can also vary depending on the material you want it to resemble.

The Carat Price

The biggest difference between diamond and zirconia is in the carat price. While the first, being very rare in nature, has an average value of $ 4,500 per carat, the second, whose production is artificial, is worth around $ 60 for the same amount.

The difference increases as carats are added to the piece. A two-carat diamond ring for example, can reach $21,000. The equivalent zirconia ring can cost less than $100.


The diamond is the hardest material ever found by man in nature. This feature is even marked in the name: the word comes from adamas, which in Greek means indestructible.

On the Mohs scale, which quantifies the hardness of minerals, it has the maximum degree: 10. This means that it can only be scratched by another diamond. Due to this characteristic, the gemstone is also useful in industry to wear and cut other materials.

Unlike diamond, cubic zirconia has 8.5 mohs. Thus, as it does not have the same durability, the stone accumulates risks depending on the time of use. Although it is completely normal for this to happen due to constant use, this small damage will leave the piece with less shine.

Although visually very similar, the origin and characteristics of zirconia make it a material far inferior to diamond. Learning to distinguish them, therefore, becomes essential to correctly assess the value of a jewel.

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