Are lab grown diamonds called cubic zirconia?


Author: Messi Jewelry–Lab Grown Diamond Manufacturers


Diamonds have long been regarded as a symbol of luxury, beauty, and elegance. However, with advancements in technology, lab grown diamonds have become an increasingly popular alternative to natural diamonds. This has sparked questions and misconceptions among consumers, such as whether lab grown diamonds are the same as cubic zirconia. In this article, we will delve into the differences between lab grown diamonds and cubic zirconia, debunking any confusion that may arise and shedding light on the distinct characteristics of each.

The Formation Process and Composition:

Lab grown diamonds and cubic zirconia may share some similarities in appearance, but their formation process and composition differ significantly. While both are created in laboratories, cubic zirconia is a synthetic material made from zirconium dioxide, whereas lab grown diamonds are pure carbon, grown by replicating the natural process that occurs deep within the Earth's crust.

Cubic zirconia is formed through a method known as the Verneuil process, which involves melting powdered zirconium dioxide and allowing it to crystallize. This results in a gemstone that closely resembles a diamond but lacks the same durability and brilliance. On the other hand, lab grown diamonds are formed using two different techniques: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). These methods mimic the conditions under which diamonds are naturally formed, allowing carbon atoms to bond together and create a crystal lattice structure identical to that of a natural diamond.

Physical and Optical Properties:

One of the main differences between lab grown diamonds and cubic zirconia lies in their physical and optical properties. Lab grown diamonds possess the same physical properties as natural diamonds, including hardness, durability, and thermal conductivity. They can be cut and polished just like natural diamonds, and they have the same chemical, physical, and optical characteristics. This makes it nearly impossible for the naked eye to differentiate between a lab grown diamond and a natural one.

On the other hand, cubic zirconia has distinct characteristics that set it apart from both natural and lab grown diamonds. It is significantly softer than diamonds, making it more susceptible to scratches and abrasions. Additionally, cubic zirconia has a lower refractive index compared to diamonds, resulting in a lower brilliance and fire. This means that cubic zirconia may appear less sparkly and reflect less light than diamonds do. However, it is worth noting that cubic zirconia can still exhibit impressive brilliance and fire, making it an attractive alternative for consumers seeking a more budget-friendly option.

Durability and Hardness:

Another important aspect to consider when comparing lab grown diamonds and cubic zirconia is their durability and hardness. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance known to man, scoring a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Their hardness makes them highly resistant to scratches and ensures their longevity as a cherished gemstone. Lab grown diamonds inherit this exceptional hardness, providing a durable alternative to natural diamonds.

In contrast, cubic zirconia has a Mohs hardness rating of 8.5, making it considerably softer than diamonds. This means that cubic zirconia is more prone to scratches and abrasions, which can affect its overall appearance and brilliance over time. While cubic zirconia can still be enjoyed as a beautiful gemstone, it requires gentle care and regular cleaning to maintain its luster.

Price and Affordability:

When it comes to price, lab grown diamonds and cubic zirconia differ significantly. Natural diamonds, being scarce and mined from the Earth, command a higher price due to their rarity. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are more affordable as they are created in controlled laboratory environments, eliminating the high costs associated with mining and distribution.

Cubic zirconia, being a synthetic material, is the most budget-friendly option among the three. Its affordability makes it an attractive choice for those seeking a diamond-like appearance without breaking the bank. However, it is essential to understand that cubic zirconia may not hold its value over time and may require replacement if it becomes scratched or dull.

Confidence and Ethical Considerations:

For many consumers, the ethical aspect of purchasing a diamond is of utmost importance. Natural diamonds have had a history of being associated with conflict diamonds or blood diamonds, mined in war zones and sold to finance armed conflict against governments. This has raised ethical concerns among consumers who wish to avoid supporting such practices.

Lab grown diamonds offer a more ethical alternative, as they are created without any human rights abuses or environmental damage caused by mining. They provide consumers with the confidence that their diamond, though grown in a laboratory, possesses the same physical and optical properties as a natural diamond. Additionally, lab grown diamonds are certified by independent gemological laboratories, ensuring their authenticity and quality.


While lab grown diamonds and cubic zirconia may share a resemblance in appearance, they are distinct in their formation process, composition, physical properties, and price. Lab grown diamonds offer a sustainable and ethical alternative to natural diamonds, possessing the same physical and optical characteristics. On the other hand, cubic zirconia provides an affordable option for those seeking a diamond-like appearance without the high cost associated with diamonds. Understanding the differences between these two options empowers consumers to make an informed choice that aligns with their preferences, values, and budget. Whether one chooses a lab grown diamond or cubic zirconia, both can bring joy, beauty, and personal significance as treasured pieces of jewelry.


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