Diamonds and Their Look-alikes   

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With lots of options on the market, what is the best stone for you if you can’t afford a top grade diamond? Let’s compare diamonds and the common alternatives to them.

What is CZ?

CZ stands for Cubic Zirconia. Cubic zirconia is an inexpensive diamond alternative with many of the same qualities as a diamond. This crystalline material (or CZ) is synthetic, which means it is created in a laboratory. Due to increased demand, commercial production of CZ began in the 1970s. Now, there are many different color CZ on the market which will help customers find an economical alternative to colored diamonds. There is a misconception about the name “Cubic Zirconium.” This substance does not exist! However, there is a natural gemstone called Zircon. This gem is confused with CZ but the only similarity they have is that they both contain zirconium, which is how they got their names.

CZ vs. Diamonds vs. Zircon

Despite looking similar to the naked eye, cubic zirconia, diamonds, and zircon stones could not be more different. Here is a list of differences:




- Rated 8.5 on the Mohs Scale of hardness

- Can be scratched

- White CZ is truly colorless

- No inclusions, a little too perfect

- Heavier density

- Produces flashes of color (fire)

- Very cheap in price

- Lab created

- Rated 10 on the Mohs Scale of hardness

- Tough, durable

- Has a range of natural colors

- Has natural inclusions formed when the diamond grew in the Earth

- Lighter Density

- Produces less fire; Cut determines the amount of light entering the diamond

- Price range varies but definitely more valuable and expensive

- Rated 6-7.5 on the Mohs Scale of hardness

- Easily scratched

- Oldest mineral in the world

- Usually clear color but comes in many natural colors

- Heat treatments lower durability

- Free of impurities

- Highest brilliance and fire

- Price varies, $70-$200

How to Distinguish the three?

At Malak Jewelers, we can identify your stones for you! If you want some at-home tips, keep in mind that zircon has double refraction and a lower hardness which helps distinguish it from a diamond. Diamonds are easily tested with a thermal heat test. Diamonds are efficient heat conductors so if you breathe on it, the fogginess will disperse immediately. On a CZ or zircon, the fogginess from your breath will stay on longer.  Also, a diamond will refract light so severely that you cannot look through it. If you can see through the stone, it is probably a CZ.

Come by Malak Jewelers and talk to our diamond specialists. We would love to answer any questions you may have about diamonds or cubic zirconia. While you are here, check out our large selection of diamond jewelry. Let Malak Jewelers make special moments unforgettable with the perfect piece of diamond jewelry.

Malak Jewelers is Charlotte, North Carolina’s premier direct diamond importer, supplier of loose diamonds, and custom design jewelry. When you buy from Malak you receive 100 Day Price Protection and a Lifetime Upgrade Promise. Be sure to check out our wide variety of diamond engagement rings both in our online catalogue and at our store in Charlotte, North Carolina's Arboretum Shopping Center.