Gemstone Facts: 8 Ways to Tell Cubic Zirconia from Diamond

Gemstone Facts: 8 Ways to Tell Cubic Zirconia from Diamond

Buying gemstone jewelry is an important investment, as there are various jewelry metals, designs and gemstone settings to choose from. While diamonds are a timeless classic for many jewelry lovers, they tend to be more expensive. This is why you can consider cubic zirconia jewelry as an equally affordable yet stylish alternative.

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that strongly resembles diamonds to the untrained eye. While both gemstones may look similar to one another, they are not all the same. If you’d like to learn how to tell apart these two gemstones, here are 8 ways on how you can differentiate a cubic zirconia from a diamond: -

Check the Price

One of the biggest differences you will notice between cubic zirconia jewelry and diamond jewelry is that diamonds tend to be more expensive than cubic zirconia. For instance, if a diamond pendant necklace seems to cost lower than what you are expecting, check the certification to make sure it’s a real diamond or a cubic zirconia necklace.

Check the Jewelry Metal Setting

Since cubic zirconia jewelry is more affordable than diamond jewelry, the gemstone is often set in a slightly lower quality jewelry metal that may be non-hypoallergenic. For instance, if your gemstone ring is set in silver plating or silver filled setting instead of sterling silver or pure silver, your ring is likely a cubic zirconia ring.

Therefore, you should check the jewelry markings to identify the metal before making any purchases. If your jewelry metal features a ‘925’ or ‘Ster’ marking, it is likely made of sterling silver. If the jewelry piece features a ‘CZ’ stamping, then it is cubic zirconia.

NOTE: Diamonds are occasionally set in slightly lower quality metals, so this cannot fully guarantee if the jewelry gemstone is a diamond or not.

Light Test

One of the simplest ways you can tell apart a cubic zirconia stone from a diamond is by putting your gemstone jewelry out in sunlight. Diamonds are known to have a brilliant reflection and would have a gray and white sparkle. On the other hand, if the gemstone gives out a more rainbow-like reflection, it is a cubic zirconia stone.

NOTE: When conducting the light test on smaller pieces of cubic zirconia stones, you will notice that they may not be as brilliant as the larger gemstones.

The Weight Test

While diamonds and cubic zirconia may look similar, they have different weights. For starters, did you know that cubic zirconia is twice as heavy than a diamond of the same size and proportions? Use a small scale or hold these two gemstones in your hand to compare their weights, and you will notice that the diamond jewelry is lighter than the cubic zirconia jewelry.

NOTE: Gemstones set in jewelry pieces are harder to compare weights as they have different base metal that can make them feel heavier.

Fog Test

Interesting fact of the day: Did you know that diamonds are well-known for being remarkable heat conductors but they don’t retain heat well?

Breathe warm air onto a gemstone’s surface and see how long it takes for the fog to fade. If the fog disappears right away, the gemstone is likely a diamond. On the other hand, if the fog lasts for 30 seconds or more, it is likely a cubic zirconia stone.

NOTE: Depending how clean the gemstone jewelry is, you may also notice some water droplets forming on the surface of the cubic zirconia after the fog test.

Sink Test

Fill about ¾ glass of room temperature water and drop your loose gemstones into the glass to see if it floats or sinks. If the gemstone floats on the water surface, it is most likely a cubic zirconia. On the other hand, if the gemstone has sunk to the bottom of the glass, it is most likely a diamond as diamonds are denser than water.

NOTE: Once done with the sink test, make sure to use a pair of tweezers to take out the gemstones so that you won’t lose them. This test will not work if your cubic zirconia and diamond are already set in jewelry.

UV Light

Did you know that most diamonds have a blue fluorescent glow when exposed to UltraViolet (UV) light? Place the gemstone under a UV light to check if it glows or not. If the gemstone glows blue, then it is a real diamond. If the gemstone doesn’t glow, it is a cubic zirconia stone.

Opaqueness Test

Diamonds are known to have sharp and outstanding refraction when light passes through them, hence giving them a dazzling appearance. Gemstones like cubic zirconia and quartz have a lower refractive index.

To test the opaqueness of your gemstone, draw a black line on a piece of white paper with a permanent marker. Then, set your gemstone over the line to see if you can see the line. If you can see the line underneath through your gemstone, it is likely a cubic zirconia. If you can’t see the line, then it is likely a real diamond.

NOTE: If your cubic zirconia gemstone is already set in jewelry, you will not be able to conduct this test.

Now that you have learned all about how you can tell apart cubic zirconia and diamonds, we hope that this guide will help you better distinguish gemstone jewelry in the future.

If you want to add some sparkly cz jewelry to your collection, read this guide here on how to choose cubic zirconia jewelry: -

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