Save 12% through 12/2 on all non-design-your-own rings and bridal sets with promo code LADYSWAGGER. Save 20% through 12/19 on all clearance jewelry with promo code IDO365. Apply promo code at check-out for promised discount. The Clear Choice — Making Cubic Zirconia

The 4C's of Cubic Zirconia

The 4C's of Cubic Zirconia 0

Diamonds are universally measured against the “4C’s standard”: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. All these characteristics can also be found in top-quality cubic zirconia stones, such as those manufactured for use in our finished jewelry and sold through our website.

In this blog post, let’s discuss how these two stones compare. The more perfect the diamond, the harder a jeweler has to work to determine if it's really a diamond...or one of our cubic zirconia stones! Let's see how...
Custom Shape / Custom Size Cubic Zirconia Stones (Custom Cutting Available)

Custom Shape / Custom Size Cubic Zirconia Stones (Custom Cutting Available) 0

Yes, we can custom cut cubic zirconia stones for you in practically any shape or size you want. It will take a bit more time and cost more than a popular shape and size combination such as those we always have in stock ready to ship within 48 hours...but it is possible. Check out this blog post for details and instructions to purchase this custom stone cutting service. Buy one or wholesale lots in bulk with volume discount.
Certified cubic zirconia: IGI - IFI - GIA - AGS - EGL - CIA (or whatever stone certification)...we’re not interested

Certified cubic zirconia: IGI - IFI - GIA - AGS - EGL - CIA (or whatever stone certification)...we’re not interested 0

We’ve seen what an IGI Certification looks like and, frankly, we believe it’s just a useless piece of paper designed to jack up the price of cubic zirconia stones being sold by other companies than ours.


As a customer, what information does an IGI Certification give you apart from the carat weight?  You should have been told the specific dimensions of your stone in the first place before purchase-- so you should already know this information.  You certainly know that when you buy our stones. Does this report tell you the cutting quality?  Does it confirm the color or clarity?  It doesn't even confirm the claim to be a certain quality.


So if you're asking why we don't provide this service, it doesn't seem like a necessary cost to pass along with each purchase. In fact, it’s not just IGI certification that deserves our disdain. IFI- GIA - AGS - EGL - CIA or whatever, we’re not interested. 


We do not acknowledge any independent, industry-wide and international authority on the making of diamond-quality synthetic cubic zirconia stones. That means anyone out there claiming to make a better stone or a "certified" stone may as well be making that claim up from thin air as far as we are concerned. Certification schmertification. That whole industry gets nothing but our disdain. 


The diamond industry, as a cartel, has an incentive in banding together to adopt generalized rules for grading of stones. The makers of cubic zirconia are much more informal, and not at all working together. Therefore, what other makers of cubic zirconia call certain grades of CZ, we can't control. We also can't help it if our competitors want to manufacture inferior stones to ours and call them "6A (AAAAAA)" when we call our best CZ stone "5A (AAAAA)" (see our FAQ's “What does “6A quality” or “6A quality” Cubic Zirconia mean?” question for details). 


Our expertise is all the assurance our customers need, and as for, we make and sell 2 grades of cubic zirconia:

  1. 5A/AAAAA cubic zirconia (the best: sold wholesale, sold retail, and used in our retail finished jewelry product line; see our FAQ question “What does “5A quality” or “AAAAA quality” Cubic Zirconia mean?” for more details) .
  2. 3A/AAA cubic zirconia (lesser grade: sold wholesale in bulk lots only and most often for use in cheaper ‘costume jewelry’; see our FAQ question “What does “3A quality” or “AAA quality” Cubic Zirconia mean?” for more details).


Our process to make 5A/AAAAA cubic zirconia is simply to use the absolute best formula for making cubic zirconia that we know of, consistent for producing perfect color and perfect clarity every time (see our FAQ question “How is cubic zirconia made?” for more details).


The 5A/AAAAA stones that make it through our quality control process are perfect, with zero internal inclusions or blemishes. The same stones we sell as 5A/AAAAA at retail prices on our website, are the same stones we use in our finished jewelry. To our knowledge, no better cubic zirconia stones exist.


We then carefully cut these stones to ideal diamond-weight carat proportions (see our FAQ answer to “How do your cubic zirconia stones compare with natural diamonds as far as cuts, shapes, facets, measurements are concerned?” question for full understanding of what that means).


Lastly, we get rid of any stones that aren't flawless, or have any issues with creation or cutting (these are set aside as 3A/AAA stones to be sold only in wholesale lots to other jewelers that want the absolute cheapest CZ stones they can get because they focus on making cheaper ‘costume jewelry’).


For these reasons, we can assure you that the 5A cubic zirconia stone(s) you're buying loose for setting yourself or already in our finished high-quality cubic zirconia jewelry is the very best cubic zirconia we at can make, or have ever seen made.


With the longevity of our site (online since 1999), and the reputation we enjoy from having served thousands of satisfied customers...we think that ought to seal the deal! If need be, we’ll even send you a sample pack of stones at our cost and risk to 100% convince you. Just reference this answer and ask us!


Take a look and you’ll agree: certification schmertification.

When Was Cubic Zirconia Invented?

When Was Cubic Zirconia Invented? 0

When was cubic zirconia invented?


Well, the truth is, it wasn’t invented per se.


Cubic zirconia is a naturally occurring substance. Some place its discovery as far back as 1892, with the discovery of naturally occurring zirconium oxide, or baddeleyite. But that’s a long way from your shiny cubic zirconia engagement ring! The natural form of cubic zirconia (or CZ, as it is popularly known) is so rare, that you can assume the CZ you find in any piece of jewelry has been synthesized. 


It was a long research road from naturally occurring CZ to the jewelry store, and to your love story, in the form of jewelry.


In 1937, German mineralogists noted its presence as a byproduct of an unrelated experiment. They didn’t even bother to give it a name. Early research sought uses for laser technology and other optical applications.


No one bothered about CZ’s amazing bling potential.


CZ carried on in relative anonymity until Soviet scientists discovered how to grow CZ crystals in a lab.


Cubic Zirconia melts at such high temperatures that no metal can serve as its container. Soviets discovered the method of using a skull crucible, which is a super-cool name, and which allowed the CZ to grow successfully.


Oh, those Russians! Their research was not published until 1973 (perhaps something to do with an unfortunate business called the Cold War?).


Skull Crucible




By 1976, commercial production began world-wide. Cubic Zirconia has graduated from obscurity to becoming the most important competitor of the diamond industry. 


- Tekla Luchenski, Staff Writer

Is Cubic Zirconia A Diamond? 1

16 shapes of cubic zirconia stonesIs Cubic Zirconia a diamond?

Cubic Zirconia, commonly known in jewelry circles as “CZ”, has been the most popular more-affordable alternative to natural diamonds since the stone was first produced for commercial use in jewelry, industrial machinery, lasers and other applications almost 4 decades ago (1976). The highest-quality CZ stones are flawless, with brilliant sparkle, tremendous clarity, and radiant fire, good durability and hardness, and are visually indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye.

But is cubic zirconia actually in fact a diamond?

While cubic zirconia exists in nature (see Is Cubic Zirconia a mineral?), the mineral is rare enough that the CZ used in most commercially produced jewelry manufactured over the last 4 decades is of a man-made origin. If you want to get the scientific skinny, cubic zirconia is actually the cubic crystalline form of a physical compound made up of the elements Zirconium and Oxygen (ZrO2 to be precise) called Zirconium Dioxide.

                     ASIDE: No wonder we adopted name ‘Cubic Zirconia’, right? It’s got a pretty sexy sound,
                     while ‘Zirconium Dioxide’ honestly sounds like a laundry detergent.

Natural diamonds are found in nature, and as such cannot be considered the same as cubic zirconia stones, the majority of which used in commercial jewelry are man-made.

There’s the short answer to your burning question about whether cubic zirconia are diamonds.

While the stone looks like a diamond and possesses many diamond-like qualities— to the degree that even jewelers with decades of experience cannot tell the difference between a high-quality CZ and a perfect diamond by simply comparing the two side by side with the naked eye alone— Cubic Zirconia is not a diamond.

However, the difference in cost between diamonds and diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia—and others that are somewhat deceptively sold under ‘diamond’ names—can be thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. That’s why perhaps a more important question to answer than if cubic zirconia is a diamond, is whether that DIAMOND you are thinking about purchasing is actually a real diamond?

Before you shake your head or walk away confused from this webpage, bear with me a moment…OK? The truth is: in order to FULLY answer your question if cubic zirconia is a diamond, really you first have to decide in your own mind what a ‘diamond’ is to you.

When you think of diamonds, you probably think of a handful of extremely rare and valuable gemstones mined with great cost and difficulty from deep in the earth, a finite resource that is dwindling in supply…am I right? What if I told you that a large percentage of diamonds sold as ‘diamonds’ today were in fact grown in a lab, created by combining various physical elements into compounds that mimic natural diamonds— very much like cubic zirconia are also manufactured?

What if continued down the rabbit hole and I told you that there was absolutely no limit on the number of these kinds of ‘diamonds’ that could be created in the lab?

That’s right! Those lab-grown diamonds are sold to unsuspecting customers at prices that are just a bit cheaper than natural diamonds mined with sweat and sacrifice (and innocent blood, too, but that’s another story) from the earth…but prices still high enough to be damned difficult to justify in this man’s opinion—an opinion shared by increasing numbers of savvy consumers who know what their money is worth—for a product that is limitless in supply, as opposed to more rare natural diamonds.

And these folks even have the nerve to give their lab-grown ‘diamonds’ an appraisal, and a report, and a certification just like real diamonds mined from the earth and limited in supply…as if they didn’t just whip up a batch in the back-room with a chemistry set.

So, maybe you won’t think it’s such a silly question anymore to ask “Is that DIAMOND really a diamond?”

Listen, natural diamonds have their place. Historically, there is a great tradition that links a diamond in the minds of women—and men—as a rock that symbolizes much more than just geology. And natural diamonds do have some intrinsic value, because they have uses in industry beyond just looking pretty, and a scarcity upon which much of the value of any natural resource is based.

Though, frankly, they’re not as rare as the diamond mining cartels would have you believe— they own full warehouses bursting with them, stones they intentionally keep off the market to inflate prices— natural diamonds still are a finite resource.

If the tradition concerns you and money is no object, by all means…purchase a diamond. We think the money can be much better spent in other ways, but that’s just our opinion and you came here for hard facts about cubic zirconia. After all, some people want to light cigars with $100 bills, too.

However, I want you to think very hard before you pay anything more than $200 USD for any ordinary-size and non-custom-cut substitute gemstone made in a lab, no matter what they call it or how many reports, certifications, or appraisals the faux diamond may receive as part of the proof provided to entice you to pay a bunch of money for something God didn’t have a hand in creating.

$5000 for a lab-grown diamond loose stone? It boggles the mind anyone would pay such high prices for a lab-grown diamond when natural diamonds of good size can be obtained for not much more, and high-quality 5A cubic zirconia for 1/100 or less of the cost.

I hope you’ve learned a few things in this post. No, cubic zirconia is not a diamond. But for that matter, a large percentage of ‘diamonds’ sold today aren’t diamonds either, not by this man’s definition.

What do you think?

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Danny Welsh
Vice President,

P.S. Want to know more of the nitty-gritty about the differences between Diamonds vs Cubic Zirconia? We’ve got an ever-growing resource, with case studies and more, ready for your reading pleasure. Take a few minutes and read up, especially if you’re shopping for an engagement ring…after all, if everything goes right, you’ll only be buying ONE. And if what I’m telling you is true—and it is, and our company will prove it to you— you don’t need a diamond engagement ring, when you can get a cubic zirconia replica engagement ring with a lifetime guarantee, and have no one know the difference while you take the difference in price and spend for fun or invest for the future in ways that will satisfy you much more than a rock.

Non-toxic cubic zirconia jewelry 0

Danny Welsh here, Vice President of I recently communicated with a reporter seeking source material from industry brand/designers for a story on the dangers of “toxic jewelry” and wanted to help out. Our small firm enjoys publicity, yes, so any mention in his piece would be welcome…but more importantly, I asked him if I could hear when he's completed his piece so I can review for any new information that would affect our operations.

We are a small enough company that the product liability of one lawsuit could wipe out our profits, and so I want to thank reporters like this gentleman for investigations into this matter. I hope other jewelry designers and resellers are also conscientious to read what he found out.

Here’s my take on the toxic jewelry issue. The actions taken by big jewelry retailers like Claire’s, Old Navy, Target, and others in recent years to limit certain substances in jewelry purchased to re-sell from manufacturers has been admirable-- but ultimately these companies are doomed to continue a cycle with new toxic materials every few years.

Mass retailers that sell jewelry are always getting caught red-handed selling items manufactured with materials that are suspect. Why? The number one reason in my opinion is that manufacturers will agree to sell a batch of products for the retailer to re-sell at literally whatever price is offered by the retailer.

Wal-Mart especially has gotten so powerful that they dictate prices to their suppliers, and in some cases this can be dangerous for the retailer and dangerous for the consumer-- especially when health considerations are ignored in pursuit of profit margin protection.

What’s an example? The retailer’s purchasing agent will compare bids from various manufacturers for an item they want to stock and sell, and often go with the cheapest similar product rather than the company that initially pitched them on carrying the product.

Unless these buyers are educated about the difference, you get not only poor-quality jewelry sold at premium prices to unsuspecting consumers, but you also get jewelry sold to men, women and children made with toxic levels of lead, cadmium and other poisonous substances.

The danger of toxic jewelry increases significantly when the jewelry is manufactured overseas away from U.S. regulatory oversight. When the corporate purchasers of jewelry educate themselves about the dangers, it helps, but those are only the known dangers!

Some manufacturers trying to cut costs are liable to do anything in order to win-- or keep-- an order contract with large retailers that can buy millions of units. This means that as a retailer you cannot assume that the next batch you receive at the lower price you negotiated is going to be the exact same materials makeup of the last one. You have to ask! Not knowing what planned materials your manufacturer is going to use in order to save your retail company money is irresponsible.

From a personal standpoint, our company does not suffer in any way from doing the right thing in this area. We manufacture all of our finished jewelry in the United States, where regulatory oversight protects consumers much better than in other countries where cheaper jewelry is manufactured. We avoid known poisonous materials in the engagement rings, necklaces, bracelets, and pendants that we manufacture and sell--and try to stay abreast of any new toxic substances that researchers and journalists investigate (which is how I heard about Jamie’s planned story on toxic jewelry).

We don’t lose money and we don’t lose sleep because we charge fair prices and are a boutique firm not trying to cut corners and earn profit in volume with suspect manufacturing tricks.

We use only high-quality precious metals: .925 sterling silver (sometimes rhodium-plated for shine enhancement), 10K, 14K and 18K white, rose, or yellow gold, palladium, and pure 950 Platinum.

You can feel safe with our non-toxic cubic zirconia jewelry!

Check out our full product catalog here: cubic zirconia jewelry