The 4C's of Cubic Zirconia
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. In this blog post, let’s discuss how they compare.
Physically, if you’re just going to stare at both stones with your naked eye, you’ll see no difference from our 5A cubic zirconia and a perfect, flawless and ideal-cut diamond. Even jewelers with decades of experience cannot tell our company’s 5A AAAAA diamond-quality cubic zirconia apart from these best and rarest of flawless diamonds without using special props, testing methods and/or equipment. In fact, 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!
These AAAAA cubic zirconia stones we make, use in our jewelry and sell are flawless, with brilliant sparkle, tremendous clarity, and radiant fire, good durability and hardness. But what does that mean in terms of the vaunted "4C's"?
Since cubic zirconia stones are man-made, they can be cut in the same way as genuine diamonds. In fact, while getting an “ideal cut” genuine diamond is rare, all our 5A cubic zirconia stones are manufactured and cut to be “ideal cut” stones as a Cut standard (see our FAQ question “Is there an Ideal Cut cubic zirconia?” for full details).
Moreover, being man-made also allows cubic zirconia stones to be perfectly clear and flawless; this contrasts with the Clarity of genuine diamonds where impurities or “inclusions” are common (truly flawless diamonds with little to no inclusions are the rarest and sold for the highest price).
Furthermore, this very reason also allows cubic zirconia to be manufactured in the clearest and most colorless manner. So, while genuine diamonds are ranked in color where the more colorless it is, the more the seller will charge for it, all top-quality clear/white cubic zirconia are truly Colorless .
As far as Color is concerned, taking that even a step further, cubic zirconia can be manufactured in any color (making it an ideal simulant stone, not only of genuine clear diamonds, but genuine colored gemstones and birthstones as well). You can read more about our colored cubic zirconia stones here
As far as Carat Weight, that is a function of not just size of a stone but many people aren’t aware that it is a function of weight. Cubic zirconia is denser material than diamond, hence our stone of “X” carats is actually 1.7 times as heavy as an identically-sized diamond of “X” carats; see our FAQ question “Do real diamonds and cubic zirconia stones have the same carat weight?” for full explanation.
We sell our stones in a “diamond carat weight equivalent”, and so the stones we call 1 carat, 2 carat, 3 carat or what have you have the same millimeter length and width dimensions of a comparable, ideal-cut diamond...they just actually weigh a bit more. We say "Who cares?". Think about it: a couple tenths of a gram in weight one way or the other isn't going to affect how beautiful your jewelry is!
It is worth reiterating here that our 5A cubic zirconia stones are visually indistinguishable from perfect, flawless and ideal-cut natural diamonds to the naked eye. However, once you start “scratching the surface” -- literally and figuratively -- that’s where the primary differences arise between our cubic zirconia and diamonds.
Diamonds are harder than cubic zirconia, which are easier to scratch (though impressively harder to scratch than many fine jewelry favorites like sapphire, emerald, jade; see our FAQ question “What is the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness? Where does cubic zirconia rank?” for details, or read this article)
Yet the biggest differences we feel come from asking the questions, “Where does cubic zirconia come from?” and “Where do diamonds come from?”.
Cue dark foreboding music…
You can read more about this here in our ever-growing “Diamonds versus CZ” resource, with case studies and more, ready for your reading pleasure.
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- Admin CZ