When shopping for an engagement ring, the details may seem overwhelming. What size band should you choose? What metal is the right type? Of the dozens of styles, shapes, and cuts, which one will be the perfect choice today and several decades down the line?
And that doesn’t even touch on the ring’s centerpiece: the gemstone. It is the main attraction, the part of the ring that will draw the “oohs” and “ahs.” While there are several gemstone styles and alternatives, diamonds are the undisputed kings and queens of engagement rings.
You may be shopping engagement rings for yourself or a partner, or you may be making a wishlist for the future. Either way, so many details come into play. As you browse, research, and compare prices, there is a certain stone you’re likely to come across. It isn’t a diamond, though it looks like one. Touted as an affordable alternative, cubic zirconia is a polarizing stone in the jewelry world.
You may love it; you may hate it. You may know nothing about it. But cubic zirconia deserves a place at the table. Keep reading to learn more about this stone.
Cubic zirconia, or CZ, is a mineral that can be found in nature; however, naturally occurring CZ is highly rare. When scientists learned to artificially produce it, early efforts were spent trying to use cubic zirconia for lasers. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Russian chemists perfected the art of cubic zirconia that it entered the jewelry world.
By 1976, Cubic zirconia was being produced commercially, and it quickly became a popular feature on the jewelry market. The reasons were obvious: the stone, perfectly clear but flashing rainbow in the light, seemed to offer all the benefits of diamonds at a much lower price point.
In many ways, it’s true. Cubic zirconia, especially cut in a familiar diamond style, is an eye-catching gemstone. As clear as the most prized diamonds, with a fire and sparkle that rivals much of its competition, cubic zirconia has a lot to offer. Additionally, CZ is lab-grown, which means it’s conflict-free, ethical, and sustainable.
With so many benefits, this diamond lookalike seems like it would put the pricier stones out of business. However, as similar as the gems may be on the outside, the differences between them run deep.
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, and they can only be scratched by another diamond. Cubic Zirconia, while still a hard substance, is more likely to sustain scratches and chips over its lifetime. Additionally, cubic zirconia absorbs oxygen and dust more readily than diamonds do. CZ is known to take on a dull or cloudy tint over time, requiring the stone to be cleaned or replaced.
Where Diamonds Shine
Cubic zirconia may be an attractive alternative to diamonds, but be aware of the care they need. Cz gems require a commitment to upkeep and care that diamonds don’t require, and their lifespan is significantly shorter. Without the set value that a diamond has, cubic zirconia has little intrinsic value, making them weak choices for heirlooms.
Diamonds, on the other hand, are synonymous with luxury. Their rarity, beauty, and value means that to wear a diamond is to elevate your atmosphere. Diamonds offer the longevity of a stone that won’t drop in value or degrade. As valuable when you buy it as it will be years down the road, a diamond ring is a piece of jewelry to invest in.
To know which stone is right for you, weigh the pros and cons. Are you working with a small budget? Are you looking to upgrade your ring further down the line? Do you feel left out of the diamond hype, not sure what everyone is talking about? In that case, cubic zirconia may be the best choice.
But if you’re looking for a lifelong piece, a statement that will always remind you of your love, and luxury that will elevate your every day, consider diamonds. With a wide range of sizes, shapes, and cuts, our engagement collections are a great place to start.
As you continue in your engagement ring search, don’t miss our favorite tips on choosing a ring she’s bound to love. Anything else you’re hoping to learn? Browse our other posts for style tips, jewelry info, and more, and don’t forget to find a Zeghani retailer near you.