Difference between Zircon and Cubic Zirconia

Difference Between Zircon And Cubic Zirconia

Gemstones possess a captivating allure, and two stones that often confuse people are zircon and cubic zirconia. While they may share a similar name and physical resemblance, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the differences between zircon and cubic zirconia, shedding light on their composition, properties, and uses.

What is Zircon?

Zircon is one of the oldest minerals on earth, estimated to be 4.4 billion years old. 

This natural gemstone is not very common, making it a unique find. It is composed of zirconium silicate, which gives it its remarkable qualities. Renowned for its brilliance and luster, natural zircon captivates jewelry and gem enthusiasts alike. It closely resembles a diamond in terms of optical splendor. 

Zircon comes in various popular colors, such as blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow. While colorless zircon is highly valued, it can also be heat-treated to enhance its colors or clarity. However, one distinguishing characteristic of zircon is its display of double refraction, setting it apart from diamonds.

What is Zircon?
Zircon is one of the oldest minerals on earth

What is Cubic Zirconia?

Cubic zirconia (CZ), in contrast to natural zircon, is a lab-created gemstone. It is made of zirconium oxide and is a newcomer to the world of gemstones.

While natural cubic zirconia was first discovered in the 1930s, it was a rare occurrence. Scientists started experimenting with synthetic varieties, and by the 1970s, they perfected the synthetic version of CZ, which quickly gained popularity in the jewelry industry.

Cubic zirconia clearly displays jewelry potential with its dazzling brilliance. It closely resembles a diamond and is often used as a diamond simulant.

What is Cubic Zirconia?
Cubic zirconia is a lab-created gemstone

Differences between Zircon and Cubic Zirconia

While zircon and cubic zirconia may look similar at first glance, there are several distinguishing factors:

Zircon is a natural gemstone composed of zirconium silicate, whereas cubic zirconia is a lab-created gemstone made of zirconium oxide. The difference in composition contributes to variations in their properties and characteristics.

Rarity and Cost:
Natural zircon is rare and more expensive than cubic zirconia. Its scarcity adds to its value and appeal, making it a prized gemstone among collectors and enthusiasts. Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, is more readily available and affordable, making it a popular choice for those seeking an alternative to diamonds.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, cubic zirconia ranks 8.5, while zircon ranks 7.5. This means that cubic zirconia is slightly harder than zircon, but both stones exhibit excellent durability and are suitable for everyday wear.

Optical Properties:
Both zircon and cubic zirconia exhibit incredible fire and brilliance, which make them visually captivating. Their optical properties closely resemble those of diamonds, adding to their appeal in jewelry.

Thermal Conductivity:
One notable difference between zircon and cubic zirconia is their thermal conductivity. While diamond is an excellent thermal conductor, cubic zirconia acts as a thermal insulator. This distinction allows gemologists to use specialized instruments to differentiate between the two gemstones.

Differences between Zircon and Cubic Zirconia

I hope it is now clear what the Difference Between Zircon And Cubic Zirconia.

In conclusion, zircon and cubic zirconia may share some similarities in appearance, but they are distinct gemstones with unique properties. Zircon, a natural gemstone, is known for its optical splendor, rarity, and captivating colors. Its display of double refraction sets it apart from diamonds. On the other hand, cubic zirconia, a lab-created gemstone, serves as a popular diamond simulant. It closely resembles a diamond in appearance but differs in terms of composition and thermal conductivity. Understanding these differences empowers gem enthusiasts and buyers to make informed choices when selecting their desired gemstone.

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