What’s The Difference?

Zircon vs. Cubic Zirconia

Zircon and cubic zirconia are often confused because of their similar appearance and name. However, this is where the similarities end because these two gemstones are very different chemically, structurally, and optically. Continue reading for a few tips from Vibe on how to tell the difference between zircon and cubic zirconia.

The Origin

Zircon is the oldest mineral used in jewelry making!

Here at Vibe Jewelry, you will find that we use zircon in some of our pieces. The confusion around zircon and cubic zirconia being the same stone, has created an unfair reputation for zircon. Cubic zirconia is made from zirconium oxide and is considered to be a fake diamond simulant and, although pretty, it is a synthetic material. Zircon is made of zirconium silicate, which is another reason why these two gemstones get mixed up, despite consisting of completely different ingredients.

Zircon is the oldest mineral that is still used in jewelry making today. The most ancient crystals were found in Australia and estimated to be over 4.4 billion years old. Cubic zirconia was first discovered in the 1930’s and it was extremely difficult to find. A scientist began working on a way to synthesize this mineral. The process was officially perfected in the 1970s and from that day forward, cubic zirconia has been mass produced.

The Clarity & Value

Which do you prefer, quality or cost?

Featuring the 14K Gold Three Virgins Ring and the 14K Gold Twisted Double Gemstone Ring both with zircon gemstones.

Since cubic zirconia is man-made and manipulated, it has a flawless finish. It appears to be much more opaque and has a high shine and sparkle. Zircon is transparent and is normally free of purities. This makes it a good choice for those who prefer a natural looking stone. Zircon has a realistic finish and is usually easy to point out in comparison.

Zircon is by far higher in value compared to cubic zirconia because of its natural properties. Although cubic zirconia is easier on the pockets, zircon will last a lifetime and be more valuable in the long run. Zircon also provides healing values to those that wear it. It is said to promote balance, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Many believe that connecting with the stone mentally can provide guidance and purpose to lead you to greater things!

The Durability

Zircon is much softer than cubic zirconia.

Zircon is between 6-7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. That means it is a durable stone and makes a very suitable choice for jewelry. Zircon does well when exposed to sunlight and other natural lights. Although it is more delicate than cubic zirconia, it is considered to be, by far, a more precious gemstone.

Cubic zirconia has a hardness rating of 8-8.5 and rarely chips or gets damaged. However, this gemstone is likely to get ‘cloudy’ overtime. This means that it requires proper maintenance in order to keep it looking crisp and pristine.

The Color & Lighting

Sparkle from a mile away!

Featuring multiple Vibe Jewelry pieces with the green zircon gemstone.

The purest form of zircon is colorless, and called white zircon. If you are lucky you may also see pink, blue, yellow and green zircon. The rarest shade to find is green and it is also the most valuable. When looking at a zircon stone at different angles, it may show off different colors due to the presence of trace elements found within the stone.

Since cubic zirconia is lab created, the producers are able to completely control the final color of the stone. This is usually why cubic zirconia stones have a much more solid and opaque appearance. While it is often made colorless, it can also be found in pink, green, blue, black, orange and red.

Certain lighting will make each stone reflect differently. Zircon has a high sparkle and luster making it extremely reflective in the light. Also, because of the refractions in zircon, adding lighting can create an illusion of it having more facets than it actually does. Cubic zirconia does not come close to matching the brilliance of zircon. Zircon performs better under light and its luster lasts much longer than cubic zirconia. 

Vibe Jewelry’s Zircon Styles

So which gemstone is better?

It all depends on the buyer. When deciding which type of stone is best for you, try to remember these top tips…

  • Zircon occurs in and is powered by nature.  
  • Cubic zirconia is a man-made and manipulated stone. 
  • Zircon offers physical & mental strength, balance, abundance, wealth and wisdom. 
  • Cubic zirconia is less likely to be damaged or chipped. 
  • Zircon will last a lifetime and be much more valuable in the long run.

If zircon is sounding more like your kind of stone, then you are in luck! At Vibe Jewelry, we use zircon in some of our best selling pieces. Shop our collection of styles with zircon gemstone options below!