Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite vs Diamond: Making the Right Jewelry Choice

Are you in the market for a stunning piece of jewelry? If so, you’ve probably come across the debate of cubic zirconia vs moissanite vs diamond. Each stone possesses its own distinctive qualities, but understanding the differences between them can be quite overwhelming.

Cubic zirconia, a popular diamond simulant, is known for its affordability and accessibility. Made of zirconium dioxide, it’s designed to mimic the look of a diamond. On the other hand, moissanite, a naturally occurring mineral found in meteorites, boasts a similar appearance to a diamond but with more fire and brilliance. Lastly, diamonds are the most renowned and sought-after gemstones in the world, coveted for their hardness, rarity, and sparkle.

To help you make an informed decision on which stone is right for you, we’ll delve deeper into the characteristics of cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond.

Understanding the Basics

When it comes to choosing a stone for your jewelry, you have three main options to consider: cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond. Each stone possesses unique characteristics and properties that set them apart from one another.

Cubic zirconia is a man-made stone created in a laboratory using a mixture of zirconium oxide and yttrium oxide. Moissanite, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring mineral found in meteorites. Diamonds, as you may know, are also naturally occurring minerals formed deep within the earth’s mantle.

Origins and History

Cubic zirconia emerged in 1976 as a more affordable alternative to diamonds. In contrast, moissanite was discovered in a meteorite in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan. Diamonds, prized for centuries for their beauty and rarity, have been used in jewelry for thousands of years.

Physical Characteristics

Cubic zirconia has a relatively soft composition and ranks 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Moissanite, however, is a much harder stone with a rating of 9.25 on the Mohs scale. Diamonds, being the hardest natural substance on earth, score a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale.

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Durability and Toughness

In terms of durability and toughness, cubic zirconia is not particularly durable and can be easily scratched or chipped. Moissanite, while more durable than cubic zirconia, falls short of diamond’s toughness. Diamonds, on the other hand, are extremely tough and can withstand significant wear and tear.

Aesthetics and Style

Cubic zirconia is renowned for its brilliance and fire, but it lacks the depth and complexity of a diamond. Moissanite, like cubic zirconia, also exhibits exceptional brilliance and fire, often leading to it being mistaken for a diamond. However, diamonds are known for their unparalleled brilliance, fire, and depth, making them the ultimate choice for high-end jewelry and engagement rings.

Cost and Value

When it comes to cost and value, cubic zirconia is the most affordable option, often used as a budget-friendly alternative to diamonds. Moissanite, although pricier than cubic zirconia, is still far more affordable than diamonds. Diamonds, being the most expensive option, are often seen as a long-term investment due to their value and rarity.

Overall, each stone possesses its own unique characteristics and properties that make it an excellent choice for different types of jewelry and budgets. When selecting a stone, it’s important to consider your personal style, budget, and the stone’s durability and value.

Engagement Rings and Other Jewelry

Both cubic zirconia and moissanite are popular alternatives to diamonds when it comes to engagement rings and other jewelry. Cubic zirconia is often chosen as a budget-friendly option, while moissanite provides a more durable and brilliant alternative to diamonds.

These stones can be found in a variety of settings, including gold, silver, and platinum. You can choose from an array of styles, such as solitaire, halo, and three-stone settings, to match your personal taste and budget.

Earrings and necklaces are also ideal pieces of jewelry for cubic zirconia and moissanite. They offer a similar look to diamonds at a more affordable price point. Whether you prefer simple studs or elaborate drop earrings and statement necklaces, both stones offer a wide range of styles to suit your preferences.

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When deciding between cubic zirconia and moissanite, consider your budget and personal preferences. While cubic zirconia is more affordable, moissanite delivers a more durable and brilliant alternative to diamonds.

No matter which stone you choose, cubic zirconia and moissanite are both excellent options for engagement rings and other jewelry. They offer a similar look to diamonds at a more affordable price point, making them popular choices for those on a budget or seeking a sustainable alternative to traditional diamonds.

Comparisons and Considerations

When comparing cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond, several factors should be taken into account. Here are a few comparisons and considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Moissanite vs Diamond

Moissanite is often compared to diamonds due to its similar appearance. However, there are some differences to consider. Moissanite has a higher refractive index, resulting in more sparkle. It is also less expensive than diamonds, making it a popular alternative. However, moissanite is not as hard as diamonds, making it more prone to scratches and chips.

Pros and Cons

Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond:

Cubic Zirconia:

  • Pros: Affordable, accessible.
  • Cons: Not very durable, may get scratched or chipped easily.


  • Pros: Durable, brilliant, more affordable than diamonds.
  • Cons: Less hard than diamonds, may experience scratches and chips.


  • Pros: Extremely durable, unmatched brilliance, a long-term investment.
  • Cons: Expensive.

Other Options

Aside from cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond, there are a few other diamond substitutes to consider. Zirconium dioxide, also known as zirconium oxide, is a popular choice due to its durability and affordability. Silicon carbide, known as carborundum, is another option often utilized in industrial applications and can also be used in jewelry.


Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that certain options may be more readily available in particular locations. Arizona, for instance, is renowned for its moissanite mines, while other areas may offer more access to cubic zirconia or diamond options.

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Ultimately, the choice between cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond hinges on personal preference and budget. Consider the factors that matter most to you and choose the option that best aligns with your needs.

Key Takeaways

When deciding between cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond, there are a few key takeaways to remember. Firstly, while cubic zirconia and moissanite may appear similar to diamonds, they are not identical. Cubic zirconia is a synthetic material designed to resemble diamonds, but it lacks the same level of sparkle and brilliance. Moissanite, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring mineral that possesses a distinctive appearance and is renowned for its rainbow-like sparkle.

Secondly, diamonds may be the most expensive option, but they are also the most durable. Being the hardest material known to man, diamonds resist scratching and other forms of damage. Moissanite is also fairly durable, but it is not as hard as diamonds and may be more prone to damage over time. Meanwhile, cubic zirconia is the least durable of the three and may become cloudy or scratched with regular wear.

Lastly, price plays a significant role in decision-making. While diamonds are the most expensive, cubic zirconia and moissanite are both much more affordable. Cubic zirconia is the cheapest but may require more frequent replacement due to its lower durability. Moissanite, pricier than cubic zirconia, offers a unique appearance at a more accessible price point.

Ultimately, the choice between cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond depends on personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle. Each material possesses its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully consider your options before making a decision.

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