Cubic Zirconia Vs. Moissanite: How Do They Compare?
Upon beginning your search for the perfect engagement ring, you may be surprised to find that there are actually quite a few details that need to be considered. From deciding on a stone shape to picking the ideal setting, designing your own ring is a chance to really let your unique love shine.
Before you begin assembling your ring, however, you first have to decide what type of stone you want to be featured as the centerpiece of your design. While we have previously compared moissanite and diamonds, there is another popular alternative stone you may have likely come across in your search.
Cubic zirconia is a (mostly) lab-created stone that has properties that in some ways are similar to both moissanite and diamonds. On the other hand, there are some key differences that you should be aware of when it comes to considering the diamond alternative as your stone of choice. Read on as we take a closer look at the differences between cubic zirconia vs moissanite.
What Is A Cubic Zirconia Stone?
Cubic zirconia gets its name from the symmetrical cubic crystalline forms within the stone that are composed of zirconium dioxide. Much like moissanite, cubic zirconia is a popular and commonly found diamond alternative gemstone. Also, like moissanite, cubic zirconia does occur naturally on earth though it is extremely rare. For this reason, nearly all cubic zirconia stones today are lab-created.
Though often compared to moissanite and diamonds, cubic zirconia does have its own set of unique physical properties that set it apart from the other two. Some of these differences affect the stone’s resilience and potential “lifespan,” so it is important to be aware of them.
Cubic Zirconia Vs. Moissanite: How Do They Compare?
Because cubic zirconia is (for the most part) created in a lab, the stones are usually about as “flawless” as can be. This means that they are generally free of any internal imperfections that may reduce the clarity, refractive properties, or color of the stone.
While this is a nice perk, it can be easily diminished by cubic zirconia’s tendency to collect oils, dirt, and other residues on its surface. Over time, this can begin making the stone look cloudy and much more dull than it originally was.
On the other hand, thanks to a more complicated creation process, diamonds and moissanite both tend to inherently have minor internal and structural imperfections, as well as hints of color even in a colorless stone. While these minor flaws are rarely significant enough to be very noticeable, they do affect the overall appearance of the stone depending on the type of imperfections present.
Since moissanite and diamonds (both natural and lab-created) almost always have some level of imperfection, some people have come to prefer the look as being more “natural.” While this comes down to a matter of personal preference, cubic zirconia’s tendency for collecting surface residue will, at the very least, have you cleaning your stone to maintain the shine much more frequently than you would a moissanite stone.
Hardness & Durability
Cubic zirconia comes in at an 8.5 on the MOHs hardness scale. The MOHs scale is used to compare how hard a gemstone is relative to other gemstones, with a rating of 1 being the softest stone and 10 being the hardest. The higher the stone rates on this scale, the more resistant it is to scratches, cracks, and chips.
At a score of 8.5, cubic zirconia is a fairly hard and durable stone, though slightly less so than moissanite. Moissanite rates between 9.25 - 9.5 on the MOHs scale, which means that it is nearly as hard as diamonds which score a 10.
Though the difference between these numbers seems marginal, they have big implications for the overall durability of the ring over the years. Ultimately, cubic zirconia will be more prone to scratches and other types of damage from daily use than moissanite is.
Moissanite is well known for having a dazzlingly high refractive index rating of 2.69. The refractive index of a stone is simply a way of quantifying the amount of “sparkle” a gemstone has. The higher the number, the more brilliantly the stone will reflect the light that passes through its facets.
Cubic zirconia comes in at a refractive index of 2.15, which is well below that of moissanite. This means that, even to the naked eye, a cubic zirconia stone will have considerably less shine than moissanite.
If the maximum shine is what you’re after, you won’t find a more brilliant option than moissanite!
Cost And Value
While moissanite and cubic zirconia are both much more affordable than diamonds, moissanite tends to be a decent bit more expensive than cubic zirconia. This comes down to the fact that the process for creating moissanite in a lab is more similar to creating a diamond than cubic zirconia.
In other words, moissanite requires a lengthy and meticulous process to create a quality stone than cubic zirconia. For this reason, moissanite is able to retain (and even grow) its value over time and can be looked at as an investment in the same way a diamond often is.
Cubic zirconia is relatively cheap and easy to synthesize in a lab. It also lacks many of the sought-after qualities that give moissanite and diamonds their value, such as durability and refractive performance. Though it often retails for a fraction of the cost of diamonds, cubic zirconia does not accumulate resale value over time, which significantly reduces its overall value.
Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing Between Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia
For a variety of great reasons, people are increasingly choosing diamond alternative stones for their engagement rings. While moissanite and cubic zirconia share a few similarities, there are some crucial differences that set them apart.
Though moissanite and cubic zirconia are often compared to each other as diamond alternative stones, moissanite tends to “outperform” cubic zirconia in several crucial ways. While cubic zirconia is highly affordable and is similar in appearance to moissanite, it is ultimately a less durable and refractive stone.
If you are after a stone that closely resembles the qualities that once made diamonds the go-to engagement gemstone, moissanite really shines in just about every category! Whether you'd like to know more about moissanite, financing options, are requesting a custom quote, or anything in between, we are here for you.
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