When it comes to finding a more affordable alternative to diamonds, cubic zirconia is often the go-to choice for many people. But how does it compare in terms of shine and clarity? Is it really a convincing substitute for diamonds, or are the differences too noticeable to ignore?

In this article, we’ll explore the clarity and brightness of cubic zirconia and compare it to diamonds. We’ll also delve into whether or not cubic zirconia can truly sparkle like a diamond and how to make it shine to its fullest potential.

Key Takeaways

  • Cubic zirconia is a popular alternative to diamonds for those seeking a more affordable option.
  • The clarity and brightness of cubic zirconia will be compared to diamonds in this article.
  • Tips on how to make cubic zirconia shine like a diamond will also be discussed.

About the Cubic Zirconia Clarity

Cubic zirconia (CZ) is a lab-created gemstone that is often used as an alternative to diamonds. CZ is made from zirconium dioxide and other additives like calcium oxide or yttrium, resulting in high-clarity crystals that are clear and hard, just like diamonds. However, CZ is not the same as diamonds, and there are some key differences between the two.

One of the main differences between diamonds and CZ is how they are created. Diamonds are mined, while CZ is made in a lab. Because of the controlled lab environment, CZ stones hardly have imperfections or inclusions like natural diamonds do. However, even in the lab, some CZ stones can come out a bit cloudy or hazy, affecting their clarity level.

The clarity level of CZ is graded differently from diamonds. While all CZ stones are expected to be bright and shiny, the clarity of CZ directly affects the quality and price of the stones. The highest quality CZ stones are 6A and 5A graded cubic zirconia stones, which are top-of-the-line CZ stones cut by the best stone cutters and curators. These stones have a remarkable level of clarity that is seen in their appearance.

Mid-level, good-quality CZ stones are the AAA cubic zirconia stones, which are the most commonly used stones in jewelry making. The lowest quality of CZ stones used in the cheapest CZ jewelry is the A-grade CZ.

The cut of CZ stones is also an important quality feature, just like diamonds. The cut is what gives the stones personality, and the most common cuts for CZ stones include the princess, brilliant, heart, and trilliant cuts.

It’s important to note that the high clarity of diamonds is why CZ is often seen as too perfect and easily identified as fake. However, CZ remains a popular and affordable alternative to diamonds, especially for those shopping on a budget.

Do Cubic Zirconia Crystals Sparkle? Does Cubic Zirconia Shine Like a Diamond?

When it comes to sparkle and fire, one of the most significant differences between cubic zirconia (CZ) and diamonds is the amount of colored light or fire seen in the stones. CZ is known to be a lot more sparkly than diamonds, with more colored light or fire seen in the CZ stone than in diamonds. This is a dead giveaway that allows easy identification and differentiation of the brightest CZ from brilliant diamonds, according to experts.

The brilliance and fire of both CZ and diamonds are determined by the cut of the stone. The cut determines the amount of light that is reflected through the stone to the eyes. That white reflection is the stone’s brilliance, while the reflection with the colored light is the stone’s fire.

CZ doesn’t have any true fire or brilliance, and they also have a much smaller degree of refraction between 2.15 and 2.18 against the diamonds’ 2.42 index. This difference in the refractive index comes from how light travels in the stones, and how light travels in CZ is quite different from how it travels in diamonds. Because of the difference in how light travels through the stones, CZ reflection is lower than the reflection in diamonds.

However, CZ boasts a higher dispersion rate than diamonds, giving it the rainbow effect. Unlike diamonds, CZ reflects a lot more colored light, and this dispersion and the rainbow colors make for easy identification of CZ from diamonds.

Considering these elements, CZ is undoubtedly beautiful and sparkly, but diamonds are still superior with more brilliance and fire.

Is Cubic Zirconia Shinier than a Diamond?

No, cubic zirconia (CZ) is not shinier than a diamond. CZ has a lower refractive index than diamonds, which means that light does not travel through the stone as well as in diamonds, resulting in less shine. Diamonds are shinier than CZ due to their higher refractive index.

Which Grade of Cubic Zirconia Offers More Sparkle?

When it comes to cubic zirconia (CZ) stones, the higher grades tend to offer the best sparkle. Despite having a lower refractive index, the best quality cuts of CZ stones can still provide exceptional brilliance.

For those seeking the best sparkle without breaking the bank, the Diamond 6A CZ and 5A cubic zirconia are recommended. These two grades offer a feel that is closest to real diamonds and are ideal for jewelry that requires a high level of shine.

In conclusion, for those looking for the most sparkle from CZ stones, it is recommended to choose higher grades such as 6A or 5A. These grades offer the best quality cuts and provide exceptional brilliance, making them the ideal choice for those seeking affordable yet dazzling jewelry.

How to Enhance the Sparkle of Cubic Zirconia Jewelry

While it’s not possible to replicate the exact shine, fire, or brilliance of a high-quality diamond in cubic zirconia (CZ), you can take steps to make your CZ jewelry shine like a diamond. Start by purchasing CZ jewelry made from top-graded zirconia stones. Even these high-quality stones can become cloudy or hazy over time when exposed to skin, body care products, water, and the environment.

To restore the shine and brightness of your CZ jewelry, clean it in warm soapy water using a gentle detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can scratch or damage the stone. After cleaning, dry the jewelry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Remember that while a CZ will never be a diamond, it can be a beautiful and affordable alternative. By taking care of your CZ jewelry and cleaning it regularly, you can enjoy its sparkle and shine for years to come.


In conclusion, CZ stones are an affordable alternative to diamonds that can provide a similar look to the untrained eye. However, they do not possess the same level of brilliance and fire as diamonds when viewed by a professional. The low refractive index, lower refractive reflectivity, and rainbow effect of CZ stones make them less brilliant than diamonds. Despite this, CZ jewelry remains a popular choice among those looking to save money on jewelry purchases. As a jewelry designer and writer for our website, Stephanie provides actionable tips on designs and brands for those interested in CZ jewelry. Overall, CZ stones are a viable option for those seeking a diamond-like appearance without the high cost, but they do not possess the same level of brilliance as diamonds.