How to Know The Difference Between a Diamond and a Cubic Zirconia

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Examine a gem closely to identify a cubic zirconia.
Examine a gem closely to identify a cubic zirconia. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The cubic zirconia, an artificially made gem, is often used as a diamond stand-in. It resembles a diamond to the untrained eye and is much less expensive. With a little training, you can distinguish a real diamond from a cheap cubic zirconia without using high-tech equipment.

Look at the stone in bright light, such as in full sun, and notice its brilliance. A diamond should display only white or silvery sparkles that reflect more light. A cubic zirconia will throw off more fire, with colorful red, yellow and blue sparkles that look somewhat unnatural.

Consider the size of the stone. A large diamond of more than 2.5 carats is very rare and should cost a small fortune. Large cubic zirconia stones are common.

Examine the stone with a jeweler's loupe, and look at places where the facets of the stone meet. In a diamond, they will be sharp, but in a cubic zirconia they appear rounded.

Look deeply into the stone with a jeweler's loupe. A natural diamond should have some flaws in it. A synthetic cubic zirconia is perfectly flawless because it is made in the lab in controlled conditions. Flawless diamonds are not only rare, but extremely expensive.

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