Why Cubic Zirconias (CZ) and Lab Diamonds are Not the Same Thing

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Quite simply, a laboratory-grown diamond is a diamond - carbon atoms arranged in a diamond cubic crystal structure. The only difference is the origin of the diamond. As you can see below, grown diamonds and mined diamonds have the exact same physical properties.

On the other hand, a cubic zirconia is not a diamond.  It is merely a diamond simulant, meaning that it looks approximately the same as a diamond. In fact, a cubic zirconia contains zero carbon, whereas diamonds (mined and grown) are made entirely from carbon.

Put another way, cubic zirconia is a cheap imposter to a diamond that is an entire material entirely; whereas a synthetic diamond is chemically and optically identical to a mined diamond.

Chemical Composition Carbon (+Impurities) Carbon ZrO2
Hardness 10 10 8.25
Dispersion 0.044 0.044 0.066
Refractive Index 2.42 2.42 2.2
Purity Only 2% are Pure Carbon (Type IIa) All Production is Pure Carbon Contains Zero Carbon
Fossil Fuels Required Significant Negligible Negligible
Water and Land Use Significant Negligible Negligible