Swarovski Zirconia Vs. Cubic Zirconia: Key Differences
February 06, 20234 min read
Whether you’re a budding jewellery maker or looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, it can be helpful to know the difference between certain gemstones and crystals used in modern jewellery manufacturing.
When it comes to diamond and crystal jewellery, both Swarovski Zirconia and Cubic Zirconia are popular in mimicking and imitating the sparkle and gleam of the lucrative diamond, and can be used to adorn everything from earrings to engagement rings.
But what’s the difference between the two? In the following blog, we’re going to take a look at both Swarovski crystals and Cubic zirconia, and explain their key differences in detail. Let’s get started!
What is Cubic Zirconia?
Cubic Zirconia (also known as CZ), is a diamond substitute made by melting powdered zirconium and zirconium dioxide at a high temperature of 4,982ºF. Used in modern jewellery manufacturing as an affordable alternative to diamonds, Cubic Zirconia is often almost indistinguishable from the real thing; in fact, one of the only ways cubic zirconia can be differentiated from a real diamond is by using 10x magnification technology.
Benefits of Cubic Zirconia
One of the main reasons behind CZ's popularity is its price tag; CZ gemstones are much more affordable than real diamonds, making them excellent alternatives for milestone jewellery pieces, such as engagement rings and wedding rings.
As we mentioned above, another reason CZ is so popular is due to its resemblance to a real diamond: a cubic zirconia piece will shine, sparkle, and refract light like a real diamond, often rendering it practically indistinguishable to the untrained eye. However, unlike a real diamond (which will refract white light) a piece made with cubic zirconia will give off a more multi-coloured sparkle.
While cubic zirconia isn't as durable as a real diamond, it still has a relatively high hardness rating of 8.5-9/10 on the Mohs scale - in comparison, a real diamond has a hardness rating of 10. While this does mean that a CZ piece will be more prone to scratches than a real diamond, it's still highly durable, especially for a man-made stone.
What is Swarovski Zirconia?
Swarovski Zirconia is an imitation diamond alternative inspired by cubic zirconia, and the Swarovski brand was inspired by CZ to create the most realistic-looking diamond imitation gemstone in the world of jewellery. Known internationally for their manufacturing perfectionism when it comes to their Swarovski crystals, the Swarovski Zirconia is cut and designed with incredibly detailed precision, and Swarovski is the only brand in the world to follow the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) diamond-cutting quality standards.
Benefits of Swarovski Zirconia
High precision cutting
As we mentioned above, Swarovski Zirconia is the only imitation diamond alternative to adhere to GIA’s quality standards. This means that a Swarovski Zirconia piece will be cut with even more precision than a cubic zirconia piece; this reflects in the stone’s sparkle and optical refraction, making it even more difficult to tell apart from a real diamond. The Swarovski Zirconia is made up of 57 flawless facets for ultimate light refraction and sparkle, and is seen as more of a diamond "alternative" than a diamond imitation - this is in part thanks to the company's enduring brand identity.
A Swarovski Zirconia piece has a high hardness and durability rating, and is rated between 8 and 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that just like a cubic zirconia piece, it's highly resistant to scratches and damage, making it an excellent choice for everyday pieces of jewellery.
When the eponymous Swarovski brand was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, the aim was to create an affordable diamond ("a diamond for everyone") and to make sparkly jewellery accessible not just to royalty or the wealthy, but to the everyday middle classes. Today, even as Swarovski's patented manufacturing methods remain world-class and industry-leading, the price of a Swarovski zirconia piece is considerably less than that of a real diamond.
Swarovski Zirconia vs. Cubic Zirconia: Key differences
So, what are the main differences between a Cubic Zirconia piece and Swarovski Zirconia? Let's take a look:
While Swarovski uses a patented glass-cutting method to manufacture their crystals, Cubic Zirconia is made by melting zirconium and zirconium dioxide at a very high temperature.
Cubic zirconia pieces are typically more expensive to purchase, which is in part due to their manufacturing methods, as well as the materials used to craft the imitation diamond. Swarovski uses their own patented manufacturing methods to create the Swarovski Zirconia, which helps them keep production costs lower. If you’re a jewellery maker and wondering where to buy Swarovski crystals, do note that there are only a few Swarovski-approved wholesalers to choose from.
Which is better, Cubic Zirconia or Swarovski zirconia?
When it comes to choosing between Cubic Zirconia or Swarovski zirconia, there isn’t really a definitive answer; it ultimately depends on your aesthetic preferences. Both are highly durable, both are able to imitate a diamond’s optical refractions, and both are almost visually indistinguishable from a real diamond - at least to the untrained eye. However, if you’re looking for something with precision-cut sparkle and durability - as well as a stone made by one of the world's leading brands in crystal pieces - then Swarovski zirconia could be a perfect choice.
Check out our most popular Swarovski Cubic Zirconia Stones