Cubic zirconia engagement rings are an excellent, inexpensive alternative to traditional diamond engagement rings. Sometimes referred to as artificial or synthetic diamonds, cubic zirconia is a lab-created diamond substitute that carries many of the same qualities of diamonds, with only a few minor exceptions.
Most importantly, cubic zirconia does not have the same color as a diamond. Even perfectly crafted cubic zirconia will reflect light of various colors, though red and blue are most visible. Take a cubic zirconia engagement ring and a diamond engagement ring side by side and you’ll see very plainly how this prism effect creates an entirely different color experience than real diamonds. To many who aren’t familiar with the qualities of cubic zirconia engagement rings, this difference will be hard to spot. For the experienced cubic zirconia buyer—cubic zirconia is used in more than just engagement rings, and is often found in costume jewelry—the difference will be noticeable immediately.
So could you fool your future bride into thinking a cubic zirconia engagement ring is “the real thing?” Likely not. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t decide together to buy a cubic zirconia ring before the big day. In fact, a small but growing minority of engagement ring shoppers are purchasing cubic zirconia rings to save money, or to make a political statement. Unlike diamonds, CZ rings are produced in labs, not mined in Africa or in far-away government-less nations. Following a near revolt after couples found that it may have been enslaved labor that mined the gemstone found on their engagement ring, CZ rings have risen to the occasion.
There are a few things you should know before buying a cubic zirconia ring:
Grading Scale – Even in a laboratory setting, mistakes, errors, and misjudgments happen. Much like diamonds can be graded by a gemologist, a cz synthetic diamond is rated on a five step scale. The scale ranges from A to AAAAA, or 5A, with A being the least valuable and beautiful, and with 5A being the best possible CZ cut.
Strength – Where diamonds are the strongest gemstone on earth, cubic zirconia comes close, but still does not match the strength of a well cut diamond. Keep in mind that an engagement ring will likely be worn every day, so with frequent wearing will come wearing of your cz stone. A diamond, being the toughest material known to man, won’t ever encounter something sharp or tough enough to affect it. After only a few years of wear, your cz ring will definitely show more sign of wear and tear than a diamond. So consider the cost of replacing the cz stone in the future. By then you might decide that a diamond is right for you.
Price – Cubic zirconia stones of several carats can be had for less than $100. Compare that amount to a diamond and you’ll find that a cz ring is like getting a diamond ring 95% off. You might find that you can mix-and-match several smaller cz stones with a larger center diamond. The result will be a beautiful ring at a significant discount to a completely diamond ring.
In all reality, it is truly a shame that cubic zirconia rings have become such a divisive topic. Some say that a cubic zirconia engagement ring shows social responsibility and fiscal restraint—are you sure you wouldn’t rather spend the cash on a bigger, better, livelier wedding?—while others suggest that it shows a lack of investment into the relationship.
The fact of the matter is very simple; jewelry isn’t an investment. Used diamond rings regularly sell for less than their retail value, and they tend to appreciate slowly. Instead, you might find a cubic zirconia ring to be a better investment; the difference between a cubic zirconia engagement ring and a diamond ring is often enough to fully fund a down payment on your first home!