Behind The Gems: Zircon VS Cubic Zirconia

Zircon vs. cubic zirconia.

Yes, there is a difference! And it’s definitely more than a few letters.

“Behind The Gems” is a monthly series that takes you on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of our signature collections. If you’re new to it, feel free to dive into the archives to get the full scoop!

And now, onto the comparison…

What is Zircon?

Zircon is a naturally occurring gemstone and part of the nesosilicates mineral group, together with the beryl and garnet families.

It is also one of the oldest minerals on Earth. So old, in fact, that samples found in Australia date back to over 4.4 billion years ago, making them older than… the moon!

Zircons can be found in all corners of the world, the notable sources being Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, Korea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam.

As jewellers, we love working with zircons as they are quite dense and, therefore, fairly drop-proof. This is particularly relevant when it comes to earrings, as clean edges could otherwise chip away during the manufacturing process.

Zircon also has a beautiful shine that can compliment any type of metal.

Photo credit: BangBangBlond

Colour-wise, zircon comes in many different versions, like yellow, red, green or blue, although it is worth noting that it is the purest when it is completely white.

Its colour is not an indicative of its worth, though: green zircon is the rarest and, therefore, the most expensive.

Traditionally, zircon has been the birthstone for the month of December.

And, if we’re looking back in time, somewhere along the middle ages it was believed that zircon had the power to aid sleep and bring prosperity and honour to its owner.

There’s no doubt about it: zircon has an impressively rich history and an undeniable staying power. If you want to snatch some of its glorious shine for yourself, here are a few options:


What is Cubic Zirconia?

Zirconia (cubic zirconia or CZ) is an artificially created material often used as a synthetic diamond replica.

The similarity of name to real zircon often leads to confusion among jewellery lovers. But the two are not to be mistaken.

Here at McFarlane Fine Jewellery we can definitely appreciate the use of cubic zirconia in costume jewellery. There’s a time and place for everything, isn’t there?

However, when it comes to our own pieces, we always use the real deal: zircon (or diamonds depending on the piece).

The slight variations in this beautiful gemstone ensure that every finished piece is truly unique.

Plus, its strength and unparalleled shine will speak for themselves time and time again.

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