Cubic Zirconia vs. White Sapphire

Cubic Zirconia vs. White Sapphire

Are you facing a dilemma in selecting the ideal gemstone for your engagement ring? Fear not, for you have stumbled upon the perfect destination!

Within this comprehensive educational compendium, I shall address the foremost inquiries concerning these widely acclaimed diamond substitutes, encompassing queries such as:

  • Which of the two is more suitable for regular, day-to-day usage?
  • What sets White Sapphire and Cubic Zirconia apart from each other?
  • Does Cubic Zirconia originate from human intervention in its creation?

Origin – White Sapphire vs Cubic Zirconia

White Sapphire

While it is true that natural white sapphires do exist, they are not commonly found in abundance. In the realm of the jewelry market, it is prudent to assume that the majority of white sapphires encountered are of the lab-created variety. However, if one were to explore specialized sapphire retailers such as Brilliant Earth and Leibish & Co., the likelihood of stumbling upon natural white sapphires increases.


Sapphires, encompassing a vibrant spectrum of hues, often elude the general public’s awareness, with blue sapphires being the most renowned, acknowledged as the birthstone for September. The origin of every colored sapphire can be traced back to a mineral known as corundum.

Initially colorless, corundum acquires its diverse range of colors due to the presence of various impurities. It is noteworthy that all shades of corundum, except for red, are classified as sapphires. Red corundum, on the other hand, is widely recognized as the precious gemstone ruby.

When corundum undergoes formation without any impurities infiltrating the process, white sapphire is born. However, as a natural gemstone, corundum often succumbs to impurities during its development. To ensure the absence of impurities, the controlled environment of a laboratory proves to be more reliable.

Within a laboratory setting, scientists employ two distinct methods to create sapphires: the melting process and the solution process.

The melting process utilizes a technique known as flame fusion, which was not only the first method employed but also the most cost-effective. In this process, aluminum oxide powder is subjected to a melting point using a flame.

As the molten substance cools and solidifies, it takes on the shape of a teardrop, aptly termed a boule. At this stage, the sapphire is colorless, allowing scientists to introduce various minerals to attain the desired colors for lab-created sapphires.

The process known as hydrothermal synthesis, also referred to as the solution process, closely mirrors the natural formation of sapphires.

Similar to the production of synthetic diamonds, a minute fragment of a genuine sapphire is introduced into a controlled chamber. By subjecting the chamber to elevated temperatures and pressures, an emulation of the geological conditions under which natural sapphires develop is achieved. Within this laboratory environment, the sapphire fragment triggers the growth of sapphire crystals as the solution within the chamber ascends.

Appearance – White Sapphire vs  Cubic Zirconia

White sapphire rings and cubic zirconia rings share the common trait of colorlessness akin to diamond rings, notable distinctions in their visual characteristics set them apart from both each other and genuine diamonds.

White Sapphire

At first glance, a white sapphire may appear transparent when observed in a jewelry display or through an online image. However, it lacks the ability to reflect a spectrum of rainbow-colored light.

The reflections emanating from a white sapphire project a shimmering effect that exhibits a predominantly silvery-white hue. This particular brilliance can sometimes impart a subtle grayish tint to the stone and create a slightly hazy appearance under certain lighting conditions.

Feel free to assess the brilliance and clarity of the showcased loose princess cut white sapphire from Brilliant Earth displayed below:

Upon observation, it becomes evident that the white sapphire exhibits a commendable level of clarity to the naked eye. However, when subjected to magnification, slight imperfections may become discernible. It is worth noting that superior-grade white sapphires of the highest quality (AAA) should not display any dark inclusions akin to those found in diamonds.

Take note of the stone’s lackluster visual allure, as it fails to emit captivating bursts of light. Personally, I must admit that this particular simulant does not rank among my favorites.

Cubic Zirconia

While white sapphire possesses a more understated allure, cubic zirconia, on the other hand, may prove to be a bit overwhelming for certain individuals. These stones exude a striking visual appeal, characterized by a multitude of iridescent hues. Although it falls short of the disco ball radiance exhibited by moissanite, cubic zirconia still boasts a considerable level of sparkle.

This enchanting effect can be attributed to the refractive indexes of gemstones. Gemologists rely on refractive indexes to ascertain the identity of unknown stones, while also providing insight into their brilliance.

Cubic zirconia, like its counterpart, maintains a flawless appearance, devoid of any clarity imperfections. However, lower quality cubic zirconia specimens may display minuscule bubbles within their structure.

Furthermore, cubic zirconia possesses the remarkable ability to be produced in a wide array of colors and shades, making it an ideal choice for affordable jewelry options.

In the absence of external illumination, it becomes evident that cubic zirconia exhibits superior clarity and color compared to white sapphire.

Price – White Sapphire vs Cubic Zirconia

The pricing of gemstones, whether they are of natural origin or created in a laboratory, inevitably varies.

Nevertheless, it is generally safe to assume that the cost of a natural white sapphire or a lab-created white sapphire will exceed that of a loose cubic zirconia. This assessment solely pertains to the stone itself, as prices will undergo significant fluctuations depending on the material chosen for the ring setting.

Cubic Zirconia

If you’re in the market for a cz engagement ring available on the vast platform of Amazon, you’ll come across a wider array of options that tend to be more affordable and commonly crafted from sterling silver or adorned with gold plating.

However, if you venture towards a specialized cz vendor such as Birkat Eylon, your exploration will lead you to discover exquisite cz engagement rings of exceptional caliber, expertly set in solid gold and platinum. Take a moment to observe the notable variations in price between these two cubic zirconia engagement rings:



A remarkable distinction, wouldn’t you agree? It is worth noting that cubic zirconias do not adhere to the conventional grading system akin to that of diamonds, which evaluates them based on the 4Cs.

When it comes to assessing the quality of colored gemstones, they are assigned grades ranging from A to AAA. In the case of cubic zirconia, the grading scale expands from A to AAAAA, reflecting an even greater spectrum of excellence.

The Birkate Lyon solitaire engagement ring, boasting a remarkable 2 carat cubic zirconia, is renowned for its unparalleled AAAAA quality. On the other hand, the counterpart available on Amazon is classified as AAA, denoting a slightly lower grade in comparison.

White Sapphire

When it comes to white sapphires, the price disparity between lab-created and natural ones is quite significant. However, it’s worth noting that the cost can also vary depending on the type of jewelry setting.

Finding lab-created white sapphires crafted in high-quality materials such as solid gold or platinum can be more challenging. Generally, you’re more likely to come across them in artisanal jewelry marketplaces like Etsy.

Retailers like Kay, Jared, and Zales offer white sapphires in larger carat weights set in sterling silver, typically priced at a maximum of $150.

Conversely, loose natural white sapphires can cost up to ten times that amount, as demonstrated by Brilliant Earth. The price tends to increase further with the inclusion of a gemologist’s certification.

Treated natural white sapphires usually fall within the range of $500 to $1000 on average. Untreated white sapphires, specifically one-carat sapphires, can be priced around $1000 to $1500. However, it’s important to consider that prices can fluctuate based on factors such as quality, designer reputation, and the chosen ring setting.

Unlike diamonds, sapphires lack a definitive standard comparable to the 4Cs. Some establishments may classify colored gemstones using clarity grades similar to diamonds, while others employ a rating system ranging from A to AAA, with AAA denoting the highest quality.

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Value – White Sapphire vs Cubic Zirconia

It is evident beyond doubt that when it comes to white sapphire, regardless of whether it is lab-grown or naturally formed, it tends to carry a higher price tag compared to cubic zirconia. This fact holds true even for top-quality cubic zirconia.

However, the value of a gemstone cannot be solely determined by its price. The significance of the center stone in an engagement ring extends far beyond its monetary cost.

One crucial aspect to consider when selecting an alternative to a diamond engagement ring is the gemstone’s hardness rating.

All minerals and gemstones adhere to the Mineral Scale of Hardness, commonly known as the Mohs scale. At the pinnacle of this scale, with a rating of 10, lies the hardest substance known to mankind: the diamond. This includes lab-grown diamonds as well, as they possess the same physical properties as naturally occurring diamonds.

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mohs hardness scale

One common error customers tend to make when assessing the hardness level of a gemstone is mistakenly associating it with the overall durability of the stone, particularly in terms of its susceptibility to chipping.

The truth is, any gemstone has the potential to chip if subjected to a sufficiently forceful impact in the right area.

The hardness of a gemstone primarily pertains to its resistance against scratches. However, it is not limited to accidental scratches alone. Even the accumulation of everyday airborne particles, such as dirt and dust, can gradually wreak havoc on an engagement ring, even if you diligently clean it on a weekly basis.

As natural minerals, these particles have the ability to deform the gemstone’s surface, leading to the occurrence of scratches. Sapphire jewelry, for instance, boasts a hardness rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, whereas cubic zirconia falls within the range of 8-8.5. Moreover, alternative diamond substitutes like white topaz and white zircon exhibit even lower ratings on the hardness scale.

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In terms of regular usage, white sapphire engagement rings offer superior durability compared to cubic zirconia engagement rings.

Apart from longevity, certain customers also consider the sentimental value of passing down the piece to future generations. However, cubic zirconia engagement rings and wedding rings hold minimal resale value, unless you intend to sell them on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Mercari.

Similarly, lab-created white sapphires lack significant resale value. Most items produced in a laboratory face challenges in the jewelry market since they can be reproduced effortlessly.

RECOMMENDED: Lab Created White Sapphire vs Diamonds

The same principle applies to lab-created diamonds. Even the most impeccably cut diamonds can only fetch a fraction of their initial cost when resold. Consequently, numerous online diamond retailers exclusively offer trade-in or upgrade policies for their naturally mined diamonds.

In terms of value, untreated natural white sapphires command the highest prices, although one should not anticipate receiving more than 20% of their original value when selling them.

Interestingly, the jeweler is likely to place greater importance on the white gold ring setting rather than the center stone, be it a cubic zirconia or white sapphire.

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However, if that aspect is not of concern to you, then you need not fret about it.

Final Thoughts – White Sapphire vs Cubic Zirconia

Determining the superior diamond substitute becomes an intriguing quest: white sapphire or cubic zirconia? In this confrontation, our preference unequivocally leans towards white sapphire. Although personally, I do not perceive it as a flawless diamond imitation, I favor possessing a genuine precious stone rather than an artificial counterpart.

Allow me to present additional compelling grounds that might sway your inclination towards white sapphire:

  • White sapphires exhibit an exceptional ability to repulse dirt and dust, surpassing the performance of cubic zirconia.
  • White sapphires boast superior quality attributes that elevate their standing above cubic zirconia.
  • The prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the eminent authority on gemstones worldwide, offers certification for white sapphires.
  • White sapphires possess remarkable durability, rendering them ideal for enduring daily usage.
  • The occurrence of white sapphires can transpire through natural processes or lab cultivation.
  • The likelihood of discovering white sapphires embedded in gold or platinum settings is notably higher.
  • White sapphires inherently possess value, while cubic zirconia lacks such intrinsic worth.
  • Sapphires, including white sapphires, exhibit enhanced resistance to scratches when compared to cubic zirconia.

Nevertheless, irrespective of these factors, it is crucial to select the gemstone that best aligns with both your circumstances and financial means.

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