The differences between lab-created diamonds and zirconias
The similarities between zirconias and diamonds have always been patent to the eyes of any jewellery lover, although they differ in their properties and qualities. The biggest distinction that could be found before was that diamonds came from earth whereas zirconias were created in laboratories, but with the appearance of lab-created diamonds the doubt was revived: what is the real difference between these two created stones?
Their creation process
The zirconia or zircon is a lab-created stone. Its variants that can be found in nature are zircon crystals, but most of the time they have a lot of damage. Its use began as the imitation of diamonds for the jewellery industry.
Lab-created diamonds, on the other hand, are real diamonds that are achieved via the recreation of the climatic conditions and those of the Earth’s interior necessary for their development. It was initially used in the industry but step by step it found its place in ethical and sustainable luxury.
The main difference between these two minerals is that the process of creating a zirconia is significantly less complex than that of a diamond, as the first stone is achieved by chemically processing zirconium oxide (ZrSiO4) and the second one by recreating very specific climatic conditions inside a plasma reactor. This is why in the case of zircon we can talk about a “synthetic mineral”, whereas with diamonds we cannot, as they are always created in their natural conditions.
Next to the complexity of its creation comes its cost: producing diamonds has a far higher cost than producing zirconias. This facilitates the mass production of the latter, generating a stone much less exclusive and with a lower quality than diamonds, which are created in small and cared of qualities.
Hardness, conductivity and weight
Another one of the key differences among diamonds and zirconias is found in their hardness. Diamonds are the hardest materials ever found in the planet, as they can only be scratched by other diamonds, whereas zirconias, despite being hard, can be scratched by other minerals.
The Mohs scale is the most used hardness scale in geology: it consists of a list of ten minerals, from softest (talc) to hardest (diamond). In this scale, the diamond occupies number 10 and zircon would be around number 8.
Regarding their thermal conductivity, the diamond is one of the best conductors to exist, so much so that an unlimited energy battery is being developed with them, whereas the zirconia is much denser than a diamond, being noticeable even on a hand.
Aesthetic properties: shine and cut
To the naked eye, a zircon shines more than a diamond: one of the most common proofs to distinguish them is immersing them in water, because doing so, the zirconia will practically disappear (becoming transparent) while the diamond can be easily distinguished, as it is more opaque.
However, zirconias tend to lose their shine and to wear out very frequently, whereas diamonds due to their hardness, cannot be scratched by other objects and they always preserve their shine.
It can also be seen in their cut: the borders of the faces of a zirconia are usually more sharp, while those of a diamond are softer and rounder, giving them a sweeter and more formal touch.
The outer beauty of both are unquestionable, but nothing equals the soul, elegance and immortality of an ethical diamond.
The beauty of David Locco’s lab-created diamonds
Now that you know the insurmountable differences between a sustainable diamond and a zirconia, discover the sustainable luxury of our firm.