Diamond accent vs cubic zirconia

Diamond accent vs cubic zirconia DEFAULT

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Bottom Line Recommendation: Cubic zirconia and diamonds may look similar at a distance, but differ drastically in beauty, quality and value. For a stunning engagement ring that will last a lifetime, we recommend choosing a real diamond over cubic zirconia. While you can find a cubic zirconia ring like this on Amazon for a fraction of the cost of a beautiful 3 Carat diamond ring, the diamond is a far superior option. To find a high-quality, excellently priced diamond within your budget, contact us for a complementary search and expert advice.

Your best option if you are looking for a more affordable option is to go with lab-grown diamond from a reputable company like James Allen or Clean Origin. Take a look at this stunning one carat diamond from Clean Origin for example. This allows you to save a considerable amount of money compared to a natural diamond without sacrificing brilliance and beauty the way you do with cubic zirconias.

While the two stones carry some resemblance, cubic zirconia and diamonds differ significantly in physical structure, beauty and value. Before deciding on an engagement ring or other fine jewelry, be sure to understand the key differences. Our guide offers a full comparison of cubic zirconia vs diamonds—for everything from beauty and brilliance to cost and durability.

What is Cubic Zirconia?

Cubic zirconia is a colorless, synthetic gemstone made of the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. Cubic zirconia can appear in nature within the mineral baddeleyite, although it’s extremely rare. In all cubic zirconia jewelry, the gemstones are exclusively lab-created.

Often regarded as an inexpensive diamond alternative, cubic zirconia is distinct in its aesthetic qualities and physical structure because it’s lab-grown—whereas natural diamonds are beautiful, naturally occurring gemstones.

Cubic Zirconia Solitaire Engagement Ring

How is Cubic Zirconia Made?

Cubic zirconia is made by melting zirconium oxide powder with stabilizers like magnesium and calcium at 4,982ºF. After being removed from hours of heat, crystals form and stabilize. The crystals are then cut and polished. Each lab has its own specific methods for making cubic zirconia.

Cubic zirconia can mimic various Diamond Shapes, such as Cushion Cut and Oval Cut diamonds. Colored versions of cubic zirconia are also available.  


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Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond: Value

Cubic zirconia is significantly cheaper than diamonds. For example, a 1 Carat Round Cubic Zirconia engagement ring sells for $13.99, while a similar 1 Carat Diamond engagement ring from James Allen that’s well-cut goes for $3,630. As another example, a 1.5 Carat Princess Cut cubic zirconia ring can retail for $37, whereas a 1.4 Carat Princess Cut diamond ring from James Allen (with excellent Clarity, Cut and Color) costs $9,815. As Carat weight increases, the price gap only becomes larger. For instance, a 3 Carat cubic zirconia ring may sell for $190, while a 3 Carat Diamond ring with acceptable Cut, Clarity and Color is selling for $25,185 with James Allen.

From a value standpoint, cubic zirconia is worth next to nothing. If you were to try and resell a cubic zirconia engagement ring, you could perhaps retain some value for the setting. The cubic zirconia gemstone—just like other diamond simulants—carries no market value.

A diamond, on the other hand, does retain some of its market value, although we are upfront with readers that a diamond isn’t an investment. Unlike cubic zirconia, though, diamonds can also be passed down for generations as a family heirloom and keepsake. Diamonds carry a certain prestige because they are stunning, natural gemstones with a timeless appearance. Overall, a diamond’s price and value are dependent on its 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat). These elements work together to form the beauty and brilliance of the stone.

While price differs significantly between diamonds and cubic zirconia, it’s essential to realize that so do the physical features, quality and beauty. In this case, a lower price does not mean a better value or deal.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Diamonds and Cubic Zirconia?

The best way to tell a cubic zirconia from a diamond is to look at the stones under natural light: a diamond gives off more white light (brilliance) while a cubic zirconia gives off a noticeable rainbow of colored light (excessive light dispersion). The excess light dispersion is a key sign that the stone is not a diamond. 

Sterling Silver Three-Stone Cubic Zirconia Ring

There are several other ways to tell the difference between diamonds and cubic zirconia, including looking at their physical, chemical and, visual properties. Knowing the differences will help you make the best decision when designing and purchasing jewelry.

Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond: Beauty and Brilliance

The quality that most greatly affects a diamond’s beauty is its Cut—which impacts how much light reflects through the diamond’s table to your eyes. White light reflection is referred to as brilliance and colored light reflection is called fire.

Cubic zirconia contains no true brilliance or fire. It has a much lower refractive index—between 2.15 – 2.18, compared with 2.42 for diamonds. Light passes through cubic zirconia much differently—offering significantly less reflection back to the eye. By simply looking at the two gemstones under a light, you can tell the immense difference in light reflection. This stunning 0.8 Carat diamond ring from James Allen, for example, will radiate more brilliance than any cubic zirconia—no matter the size.

Cubic zirconia also has a higher dispersion rate (between 0.058–0.066 compared with 0.044 of diamonds). The increased dispersion causes the CZ stone to have a “rainbow effect”—meaning it reflects too much colored light. The excess dispersion of light makes it easy to spot as a fake diamond.

Another difference between the stones is that cubic zirconia’s refractive index is 2.15–2.18, compared with a diamond’s refractive index of 2.417 – 2.419. A diamond’s refractive index is higher because light travels faster through the stone back to your eyes. A refractive index isn’t a measure that’s used to evaluate a diamond. While cubic zirconia and diamonds differ in the refractive index, it’s not a critical component to consider.

Overall, cubic zirconia is no comparison to the unmatched beauty and brilliance of a diamond.

Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond: Durability and Density

As the hardest naturally-occurring mineral in the world, diamonds rate a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Diamonds are incredibly durable and resilient—making them ideal for engagement rings and everyday wear. Diamonds maintain their sparkle and beauty with minimal maintenance.

Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, ranks an 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Because it’s a synthetic material, it offers some durability. It can be worn in jewelry, but will certainly not have the longevity of a diamond. For example, cubic zirconia becomes scratched and cloudy over time.

Cubic zirconia is also slightly denser than diamonds. A jeweler or gemologist can easily distinguish a CZ stone from a diamond by weighing it on their scale. A 1 Carat Diamond Ring, like this one from James Allen, will likely appear slightly larger than a 1 Carat cubic zirconia, depending on the gemstone’s shape.

Cubic zirconia can cut glass or scratch it, just like a diamond can. That’s why scraping the stone against glass isn’t a good test to see if the stone is a diamond. Both faux diamonds and real diamonds can scratch the surface. Some people used to think this was a good test, but it’s actually not a valid method.

Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond: Clarity and Color

Because cubic zirconia is made in a lab, it lacks the natural imperfections that diamonds have. A flawless diamond is incredibly rare and, thus, incredibly expensive. While some may regard cubic zirconia as flawless, they’re usually considered “too perfect” or fake-looking.

If you’re looking for a diamond, we recommend finding one that’s eye clean—meaning you can’t see blemishes and inclusions with the naked eye. Depending on the Carat weight, this generally means opting for a VS1 or VS2 Clarity grade. While you could choose a higher Clarity grade, you’ll be paying for a feature that will go unnoticed. By selecting an eye clean diamond, like this VS2 Cushion Cut from James Allen, you’ll have a stone that looks practically perfect to the naked eye.

Six-Prong Hand-Engraved Diamond Engagement Ring

When it comes to Diamond Color, we recommend finding a diamond that appears white in relation to its setting. Based on your Diamond Shape and the type of setting, we generally recommend looking for a diamond in the G to I range, like this stunning Princess Cut halo ring from James Allen. Cubic zirconia is considered colorless because it’s manufactured that way. These synthetic stones, however, often reflect an orange-tinted light, which is another clear indicator that it’s not a real diamond.

Is Cubic Zirconia Real?

Cubic zirconia is a real, man-made gemstone. It’s a crystalline form of zirconium dioxide that’s hard and colorless. But cubic zirconia should not be considered a diamond under any scenario by both experts and non-experts. For many reasons—from chemical properties to brilliance and color—the two stones are entirely different.

Diamonds are naturally found, formed of the hardest material, and possess extraordinary beauty. Cubic zirconia is lab-created. The stones lack brilliance and lasting beauty.

Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamond

Cubic zirconia and diamond are two distinct stones, even though they may look similar from afar. Cubic zirconia are synthetic, colorless gemstones that don’t offer any brilliance. Diamonds are natural, stunning gemstones found beneath the earth’s surface. When cut well, diamonds showcase tremendous brilliance and fire. 

Not only does beauty and physical composition differ greatly in cubic zirconia vs. diamond, so does the value. Cubic zirconias are very inexpensive but also have no resale value. While diamonds shouldn’t be considered an investment, they maintain value over time—usually at least 50% of what you bought it for. Diamonds are highly sought after gemstones that are popular for engagement rings and other fine jewelry.

Because diamonds and cubic zirconia are unmistakably different in beauty and quality, we don’t recommend cubic zirconia jewelry. As diamond experts, we can help you find a stunning diamond at an excellent price.

Contact us today if you’d like to begin a complimentary search. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know—keeping in mind your budget and unique desires.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cubic Zirconia

Here we answer the most common questions about cubic zirconia jewelry.

Is cubic zirconia good?

Cubic zirconia is a very cheap, synthetic option for jewelry, but it’s not recommended for engagement rings and fine jewelry. Cubic zirconia won’t hold up well over time, and it won’t offer nearly as much beauty as a diamond or colored gemstone.

Can you get cubic zirconia wet?

You can get cubic zirconia wet, but repeated exposure to water will damage the stone. It’s best to take off cubic zirconia jewelry when doing water-related activities like washing dishes, bathing, and swimming. If you wear your jewelry for years doing these activities, the quality of the cubic zirconia will deteriorate. Elements in the water can impact your stone, such as chlorine, saltwater, and certain minerals.

Are lab-created diamonds the same as cubic zirconia?

Lab-created diamonds are not the same as cubic zirconia. Lab-created diamonds are synthetic diamonds that mirror the same physical and optical properties of natural diamonds. For instance, lab-created diamonds consist of carbon atom structures just like natural diamonds. They give off brilliance and fire just as natural diamonds do. Cubic zirconia does not carry the same properties as diamonds, and they don’t provide brilliance and fire the same way diamonds do.

You are far better off with a lab grown diamond than you are with a cubic zirconia. It is much more affordable than a natural diamond but you are still getting the timeless beauty and incredible brilliance of a diamond. Take a look at this stunning 1 carat lab grown diamond from Clean Origin. This is a perfect compromise between a cubic zirconia and a natural diamond.

How long does cubic zirconia last?

Cubic zirconia lasts two to three years with everyday wear, as long as you clean and care for your jewelry. With occasional wear, cubic zirconia can last up to five years. Over time, cubic zirconia usually gets scratched and becomes cloudy.

Does cubic zirconia rust?

Cubic zirconia does not rust, but the jewelry setting can. Inexpensive metals such as brass, gold-plated alloys, and sterling silver often rust over time due to exposure to oxygen in the air and water.

Does cubic zirconia get cloudy?

Cubic zirconia gets cloudy over time due to scratches, soap and mineral residue, dirt, and exposure to oxygen in the air and water. You can clean your cubic zirconia with soapy water and a soft cloth. Depending on why your gemstone is cloudy, you may not be able to restore it to its original state.

About the author

Michael Fried

Michael Fried

Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, People, Money, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more.

Blue Nile Blue NileBlue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Blue Nile have generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to save $100 off engagement ring settings)

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What we love about them:

  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
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James Allen James AllenJames Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online. Save 10% off select Lab Grown Diamonds

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What we love about them:

  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
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  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Bottom Line Recommendation:

Choose your Diamond Accent shape based on personal preference, your center stone shape and the type of setting desired. For Color, consider accent diamonds that are 1-3 Color grades lower than the main stone, as long as they still appear colorless. This Round Brilliant Cut engagement ring from James Allen includes Diamond Accents that are of complementary Color to the center stone. For Clarity, we recommend any grade where the diamond is eye clean, and there is no reason to go any higher—or pay any more—than that.

When it comes to matching accents with your main stone, ensure the Color, size and style are complementary, like in this Round Cut Diamond in a pave setting from James Allen. For assistance with designing a ring and choosing the perfect side stones, contact our diamond experts.

What are Diamond Accents?

Diamond Accents refer to the small diamonds that are placed beside a larger stone in a jewelry piece. They are designed to enhance the overall beauty and brilliance of the piece of jewelry.

They add style, elegance and personality to a wide range of Diamond Shapes and ring settings. The Diamond Accents in this Round Cut Diamond from James Allen are prime examples of side stones bringing extra volume and sparkle to a ring. The side stones in this 18K white gold ring from James Allen show how Diamond Accents complement various Diamond Shapes like the Princess Cut.

Accents are generally chosen based on personal preference, though the shape, size, color and quality impact the overall beauty of the ring.

Are Diamond Accents Real Diamonds?

Diamond accents are indeed real diamonds. While the term accent is used for this type of stone, they are still real diamonds, graded on the same characteristics as diamonds used for a center stone. Diamond accents have a Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat grade the same as all diamonds. They just tend to be smaller than other kinds of diamond, and thus less valuable individually.

Types of Diamond Accents

In most cases, Diamond Accents are found in Baguette, Trillion Cut or small Round Diamond shapes. These designs best complement different types of centerpiece diamonds while maintaining a reasonable price point.

Baguette Diamonds

The Baguette is an ideal accent stone because of its large table size and appealing symmetry. Classic in appearance, Baguettes are often available in smaller Carat weights and can be arranged next to other Baguettes to create a row of diamonds. Its step cuts provide a contrast to other Diamond Shapes generally used as a center stone, like a Round Cut or Cushion Cut. Baguettes tend to have less brilliance (i.e. sparkle) than Small Round Diamond Accents and Trillion Cut Accents.

Tapered Baguette


A Tapered Baguette has a modified rectangular shape because one end of the diamond is wider than the other like in this 14K white gold Tapered Baguette and Princess engagement ring from James Allen.

Often used to follow the curve of a jewelry setting, Tapered Baguettes provide a classic look while adapting to the particular style and shape of the ring. For example, this Emerald engagement ring from Blue Nile shows how a Tapered Baguette acts as an elegant and timeless Diamond Accent while also being unique.

Tapered Baguettes are popular especially in Side Stone and Three Stone settings. They complement almost all Diamond Shapes, including Round Brilliant Cuts, Emerald Cuts, Radiant Cuts and Princess Cuts.

Straight Baguette


Straight Baguettes are almost perfectly rectangular, unlike the Tapered Baguettes, and are equal in width across the stone’s length. They provide symmetry to a ring and often appear larger than other diamonds of an equal Carat weight due to their substantial table size.

As accents, Straight Baguettes can be arranged alongside a larger center stone or placed adjacent to each other in a row, providing the appearance of a full diamond band like in this channel set Baguette Diamond ring from Blue Nile.

The Straight Baguette can complement a range of Diamond Shapes, though it’s most commonly used to accent Round Brilliant, Marquise and Asscher Cuts.

Trillion Cut Diamonds


Distinct and full of personality, Trillion Cut Diamonds embody a triangular shape. The unique shape is a divergence from the more common round, square and rectangular accent diamonds. Trillions are complementary as side stones because they bring attention to the main stone without overpowering the piece. They also easily follow the natural curve of a ring, like in this stunning 18K white gold three stone pave diamond ring from James Allen. Due to their immense table width, Trillion Cuts tend to look larger than other stones of the same Carat weight.

Trillion Cut Diamonds work best as accents in a Three Stone setting with Round Brilliants like in this beautiful 14K white gold diamond ring from James Allen, or Cushion Cuts like in this exquisite 18K white gold ring from James Allen. Trillions also pair well with other Diamond Shapes like the Princess and Radiant Cut.

Small Round Diamonds


Small Round Diamonds are simple and stunning accents. Their classic round design makes them an excellent match for every Diamond Shape and are well placed in Three Stone, Side Stone, Pave or Channel settings.

Three categories of Small Round Diamonds exist. They are referred to by the following nicknames:

  • “Stars” = 0.02 Carat or less
  • “Full Cuts” = 0.02-0.07 Carat (Referred to as “Full Cuts” to distinguish themselves from “Single Cuts” which are no longer used)
  • “Melee” = 0.08-0.18 Carat

Each Small Round Diamond has the full number of facets for a Brilliant Cut: either 57 or 58. In the past, Single Cut Small Round Diamonds were cut with only eight main facets, but these are no longer used in the jewelry world.

Small Round Diamonds provide extra sparkle, personality and elegance to rings, necklaces and bracelets. Using Small Round Diamonds as accents, a ring can be designed to match the unique style and taste of the wearer.

In Channel setting rings, Small Round Diamonds create a row of vibrant sparkle while highlighting the main stone (if there is one). Channel settings tend to be thicker—and Small Rounds do an exceptional job lighting the jewelry piece, like in this Round Cut 14K gold channel setting from James Allen.

For Pave settings, Small Round Diamonds stand out and add extra brilliance as there is less setting material than in Channel Settings. Depending on the style and size of your Small Rounds, your ring may appear like it is a band filled with diamonds, like this Radiant Cut 14K white gold ring on James Allen.

Diamond Accent Prices

Diamond prices are often tied to the Carat weight, so since diamond accents carry such a low weight, they are less valuable than one you would use as a center stone. You can also afford to go with lower grades in some categories with accents, so this brings the price down too.

Accent diamonds are not often sold on their own to consumers. They are most commonly used by jewelers, who purchase them wholesale hundreds at a time. Thus it’s rare to see accents priced individually. Instead, they will be priced per carat. A common price for diamond accents with an average grade in color and clarity is around $300-400 per carat, rising up to around $1,000 per carat for high-quality cuts.

Matching Accent Diamonds

In addition to choosing the shape and style of your Diamond Accents, you’ll want to match them aesthetically to your main stone.

When matching accent diamonds, Color must be considered. Differences in one Color grade (i.e. G to H) are often hard to notice with the naked eye. For example, an H Color will generally appear the same as a G Color, even though the price may differ significantly.

The eyes are also naturally drawn to the center diamond due to its larger surface area and greater reflection of light. For this reason, we generally recommend choosing accent diamonds that are 1-3 Color grades lower than the main diamond—while still ensuring the accent diamonds appear colorless.

When it comes to Color, your center stone should appear the most colorless. In the two example images below, Diamond A’s main diamond presents a yellow colored tint when contrasted with the better Color graded side stones. In Diamond B, the main stone appears colorless because the side stones have an equivalent or slightly less colorless appearance.


Depending on your center stone, you may be able to choose accents designated 1-2 Clarity grades lower than your main stone, though we recommend choosing Diamond Accents that are eye clean. There is no reason to choose a higher grade and pay more for something that will go unnoticed.

If your accent diamonds are small—such as 0.02 Carats or less—Clarity holds little importance. In this case, you may be able to go 2-4 Clarity grades lower than the main stone.

If you are designing your own ring, consider ordering Melee diamonds to match your specific design and center diamond. Use a site like Abe Mor to choose your details of Carat, Color and Clarity.

Carat Size of Diamond Accents

Diamond Accents generally range from 0.01-0.18 in Carat weight, chosen primarily on personal preference and how the accents look in the setting.

Three stone and side stone settings, for example, generally look balanced with accent diamonds that are approximately half the size of the main stone. When designing a three stone ring, be sure the diameters of the side stones approximately equal the table size of the center stone. The table size can be calculated by multiplying the dimensions of the center stone by its table percentage (which is listed on the lab certificate). This Princess Cut Diamond ring from James Allen is a prime example of sizeable accent diamonds in a three stone setting.

To determine the ratio or size comparison between the main stone and accent stones, utilize the outside diameter measurements of the stones or compare Carat weights. For assistance in calculating the ratio or choosing stones that are complementary in size, contact one of our diamond experts.

For Pave settings, smaller accents are generally more aesthetically pleasing due to the greater number of side stones that are used, like in this exquisite platinum pave setting diamond ring from James Allen. A solid rule for Pave settings is to choose Diamond Accents that are ⅙ or less the size of the center stone.

Similarly, a channel set will look sharper with smaller accent diamonds (⅙ or less the size of the center stone), like in this Round Cut Diamond 14K white gold ring from James Allen.

Only certain tension setting designs have accents. These settings hold the diamond in place by pressure exerted from the open ends of the ring, rather than using typical prongs. Diamond Accents are generally small with tension settings in order not to take away from the intricate design of the setting. This Round Cut Diamond with four accent stones in a 18K yellow gold tension setting from James Allen show how smaller accents can call attention to the center when using the right design.

In terms of overall design, the size of Diamond Accents often comes down to personal preference and offering the right balance to the ring. Certain designs lend well to smaller side stones, like a channel or pave settings. Other designs, like a three stone or side stone setting, appear more balanced when larger side stones are used. If you decide on two larger side stones, though, be sure they are almost identical in size and proportions.

Consider, too, the size of the wearer’s hand and how large the center stone will be. Your Diamond Accents shouldn’t be too small or too large in comparison.

Diamond Accents vs Diamonds

Diamond accents on their own don’t stand out. But when placed next to a larger center stone, they have the ability to either detract from it or elevate it. When looking at accents, always consider them in relation to the center diamond. 

Remember, it should accentuate the diamond it is next to. Focus on an exquisite center diamond before anything. After that, diamond accents should elevate the beauty and glamour of your ring to another level.

Our diamond experts can assist in choosing beautiful accent stones to balance both your ring and center diamond.

About the author

Michael Fried

Michael Fried

Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, People, Money, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more.

Blue Nile Blue NileBlue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Blue Nile have generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to save $100 off engagement ring settings)

Click to Visit

What we love about them:

  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
Arrow down
Arrow up

James Allen James AllenJames Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online. Save 10% off select Lab Grown Diamonds

Click to Visit

What we love about them:

  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
Arrow down
Arrow up

Still afraid of getting ripped off?

Before you buy a diamond, get personal buying advice from industry veterans. We'll help you get the best diamond for the money.

Ask your diamond purchase question here

DISCLAIMER: We don't use your email for marketing. Period.

Sours: https://www.diamonds.pro/education/accents/
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It can be difficult to make the distinction between diamond and cubic zirconia. Whether they’re used in an engagement ring or tennis bracelet, you might opt for one over the other because of the cost, cut, color, or quality of the gem. Aside from having completely different material makeups and crystal structures, they also each have multiple unique and specific visual characteristics. While the stone’s exact features depend on a variety of factors such as its physical integrity and quality, there are a few key ways to tell the two apart.

Light Dispersion and Refraction

Depending on the design of your ring and your own personal style, you might want a stone with a higher degree of fire or brilliance. This is determined by how light passes through the stone, and there is a sharp difference between cubic zirconia and diamond. Cubic zirconia is often more sparkly and fiery, whereas diamond is more brilliant. Also, cubic zirconia produces much more colored light than diamond. This can make the stone look even more stunning than a comparable diamond, but it also helps to give away its authenticity. This difference is even more obvious in larger stones. The flashy, glittering look of cubic zirconia is eye catching, but it can appear to be quite different from authentic diamonds.

Quality and Degree of Flawlessness

If you’re trying to save money on a diamond, opting to include a few extra imperfections can drastically lower the price without changing the appearance of the stone – at least to the naked eye. Plus, it is very rare for a natural diamond to be perfect so it isn’t a major deficit. But cubic zirconia, which is artificially made, is exclusively created to be flawless. This is one benefit of going with a lab-created stone. This is especially true if you want something with a higher carat weight. If you want to determine whether a stone is diamond or cubic zirconia, judging the quality is one way your jeweler can check.

Having a flawless or perfect stone can either advertise the impeccable quality of a top-notch diamond – or reveal that your stone is not a diamond. If you want to fool people, the smaller the better. But the sparkly, disco ball-like appearance of cubic zirconia is difficult to compare to a clear, brilliant diamond that is free from imperfections.

Difference Between Cubic Zirconia vs. Diamonds

Material Characteristics and Hardness

When jewelry shopping, you might be intrigued or deterred depending on the amount of upkeep a piece will require over time. Hardness is an important factor to consider when you’re predicting how much maintenance, cleaning, and wear and tear you can expect to need. Diamonds are considerably harder than cubic zirconia, which makes them more resistant to scratching, clouding, and overall signs of use. Consequently, a diamond piece would likely require far less attention and care than a comparable cubic zirconia piece.

Although cubic zirconia is more susceptible to damage, it is more dense and heavy than a diamond. This doesn’t always lead to a dramatic difference in size, but it can be noticeable depending on the shape and carat weight of the stone.

Difference in Cost

One of the main reasons why people would prefer cubic zirconia over diamonds is the dramatic difference in price. What would cost you less than $100 in cubic zirconia could cost you more than $9,000 if you swapped the stone for a diamond. For this reason, it’s a popular option for people who want a large, head-turning stone without spending thousands of dollars.

When it comes to fancy colored diamonds, the margin is even wider. There isn’t a major difference in price for fancy colored or white cubic zirconia, but a fancy colored diamond could easily be double the price of a similar, white diamond. If you’re looking for a colorful stone, cost might be even more of a crucial factor for you.

Cubic Zirconia and Lab-Created Diamonds

Cubic zirconia is often compared to synthetic diamonds, but there are some major differences to take into consideration before purchasing one or the other. Synthetic diamonds are created with the same properties as natural diamonds, so they share the same spectrum of durability, hardness, and fire. Even though you have a bit more control when you choose a synthetic diamond over a natural one, man-made diamonds are still more brilliant but less fiery than cubic zirconia.

If you’re comparing quality and appearance, synthetic and natural diamonds are almost interchangeable. So, they are also completely separate from cubic zirconia stones. Though they are both artificially created, cubic zirconia has nearly as many differences with lab-made diamonds as it does with diamonds that were found in nature.

Durability and Maintenance

Upkeep is an important part of owning any piece of jewelry, and all stones are not created equally. When it comes to longevity and overall strength over time, diamonds perform much better than cubic zirconia. True diamonds are incredibly hard and strong, making them resistant to a lot of the wear and tear that other materials are susceptible to. While you might want to polish or clean your stone after it’s seen some use, cubic zirconia is a much softer material that is easier to scratch and scuff. This also causes the stones much more sensitive to dirt, oils, or even lotions than diamonds. To maintain the stone’s shine and appearance, you could expect zirconia to require much more care and attention than a similar diamond.

Which One is Better?

Diamond and cubic zirconia share a few key characteristics, but they vary greatly in terms of quality, longevity, and price. For a long-lasting piece that can withstand generations of use without much maintenance, diamonds are the clear winner. If you’re looking for an inexpensive stone that’s still shiny, beautiful, and timeless, cubic zirconia might be the better choice. The amount of care, money, or time you want to put into your jewelry can be a good way to determine what you really need.

Before choosing your stone, really consider your expectations and what you plan to get from your necklace, ring, or bracelet. From far away, the differences are minor; but, ultimately including a diamond versus a cubic zirconia stone can completely transform your piece.

Sours: https://blog.brilliance.com/diamonds/whats-the-difference-between-cubic-zirconia-vs-diamonds
Moissanite vs Diamond. Moissanite rings

Diamond Accents: What They Are and How to Buy Them

What Are Diamond Accents?

Accent diamonds, more popularly known as diamond accents, are stones that are small and have a simple cut. They are often used as a side decoration around the center stone of a ring or another piece of jewelry and can increase its overall brilliance.

Diamond ring

Diamond accents are often used as a side decoration around the center stone of a ring.

Diamond accents usually have a rectangular (or trapezoid), triangular (trillion cut) or round shape.

Because they are small and less visible, these diamonds are not cut with the full number of facets as is the case with normal-size stones.

For example, round cut accent diamonds have only 16 to 18 facets and are called “single cut”, whereas bigger stones are “full cut,” i.e. they have 58 facets.

Click here to take a look at different ring settings with diamond accents and their prices — the side stones you can see on these rings are usually less than 0.1-0.2 carats each.

Carat of Diamond Accents

Diamond accents usually do not go over 0.25 carats in weight, and most of them are 0.10 carats or less.

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If your ring has accent stones that are supposed to look uniform, make sure they are close in size – the diamonds can never match perfectly, but they should create such an impression when looked at from a normal distance with the naked eye.

Shopping tip: Try to find a piece of jewelry where the accent diamonds are big enough to enhance the appearance of the center stone but are also small enough to make it stand out.

Color and Clarity of Diamond Accents

Most accent diamonds have relatively low clarity – usually graded SI (Slightly Included) or I (Included). This means that they will have some inclusions that can be easily seen under magnification and such stones are cheaper than high-clarity ones.

However, since accent diamonds are small, their inclusions can hardly be seen with the naked eye, and that’s why jewelers pick such inexpensive stones for accents.

Accent diamonds’ color is usually in the Nearly Colorless grade. They are not completely colorless (such stones are very rare anyway), but their color is good enough to not make the setting and center stone look yellowish.

Related:Check out this selection of loose diamonds.

How to Buy Diamond Accents

When buying jewelry with accent diamonds, be sure to ask about their quality characteristics. Oftentimes, jewelers do not spend much time discussing accents if you do not ask explicitly.

If the diamond accents are bigger, it is also recommended that you look at them using a loupe. Make sure they are not damaged and do not have visible inclusions that can spoil the appearance of the jewelry.

Also, check if the color and clarity of the stones are consistent throughout – you don’t want a setting where you could see darker and lighter spots just because some of the accents are yellower and less clear than the others.

In general, pay more attention to the clarity of the diamond accents if they are larger. Shoot for SI clarity if the stones are around 0.10 carats or bigger.

As a rule, the color grade of the accent stones should not differ dramatically from that of the center diamond; otherwise, the contrast would be visible and not nice to look at. So, if the center stone’s color is graded G or H or higher, the diamond accents should not have a color grade lower than H.

Where to Buy Diamonds?

Disclosure: Some of the links on our site may help us earn affiliate commissions from advertisers. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more
Sours: https://www.jewelrynotes.com/diamond-accents-what-they-are-and-how-to-buy-them/

Accent cubic zirconia vs diamond

Diamond Accents: Are They Worth It?

In the world of diamonds and jewelry, there’s a lot of technicalities. Every stone placed in a piece has its own intent and meaning to the design. One of the best and most common ways to enhance these pieces is to use what are known as diamond accents.

In the Post

What Are Diamond Accents?

Diamond accents are stones in a piece that are placed to accompany a larger center stone. They embellish the piece, making the brilliance all the more stunning.

Diamond accents add more sparkle and enhance the beauty of your center stone. In jewelry-speak, you may hear them referred to as melee stones or diamond chips.

Diamond Accents center stone

Are diamond accents real?

For the most part, if a company is calling an accent stone a diamond, it should be real. Any of your famous jewelry designers that have accent stones should be genuine diamonds. However, certain places online are not that forthcoming.

Some places put CZ (cubic zirconia) stones to accompany a diamond, or the whole piece might be CZ, including the center stone.

Another type of accent stone that may claim itself as diamonds, is moissanite. Moissanite is a lab-created gemstone for the most part, because natural moissanite is extremely rare. It has a similar brilliance to the diamond, but it is not the same.

While moissanite is its own stone, it is often referred to or mistaken as diamonds, so it falls into the imitation diamonds category.

It is always best to look at the specifications of the piece, especially if you’re shopping online. While we’d love to say everyone out there is genuine, this is not the case. Looking at the specifications will show you the TDW (total diamond weight) and let you know how much of that piece includes diamonds.

Learn More: 

Moissanite vs Cubic Zirconia: Are They Diamonds?

The Differences among Cubic Zirconia, Diamond, White Sapphire and Moissanite

CTW and CTTW: Know Your Diamonds

Diamond accents vs imitation diamond accents

Sometimes, people will opt for imitation diamonds, such as CZ or moissanite. They are both cost-efficient, and most people can’t tell the difference by glance. Using imitation diamonds as accent diamonds will still make your piece sparkle, but the brilliance is no competition with a genuine diamond.

Plus, a genuine diamond is going to be more durable than a CZ or moissanite. The durability of a stone is measured on a scale called Mohs. A genuine diamond rates at 10 Mohs. A CZ rates around 8-8.25 Mohs and moissanite rates at 9.25 Mohs.

Cubic Zirconia Vs Diamond Vs Sapphire Vs Moissanite hardness

How Much Do Diamond Accents Cost?

The cost of diamond accents will vary from piece to piece. The price is dependent on how many accent stones are in the piece and the size of them. Another factor that will determine the price will be the brand of the ring.

For instance, a ring bought from an unknown jeweler that has 20x 2mm diamond accent stones will be cheaper than a super brand, such as Neil Lane. The ring could have the same amount of stones at the same time, but Neil Lane will charge more because of the company’s infamy and reputation.

It’s also difficult to determine the price of diamond accents because they are included in the price of a ring unless you’re getting it custom-made.

So, if you’re just buying a ring commercially from a jewelry store, you’re not going to know the exact price of those diamond accents. The cost is going to include the center stone, gold, and the accent diamonds in the total price.

Price of custom-made pieces with diamond accents

If you get a custom-designed ring or other pieces of jewelry, you can actually find out the cost of a diamond accent individually. The cost would entirely be dependent on the size and quality of the stone.

Diamond accents are intended to enhance the beauty of a center stone, not overshadow it. They are relatively small, though certain pieces allow for larger sizes. Most diamond accent sizes range between .010 – .18 in carat size. A piece may have just two diamond accents, while others have more. This is up to you and your personal preference when designing your custom jewelry.

Another factor that could increase the price of your diamond accents would be the quality of the stone. You’ll want to figure out what you would like the quality of the stone to be. And when we say quality, we’re talking about clarity.

Clarity is one of the biggest factors when determining the price of diamonds. The bigger the stone, the harder it is to get better clarity.

Because diamonds are not man-made, they have natural imperfections in them called inclusions. Ideally, you want a diamond with the least amount of inclusions, though the price can skyrocket if you want larger diamond accents.

The good news about smaller diamond accents is that because they are so small, none of the inclusions in the stones would be visible to the naked eye.

With a center stone or larger accent stones, you could spot inclusions by looking closely. Sometimes, you don’t even have to look closely. If there are visible inclusions and quite a few of them, your stone is likely to cost less.

Basically, if you want to put 15 small diamond accent stones around the band in a custom-made piece, then you don’t need a high clarity. Most retail jewelry stores’ diamond accent stones are a clarity of I2, which is a lot lower on the clarity grading scale than one would think.

Diamond Accents Clarity Chart

But because there are so many small stones, the inclusions are not noticeable, even though being an I2 clarity would indicate that there are visible inclusions.

If you were to take the same clarity of I2 and assign it to a 1ct center stone, then the diamond would be very low in clarity and likely much cheaper. But, it will have those bits of carbon throughout, and its brilliance will be impacted.

We’ll talk more about clarity later when we go to pick out diamond accents.

Are There Different Kinds of Diamond Accents?

Diamond accents generally come in four different cuts: the round, the baguette, the trillion, and the marquise. Don’t be surprised to see princess-cut stones as accent stones too. Any cut of diamond can be an accent, but those four are what you’re more likely to come across.

Round diamond accents

The most common diamond accent cut is going to be the round shape.  The round cut is a traditional and practical choice for both accents and center stone. One of the reasons why many choose this cut is because of how adaptable the stone is.

A round diamond accent can accentuate any center stone cut. Round stones are like your black shoes in the closet: goes well with anything.

Diamond Accents Round light

The round stone as an accent is cut differently than a round brilliant diamond center stone. Most center stones are what we call full-cut, meaning the stone has been cut with 52-58 facets. But a round diamond accent is cut with considerably fewer facets, more around 18-20. While we still want the accents to be sparkly and beautiful, they do not need as many facets as a center stone.

A round diamond accent can be used as side stones in a piece, but more often than not, they are used as melee stones.

Baguette diamond accents

Baguettes are another more common cut in diamond accents. They are one of the more interesting cuts, because you don’t see a baguette as a center stone. It is only a side stone.  

If you don’t know what a baguette diamond looks like, they are long in length and short in width, like a rectangle.

The facets within a baguette diamond are cut lengthwise, called step cuts. Step cut is a term to apply to develop the facets of a rectangular or square stone.  

Diamond Accents baguette light

The cuts in the stone are lined up parallel next to each other. Other cuts that have step cuts would include the emerald cut and Asscher cut. Baguettes have considerably fewer facets than the others, but they do go a long way.

Tapered baguette diamond accents

The tapered baguette is a little different than your regular baguette stone. While it still is cut almost the same as a traditional baguette, the ends are a little different. They are elongated diamonds, but the ends taper off in a trapezoid-style shape.

Diamond Accents tapered baguette

Baguette diamonds, while beautiful, are the most brittle cut of diamond, and a lot of times when they are channel set, they leave spaces between each stone. Baguettes have been a classic favorite of the 40s-90s age group.

Trillion diamond accents

A trillion-cut diamond accent is somewhat common. Trillion cut diamonds are diamonds that are shaped to a triangle with rounded edges.

Trillions are not too common in a jewelry store’s stock pieces, but are always offered in custom-design or mounting books.

These diamond accents are more commonly seen as two side stones, rather than in the melee area, or the center stone for that matter. A common practice is to take three small trillion accents and put them on both sides of the center stone.

Trillion cut stones have about 50 different facets and the way that they are cut makes the trillion one of the most radiant cuts. A one carat trillion stone looks bigger than another cut of the same size.

Trillion diamond accents look best when set next to an oval, radiant, or round brilliant stone.

Diamond Accents trillion

The downside of trillion diamonds, be it accents or otherwise, is they are prone to chipping. It’s not a bad cut or anything, but all diamonds can chip if they’re hit in the right spot. Trillion cut stones should be handled with care.

Marquise Diamond Accents

Marquise cut diamond accents are an oval-shaped stone that comes to a point at either end, similar to the shape when looking at one’s eye.

They are not a widely popular cut, but you also see these cuts more as diamond accents than center stones. However, you’re more likely to find a marquise center stone than a trillion one or a baguette.  

Marquise brilliant diamond accents have 58 facets, which make them one of the more sparkly cuts. Due to their shape, they also make the fingers look long and slender. A 1ct marquise will also look bigger than most of the popular shapes as well.

It is difficult to get a good cut of a marquise stone because there’s a lot of things that can go wrong when cutting it. It can have a dark spot shaped like a bowtie across the table of the diamond. In fact, most of the marquise will have this “bowtie”.

Diamond Accents marquise

The trick is to find one that is not as dark so it doesn’t detract from the brilliance. Some bowties are very subtle and others virtually non-existent.

How to Pick Out Diamond Accents


Now that you understand what diamond accents are and the different cuts they come in, you are ready to start picking them out. We talked a little about clarity before — the smaller the stone, the less need for a higher clarity. But just because you don’t necessarily need clearer stones, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them.

Even if your diamond accents are small, they still deserve the respect of a higher clarity. With a lower clarity of stone, they will not sparkle as strikingly as stones with a high clarity.

They will also have to be cleaned more if the diamond accents are a lower clarity. If you can afford it, you should definitely get the best clarity you can. It is worth saving for, if need be.

If you have multiple diamond accents, make sure they are all the same clarity. If they have different clarities, the brightness of the piece will be diminished and off-putting. It will appear unbalanced and detract from its beauty.


If you have a lot of diamond accents on your piece, make sure they are set correctly. While most store stock pieces are set correctly, this can be an important factor when picking out for a custom-made piece.


Prong-set diamond accents are held up by prongs. While sometimes you may find engagement rings with a platinum head and prongs to make sure the center stone stays in place, this isn’t usually true with accents. Traditionally, most pieces have prongs made of gold.

If a prong ever feels sharp or starts to catch on clothing or other fabrics, you need to get your prongs re-tipped. This ensures the chance of losing a diamond accent or worse, a center stone.

Diamond Accents Prong-set


Channel set diamond accents are into a channel, which consists of the top of the stone being lined between two bars of gold usually. They are soldered to the top and the bottom of the stone.

It is important to have a solid backing to channel set stones. There are some designs where you can see the stones in the channel from the inside of the band.

These designs are more likely to weaken and risk the chance of the stone falling out. With a solid backing, your loose stone could dislodge from its solder over time and just slide in the channel.

Diamond Accents Channel-set

No matter which style setting you choose, there is always a risk of stones becoming loose or falling out, more often with rings.  We don’t realize how hard we are on our hands throughout the day.

Without regular check-ins with a jeweler, you may not be aware of the condition of your jewelry. This is why many jewelry companies require you get your diamond jewelry checked for loose stones and prongs.

Regular check-ins ensure the best care for both your center stone and your diamond accents. ß

Are Diamond Accents Worth It?

Only you can determine the worth of diamond accents. You now know that diamond accents come in different shapes and sizes. A beautiful diamond accent will enhance the beauty of your center stone without overshadowing it.

Diamond accents are perfect for the person who wants to light up the room when they walk into it. An owner of a diamond accent appreciates the finer things in life and desires to make the world just a little more sparkly.

You might not be a fan of diamond accents if you appreciate the striking single beauty of a classic solitaire stone set in gold.

Are they worth it? Well, you’ll never know until you try. So, next time you’re near a jeweler, take a gander at the pieces with diamond accents. Try it on for size. Who knows? One look at that gorgeous glitter piece of fine jewelry, and you may never go back to a solitaire diamond again.

Sours: https://thewifechoice.com/diamond-accents/
Differences between Cubic Zirconia, Diamond, and Moissanite

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