Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is the Difference Between Cubic Zirconia and Cubic Zirconium? Share Flipboard Email Print xelf/Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 05, 2019 Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between cubic zirconia and cubic zirconium? Cubic zirconia and cubic zirconium are not the same thing. The suffixes -ia and -ium make a big difference in the meaning of the terms. CZ is the abbreviated name given to the world's most popular diamond simulant, cubic zirconia. Cubic zirconia is manmade crystalline zirconium dioxide, ZnO2. Silica is another compound with the -ia suffix. Silica is silicon oxide, SiO2. The -ium suffix is used to refer to an element. In this case, the element is zirconium, which has atomic number 40 and element symbol Zr. Sometimes people mistakenly refer to CZ as cubic zirconium or they believe cubic zirconium is another name for the gemstone zircon. Zircon, crystalline zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4), exhibits tetragonal crystalline structure instead of cubic crystalline structure. There is no cubic zirconium. Source Fletcher, Andrew, ed. (1993). "7.7 Glass and Gemstones." Zirconia. 1 (3 ed.). ScienceDirect: Mitchell Market Reports.