What Is the Difference Between Cubic Zirconia and Cubic Zirconium?

Cubic zirconia
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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.


  • Fletcher, Andrew, ed. (1993). "7.7 Glass and Gemstones." Zirconia. 1 (3 ed.). ScienceDirect: Mitchell Market Reports.