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White Sapphire vs. Cubic Zirconia

White Sapphire vs. Cubic Zirconia

One of the most significant steps in choosing an engagement ring is selecting the stone that will be the piece’s focal point. And where a diamond won’t do, you’ll be thrilled to discover white sapphire or cubic zirconia can both make glowing alternatives.

White sapphires and cubic zirconia both resemble diamonds in appearance, but there are some key differences to look for as you weigh your options. 

Here, we’ll guide you through the differences between white sapphire and cubic zirconia to help you arrive at a show stopping ring your true love will melt for.

What Is White Sapphire?

When we think of sapphires, we usually picture a brilliant blue sapphire gemstone. And while sapphires are often blue, the stone also comes in a variety of colors from pink to green—and even white.

All mined sapphires are made from a type of aluminum oxide and a few other trace elements like:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Titanium
  • Copper
  • Chromium

These elements constitute the mineral composition of each sapphire, and it’s this unique blend that determines each sapphire’s color.

What Is Cubic Zirconia?

So what is cubic zirconia exactly? Cubic zirconia is known as a diamond simulant. The difference between diamond vs cubic zirconia are few and while It looks like a diamond, it’s composed of zirconium dioxide rather than carbon.

Cubic zirconia came about in the 1970s, when scientists perfected the technique of growing individual cubic zirconia crystals. From there, fine jewelry companies began designing with them to offer diamond-like pieces at a more affordable price point.

White Sapphire vs Cubic Zirconia: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’re choosing a white sapphire engagement ring or a cubic zirconia, you’re probably wondering which diamond alternative is a better choice. Both white sapphire and cubic zirconia are less expensive than mined diamonds. Both are also colorless, lending them their dazzling appearance. But what are some other differences between these two luminous stones?

From how they’re sourced to their longevity, let’s take a look at four distinctions between white sapphire and cubic zirconia.


Whether it’s a mined diamond ring or a lab diamond ring, it’s important to understand how it was sourced. This is also true for cubic zirconia and white sapphire rings, and other gemstones as well. White sapphires and cubic zirconia took entirely different pathways to make it from their formation to the showroom:

  • White sapphire – White sapphires are naturally mined in many areas all over the world. Like cubic zirconia (and some diamonds), scientists can also create this precious stone in a laboratory setting.
  • Cubic zirconia – All cubic zirconia crystals are made in a lab by melting a combination of minerals at a temperature of 4,982ºF. After the crystals form and stabilize, they’re cut and polished into a variety of shapes and sizes to use with different types of fine jewelry.


Precious stones’ durability is typically ranked by the Mohs hardness scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest caliber stone. The harder a stone is, the less prone it is to incurring scratches and the better it will endure with time. 

Here’s how white sapphires and cubic zirconia measure up:

  • White sapphire – Coming in at a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, the white sapphire is a very sturdy stone and an excellent choice for everyday wear.
  • Cubic zirconia – Cubic zirconia has a hardness of 8 to 8.5 according to the Mohs scale. While they’re not as hard as white sapphires, they can be lifelong stones if you learn to care for them properly.


Although white sapphires and cubic zirconia are less expensive than diamonds, the two stones tend to weigh in at different price points:

  • White sapphire – The cost of white sapphire rings and other jewelry depends on their quality, size and whether they’re lab-created or mined naturally. A high-quality 1-carat sapphire typically costs between $800 and $1200.
  • Cubic zirconia – This manmade gemstone is an excellent choice for those looking for a magnificent ring at a friendly price. Because they’re made from synthetic materials, you can purchase a 1-carat cubic zirconia stone for just $20.

Between the two, cubic zirconia is significantly more affordable. For this reason, many couples favor cubic zirconia over white sapphire because it enables them to spend on pieces with a larger, more dazzling centerpiece stone.


Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by a friend’s megawatt engagement ring? You were probably mystified by its brilliance—the sparkle that occurs when light meets a precious stone.

Let’s see how white sapphire and cubic zirconia achieve that hypnotic glimmer:

  • White sapphire – The brilliance of each sapphire varies considerably. White sapphires that are very clear and pure will reflect more light, whereas murkier sapphires tend to exude less of a glimmer.
  • Cubic zirconia – Unlike natural sapphires, every cubic zirconia crystal has the same level of brilliance. Because they’re manmade, cubic zirconia gives designers more control over each stone’s shine. In many cases, cubic zirconia can exceed white sapphires’ brilliance because they tend to have a higher refractive index.

Match Them to The Perfect Stone with Nexus Diamond™

Seeking out the perfect engagement ring for your beloved should be an occasion to look forward to. Whether you gravitate towards white sapphire, cubic zirconia, or another precious mined diamond alternative stone, choose a piece that was sourced and designed with as much care as you’ll bring to the selection process.

Diamond Nexus offers a wide selection of lab-created diamond simulants that cost up to 90% less than mined diamonds. Not only are they more affordable, but they embody diamonds’ durability, brilliance and cut so you can give your love a ring they’ll both be proud to wear.

Find a once in a lifetime ring they’ll cherish forever by browsing our extensive collection today.


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