Cubic zirconia

Beautiful. Durable. Guaranteed to sparkle. You’ll find cubic zirconia stones bringing the finishing touch to many Pandora pieces, from subtle pavé accents to statement stones in vivid colours.

Curious to learn more about this versatile stone? Read on to find out why it’s so well suited to jewellery designs and get some inspiration for styling your cubic zirconia pieces.

What is cubic zirconia?

Cubic zirconia is a man-made stone created in a controlled environment under intense heat. “Cubic” comes from the symmetry of its crystals, while “zirconia” refers to its chemical composition (zirconium oxide).

It was originally created in the 1970s for use in laser technology. But people quickly noticed that it looked almost identical to a diamond, so this sparkling stone soon started appearing on jewellery pieces.

Cubic zirconia scores an 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale , which means it’s highly durable. For comparison, diamonds sit at the top of the scale at a 10, while pearls are typically rated 2.5-4.

Most popular cubic zirconia jewellery

Cubic zirconia vs diamonds

Cubic zirconia was never made to mimic a diamond, but it quickly became known as a more accessible alternative to this iconic stone. It also has other benefits: the environmental cost of our cubic zirconia is just 0.002% of that of a mined diamond.

To the untrained eye, clear cubic zirconia stones look just like diamonds, but they’re not identical. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two materials:


As it’s created in a lab, cubic zirconia looks flawless, without any dents or imperfections on the surface. On the other hand, genuine mined diamonds are formed by nature over thousands of years and naturally come with flaws. By comparison, lab-grown diamonds are created by replicating nature’s process above ground and are optically, chemically, thermally and physically identical to mined diamonds, so they can also have flaws or “inclusions”.


Colourless diamonds are the most highly prized. They’re rated on a colour-grading scale of D to Z (D being the most colourless). Any colour grade above J looks completely clear to the naked eye. A clear cubic zirconia stone would fall within the “D” rating.

Cubic zirconia comes in many other colours, too. Metal oxides can be added to create almost any colour you can think of. At Pandora, we use a rainbow of coloured cubic zirconia stones, from icy blues to fiery reds and soft pinks.


Cubic zirconia stones have less brilliance than diamonds , which means they reflect less white light.

Pandora cubic zirconia jewellery

Cubic zirconia is our most widely used stone in Pandora jewellery. You can find it adding sparkle to many of our designs, from romantic rings to friendship charms.

How to style cubic zirconia jewellery

This beautiful and durable stone is used to create pieces you can wear on repeat – whether your style is maximalist or understated. Here are some tips for how to add the perfect amount of sparkle to your look:

The statement look:

For when you really want to make an impact, go for statement pieces with plenty of embellishments. The more sparkle, the better! Think chunky solitaire rings with bold-coloured stones, sparkling drop earrings and a tennis bracelet stack.

The subtle look:

Weave cubic zirconia into your everyday looks by choosing subtle pieces for a hint of sparkle. Think one or two pavé stacking rings, stud earrings and a bracelet charm.

How to clean cubic zirconia

Even if you’ve had your cubic zirconia jewellery for years, you can keep it looking shiny and new by following our cleaning tips:

Gently brush your jewellery with warm, soapy water using circular motions.
Ultrasonic cleaners should be used with caution – sonic waves can loosen stones from their setting.
When you’re not wearing your cubic zirconia pieces, store them separately from other jewellery to avoid scratches and keep them clean.

Head over to our cleaning and maintenance hub for more tips and tricks on keeping your jewellery looking perfect.

Whether you choose a statement ring or subtle studs, we know you’ll love your new cubic zirconia jewellery. Stay in the loop with our latest releases by checking out our New In page.