As the saying goes, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ In order to know whether CZ is appropriate as an engagement ring, you’ll want to learn a little more about it.
So, are CZ engagement rings tacky? Cubic Zirconia, or CZ, isn’t tacky as an engagement ring. It’s not a diamond, but it is a hard stone that looks very similar. It can be a beautiful, functional, and inexpensive option. CZ is the most known, and most widely used, simulated diamond in the world. It’s been a popular simulant since the 1980’s
CZ can deliver so much value, at such a small cost, so why would some people view it as ‘tacky’? We’ll explore many of the common reasons below.
Imagine, that you post something on Facebook about the fact that you’re thinking of buying a Honda Civic as a commuter car because you need something that’s good on gas. Suddenly, a comment is posted, saying that Hondas are ‘tacky.’ They point out that Ferrari’s are faster…that they have thicker and more durable paint jobs…and that you’ll get a lot more compliments from people when you drive it. Seems silly doesn’t it?
You aren’t looking to spend what a Ferrari would cost—You don’t need a Ferrari. You certainly don’t expect the Civic to have all the same features and capabilities—but you like the car anyway. It does what you need it to do. It’s a great car based on the value it delivers and what you’ll have to spend to get it.
People make similarly ridiculous comparisons between diamonds and cubic Zirconia all the time! Diamond and CZ are not the same. They aren’t made of the same elements, and they don’t have the same properties—but they also don’t have the same price tag.
Cubic Zirconia is an incredible value when you consider its cost. Quality Cubic Zirconia is beautiful and sparkly. It can draw the praise and comments that every bride loves to hear about her ring.
here are many options for attractive engagement rings, but Cubic Zirconia really stands out for those that need, or want, something ultra-affordable, without giving up too much of the diamond look, to get it. CZ could be a great fit if you only have a $50-$300 available for your ring. It could also be a great fit if you only want to spend $300 or less, meaning that a lack of resources isn’t the only reason that people commonly choose CZ.
If you had the ability to spend $3,500 on an engagement ring, for example, you have several great options available. Here are just a few:
- Buy a .6 carat mined diamond.
- Buy a .6 carat lab grown diamond, and have $2,100 left over.
- Buy a .6 carat CZ, and have $2,800 left over.
Each of those examples assumes that you want something like a gold band to set your stone on. You could bring your costs down a lot further by considering other metal types. While I tried to keep things simple by comparing stones of the same size, you could easily give a larger man-made diamond or CZ and still save a ton of money.
That’s one of the things that draws people to lab made stones. They realize that they can only afford a very small earth grown diamond, or they could get a full carat if they go with a lab grown diamond or CZ—and still have a bunch of money left over.
What could you do with your savings if you buy a CZ and have money left over?
- Splurge on your Honeymoon.
- Put a down payment on a house.
- Get more reliable transportation.
- Pay down your debt (credit cards or student loans)
- Start a college fund for a future child
- Add to, or start, retirement savings
- Add to, or start, a ‘rainy-day’ fund (emergency savings)
Why CZ Feels Like it Could be Tacky to Some
There are several reasons that you may be wondering if CZ could be perceived as being inelegant, shoddy, or tacky. For starters, diamonds cost so much, but Cubic Zirconia costs so little. Diamonds have become a status symbol. Hollywood ‘A-Listers’ and rappers wear huge diamonds costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to demonstrate that they’ve ‘made it’. Society in general often uses gems like diamonds to signal status. One place that diamonds might be considered ‘tacky,’ is if you used them to create a false impression that you had more money or success than you actually have.
We’ve all seen someone we know with ‘diamond’ on their finger that’s big enough to be worthy of a museum display case. Knowing something about their financial status, we instantly assume that it’s a fake diamond. Way over doing it on size might be considered tacky to some. It’s like you’re trying project financial status that you don’t actually have.
Going back to the example that we started the article with, driving a Honda Civic isn’t tacky at all. Ripping the Honda emblem off your car, and replacing it with a Ferrari emblem is tacky—and a pretty funny. People wouldn’t take your Honda Civic seriously though if it had a Ferrari emblem on it—but was clearly a Honda.
To avoid a similar issue, try not to over do it with the size of the stone on your ring. Even thought you could easily afford to by a 6 carat CZ stone, go with the .5 carat, or maybe the 1 carat. If you’re looking for something that most people will assume is diamond, then it’s best to stay at 1 carat or smaller for most people.
The other approach you could take, is not to care what others think of your ring. If you love the way CZ’s sparkle, and you want a big one, then by all means, get a big one! You can openly tell people it’s a Cubic Zirconia, or not. The important thing, is that you’re happy and comfortable with what you’re wearing.
Another major cause of for the impression that some people have about CZ rings being somewhat tacky, is influence from marketers and our peers. Put yourself in the mind of diamond industry marketers for a moment. If there’s a stone that cost just 1% of your product, but fills a very similar need, how do you compete. That’s an ENORMOUS cost difference to overcome in the mind of your would-be customer. One genius move, is to make potential buyers feel like the option that’s 99% less expensive is socially frowned upon and way uncool.
That sentiment is the result of just one television commercial or print ad, it’s the culmination of many decades of conditioning through many different channels.
For Surprise Proposals, Buying a CZ Ring is a Smart Move!
Let’s assume that you’ve decided that you’re going to buy a diamond engagement ring. You have the money, and you’re willing to part with it. If you’re planning to surprise your partner with ring, it would be really smart move to propose with a beautiful CZ ring, and then shop for the diamond together, after they say ‘yes’. Why? Because diamonds are expensive, most jewelers don’t want to take them back, and you may pick a very different ring style for your spouse-to-be, than they would select for themselves.
Let me illustrate with two real life examples. I surprised my girlfriend (now my wife) nearly twenty years ago, with a diamond ring that I had picked out on my own. The element of surprise made the proposal really fun for both of us I think. Fortunately, she liked the ring style I selected. Even still—I’m not sure she would have chosen the same ring if we had gone shopping together.
My wife’s brother got engaged about two weeks after we did. He also bought a diamond ring on his own, so he could surprise his girlfriend with the proposal. She loved him, and said ‘yes,’ but hated the ring. They’ve now been married for almost twenty years too. She still hates the styling of that ring.
If he had picked out out a beautiful CZ ring for $100 or less to propose with, they could have had a really nice proposal experience, and then shopped for a ‘forever ring’ together in the days that followed. Ultimately, they could have spent the same amount on a diamond ring, but found something she loved to look at in the decades that followed.
It’s even possible that they’ll love the CZ, and the idea of saving a bunch of money that can be applied elsewhere. They may decide to stick with that, buy a CZ with slightly different styling, or jump up to something that’s only a little more expensive, like Moissanite. In any case, you’ve minimized risk by starting with a CZ ring.
One thing is certain, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring to express your love and commitment. You also don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to prove yourself or to present a jaw dropping ring that you’ll both love!
Seems obvious doesn’t it? It should be, but before we can recognize the obvious to think and act in ways that make the most sense for us, we have to break through years of social conditioning that was brought to us through diamond industry executives and the masterful marketers that work for them.
CZ isn’t tacky for engagement if your ring is selected and gifted with love. It’s the quality of the emotion and feeling that matters—and regardless of what diamond peddlers what you to think, there’s absolutely no correlation between the quality of your love and the cost of your engagement ring.
Charging blindly into debt to buy a ring you really can’t afford isn’t romantic or chivalrous—it’s well-intentioned recklessness. Knowing that most marriages end because of tension over debt and finances, maybe protecting your relationship by avoiding debt is the least ‘tacky’ thing you could do—and it screams real love and protection much louder than a ring you borrowed money to buy ever could.
What is Better Cubic Zirconia or Swarovski Crystal?
While Swarovski crystals can be beautiful and inexpensive too, they’re ultimately made of glass, and just aren’t as durable as Cubic Zirconia. Glass has a hardness of approximately 5.5 of Mohs Scale of Hardness, while CZ has a hardness rating of 8.25 to 8.5. That difference in hardness is will impact scratch resistance and overall durability.
What is the Difference Between Zircon and Cubic Zirconia
Many people confuse the names Zircon and Cubic Zirconia. You’ll sometimes see or hear someone use the term ‘Cubic Zircon,’ which is an incorrect blending of two names. Zircon is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s also a birthstone for the month of December. Cubic Zirconia on the other hand is entirely lab created.
Which is Better, Cubic Zirconia or Moissanite?
Moissanite is a much harder and more durable stone, but it also costs quite a bit more. Because of that, it isn’t the right product for everyone, but it could be a good material to compare and consider. Moissanite is a lab created diamond simulant that’s considered by many gemologists and jewelers to be the diamond simulant that’s is most similar to diamond in terms of appearance and properties.