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New Film Term Alert! “The Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood”

New Film Term Alert! "The Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood"

In his succinct history of the Hollywood romantic comedy for, Film School Rejects Managing Editor Cole Abaius tosses off a clever phrase worth adopting as a new film term.  Describing the generally lackluster quality of modern rom-coms, Abaius declares this “The Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood.”  Here’s how he puts it:

“We’re living in the Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood. The Golden Era was so long ago that we yearn for it, fantasize about it. In fact, even Sarah Jessica Parker had to focus on the screwball love of Clark Gable and and Claudette Colbert to get through her own ‘Sex and the City’ sequel. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, but it’s undeniable that the soft focus past of romantic comedies seems a lot sweeter than the current crop.”

Now whether or not there truly was a Golden Age is a topic for another blog post (what are you doing tomorrow around, say, 10:00 AM?).  But regardless of how much nostalgia plays into our perceptions of past and present, I absolutely adore describing the 2010s as “The Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood.”  Abaius doesn’t tease out the term any further than that in his essay, so let’s fill in the blanks for him real quick.

Cubic zirconias are, of course, synthetic diamonds (synthetic being a nice word for phony baloney).  Which, if you’re a cold, cynical, heartless bastard (note: I am one), makes them the perfect descriptor of so much of contemporary culture.  On the surface they look fantastic — even glossier and more polished than gold  — but when you put them under the microscope you see that they’re devoid of substance and contain no real value.  They’re pretty but disposable.  The Cubic Zirconia Era.  Brilliant (pun intended because gemology humor rules). 

Read the rest of Abaius’ fine piece at  Long may the Cubic Zirconia Era reign.

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Love it!
To the point, articulate and very interesting,


The Moissanite Era seems a lot less clunky and amounts to the same thing.

Celeste Widman

What an apropos new term in Hollywood, due to the amount of highly hyped bubblegum that's been shown in the Movie Theaters in the last few years.

Kim Bruun

Mikey is of course correct regarding cubic zirconia and synthetic diamond. Cubic zirconia indeed synthetic, and it is a diamond simulant (among other things), but the hardness, chemical formula, and optical properties are different. A synthetic diamond has the same chemical formula and crystal structure as a natural diamond – the only difference being that the synthetic stone is man made.


well that's a phrase that'll stick in my lexicon.


not to be pedantic.. but I will be anyway: a cubic zirconia is not a "synthetic diamond". A synthetic diamond is, believe it or not, very much "a diamond". A cubic zirconia is a synthetic gem stone with visual similarities to a diamond. And the similarities pretty much end there.

As a writer, you should also know that "synthetic" does not mean "fake". It means "synthesized", as in made. A synthetic diamond is a real diamond that was fabricated by man.

I'll agree with Ali that "pyritical" age, while a mouthful, is a FAR better term for an era in which the quality of romantic comedies is lacking. Pyrite being "fool's gold".

That said, I suspect were we to go back to that "golden age" we would find as many critics and would-be critics demonizing romantic comedies as insignificant trifles. The grass was always greener 50 years ago.

While there are obviously patently badly written, derivative rom-coms being released to cinemas these days, there is also a fair share of fun, effective romantic comedies. It would appear that critics enjoy bashing rom-coms.

The romantic comedy is predictable. That is its nature. You cannot hold its very nature against it.


I wouldn't limit this phrase to merely the last the 2010's, but the phrase itself…yeah, it fits.

Ali Arikan

I agree with the sentiment, but "the Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood" is an awfully awkward phrase. If we're referring to the antithesis of a "the Golden Age of Hollywood Romcoms," surely "the Pyritical Era of Hollywood" would be a better fit.

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