Diamonds might reign supreme in the jewelry world – but they aren’t the only gemstone for your ring.
If you want something a bit different, you have a wide selection of gemstones to choose from – including stones that look pretty similar to diamonds, such as moissanite. Wait, what is a moissanite diamond?
Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral that strikingly resembles a diamond – and yet, it’s not. What are the differences between these two gems, though? Could moissanite even be considered a diamond?
Answers to these – and many more questions – are waiting for you in this guide. So, read on!
What Is Moissanite?
In short, moissanite is a near-colorless gem made out of silicon carbide. First discovered by a French scientist, Henry Moisan, moissanite was found in a crater that was left behind by a meteor.
Even though diamonds and moissanite look similar at a glance, they’re quite different from one another.
As you may already know, a diamond is made out of carbon, whereas moissanite is made out of silicon carbide – a rare, naturally-occurring mineral.
On that note, the natural moissanite discovered by Henry Moissan back in 1893 is pretty rare, so it’s practically impossible to use in jewelry. As such, the moissanite you find on the market is actually produced in labs.
Although moissanite is made to resemble a genuine diamond, it varies in both appearance and composition.
Moissanite Vs. Diamond: Hardness
On the Mohs scale of mineral hardens, a moissanite measures in at 9.25, whereas a diamond scores a perfect 10.
The Mohs scale is used to indicate a gem’s hardness or, in other words, its durability. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness shows one of the most apparent differences between these two gems.
As the hardest known mineral on Earth, diamond is incredibly durable. That makes it perfect for everyday wear as it’s able to resist damage more than other – generally softer – gemstones.
Even though moissanite is lower on the Mohs scale than a diamond at 9.25, moissanite is still pretty durable for a gem. The only minerals that are able to scratch moissanite have to be of equal or higher hardness grade.
We’ve included the Mohs scale for some materials to give you some perspective on mineral hardness.
|Substance Or Mineral||Hardness|
Moissanite Vs. Diamond: Color
Although diamond and moissanite can look similar in color when viewed in poor lighting or from a distance, there are notable color differences between them that are much more obvious when they’re seen up close.
Diamonds are rated from D to Z on the GIA color scale, whereas moissanite isn’t categorized by color. That’s not to say that moissanite is colorless, though. Instead, they resemble the K color grade on the GIA color scale – which, again, is used to grade diamond’s color.
Green and yellow tints can be seen in moissanite when viewed under specific lighting. And the bigger the stone, the easier it is to spot yellow, green, or gray tints. At larger sizes, it’s generally easy to detect the stark difference between moissanite and a real diamond.
Nearly colorless diamonds will contain no hints of grey or yellow tinting. Color is one aspect that makes diamonds sparkle white. In that sense, it’s relatively easy to differentiate moissanite from the unmistakable natural beauty of a diamond.
Moissanite Vs. Diamond: Clarity
The clarity of moissanite or diamond – or any gemstone, for that matter – refers to the number of inclusions and blemishes in the stone.
Moissanite, in most cases, just like diamonds, aren’t perfect – unless they’re lab-made, that is – meaning they have minor imperfections that are detectable when viewed under magnification.
Nearly all moissanite are graded for clarity using a scale similar to the one used by the GIA to determine the clarity of diamonds.
It’s important to add that the clarity grade for moissanite isn’t provided by the GIA or any other gemological lab. Instead, the clarity grade is usually provided along with the gemstone by its manufacturer or seller.
Since moissanite is artificial, it’s uncommon to see one with a clarity grade below the level equal to the VS clarity grade for diamonds. In general, the clarity of moissanite is close to flawless.
Moissanite Vs. Diamond: Shape
Like diamonds, moissanite’s available in a wide range of different shapes. You can find round brilliant, oval, cushion, princess, pear, and radiant cut moissanite.
That said, the most popular shape for moissanite is the round brilliant. There are a few reasons for the round brilliant cut’s popularity, including:
- Brilliance – The round brilliant cut provides the greatest brilliance and fire, just like with a diamond.
- Color – The round brilliant cut hides color the best, making a gemstone appear nearly or completely white. That’s advantageous for moissanite as it aids in suppressing the green and yellow tints usually visible in moissanite.
- Versatility – The round brilliant cut is pretty versatile, with a design that looks absolutely stunning in both modern and vintage rings and other jewelry.
Generally, moissanite looks the best in shapes that hide its color and emphasize the gemstone’s brilliance – such as the princess cut.
- Princess-Cut Diamonds: Everything You Need To Know
- Which Diamond Shape Is Best? Guide To Popular Diamond Shapes
Moissanite Vs. Diamond: Brilliance
When you see a magnificent sparkle of a diamond, you’re experiencing the gemstone’s ability to bend and refract light: As the light hits the pavilions, it bounces around and gets refracted back through the table of the diamond to the viewer’s eyes. And when that occurs, it’s called brilliance.
On the other hand, moissanite gives off a different kind of sparkle: Their facets are made differently, leading to less white light refraction than a diamond. So, while moissanite does create sparkle, it’s not as vibrant as diamond’s sparkle.
Interestingly enough, moisanite has a slightly higher refractive index than diamonds: The refractive index of diamond is 2.45, whereas moissanite’s refractive index is 2.65. Overall, their refractive indexes are very similar.
In addition to the brilliance, the gemstones also emit fire – the reflection of colored light.
Moissanite also casts a vibrant reflection of colored light. In some cases, the moissanite gives off an extensive color dazzling effect, which some people might not prefer.
While relatively noticeable when viewing moissanite and diamond side by side, the difference in fire and brilliance is increasingly apparent with bigger stones. That’s especially true if the stones are inspected in certain lighting conditions.
Related Read: Diamond Refractive Index: Do Diamonds Disappear In Water?
Moissanite Vs. Diamond: Price
A diamond’s price is based on its cut, carat, color, and clarity. These factors work together to form the stunning beauty and brilliance of the stone.
Since diamonds are natural, they can vary greatly in value and quality.
On the other hand, moissanite tends to cost the same, except when two gemstones differ in size and type of material – enhanced or unenhanced.
While price differs between moissanite and diamond, it’s vital to understand that the features and quality of moissanite and diamonds can vary significantly. And just because the cost of the stone is lower, it doesn’t mean you’re getting a better deal.
To outline the difference in prices between moissanite and diamond side by side, we’ve created the chart below. Even though the prices differ, the value and beauty of moissanite and diamond are incomparable.
|Carat Weight||Diamond Price||Millimeters (Closest Equivalent To Carats)||Moissanite Price|
The table shows a comparison between several diamonds’ carat weights and moissanite in roughly corresponding sizes.
You’ll notice that a 0.5-carat diamond costs almost twice as much as moissanite of a similar size. This price ratio increases with size – with 6.5-millimeter moissanite costing around $850, which is approximately 80% less than a 1-carat diamond of similar size.
How To Differentiate Moissanite From Diamond?
When viewed from a distance, moissanite and diamond can look nearly the same, especially when each gemstone is set in a ring or other piece of jewelry.
With that being said, there are several ways you can tell apart these two stones when they’re viewed up close:
- Brilliance – Moissanite refracts light more than diamond, creating a stronger level of brilliance. That means that moissanite will typically appear sparklier than a diamond of similar cut and size.
- Fire – Moissanite also usually has a stronger fire than diamond. If you place moissanite and diamond next to each other under a strong lighting source, the moissanite will most likely produce more powerful colored flashes.
- Clarity – Since moissanite is made in a lab, the average clarity level is generally higher than a natural diamond. It’s pretty common to see diamonds with inclusions and blemishes, whereas moissanite is typically close to flawless.
- Color – Moissanite isn’t completely colorless and usually exhibits green, yellow, or gray tints when inspected under a light. On the other hand, diamonds come in a range of different colors, from entirely colorless to strongly tinted.
- Weight – Moissanite will weigh around 15% less than a same-sized diamond. While this isn’t noticeable when either gemstone is held in hand, a high precision scale will show the difference in weight.
- Value – Moissanite is significantly cheaper than diamond, meaning you can purchase a bigger stone for less money. Moissanite is also far less valuable, which means you’re ultimately buying a gemstone that’s worth a lot less long-term by opting for moissanite.
- Electricity Conduction – It isn’t something you can check while looking at them, but moissanite and diamond conduct electricity differently. Some diamond testing tools utilize electricity to detect whether a gemstone is a real diamond or a different kind of gemstone.
Advantages Of Moissanite
Moissanite offers a few unique advantages over diamonds – even though these might not be perceived as advantages by everyone.
- Price – Moissanite is less expensive than diamond, which means you’ll be able to buy a larger stone at a lower price.
- Clarity – Since moissanite is produced in labs, they aren’t sold unless they have a high clarity grade. What this means is that it’s pretty hard to find one with apparent blemishes or inclusions.
- Lab-Made – Even though this is a downside for most people, some might appreciate the technology and science that goes into making moissanite. Also, if you’re worried about the ethical side of purchasing a diamond, this may be an advantage for you.
- Brilliance – Moissanite has a high refractive index meaning it features a stronger level of brilliance. Although some may find them unnaturally sparkly, this can be a plus if you’re searching for a very bright, eye-catching gemstone.
Read Also: Can I Pass Off My Moissanite As A Diamond?
Disadvantages Of Moissanite
Despite its advantages, moissanite also has several distinct disadvantages when compared to a diamond:
- Different, Artificial-Looking Brilliance – Diamonds are gems famous for their stunning brilliance, with an eye-catching yet elegant sparkle. Conversely, many people would say that the intense sparkle of moissanite looks a bit unnatural.
- From A Cultural Perspective, Moissanite Isn’t A Diamond – For better or for worse, diamonds have cultural significance. They’re strongly connected with engagement, marriage, and all things romance-related. While it might look nice, moissanite doesn’t have the same association with love that the diamond does. There’s also a risk that your significant other might view moissanite as an inexpensive or cheap alternative to a diamond.
- Lack Of Value – Although it’s less expensive than a diamond, moissanite isn’t valuable. While we typically don’t recommend diamonds as a form of an investment, they retain some value over the long term – which isn’t the case for moissanite.
So, what is a moissanite diamond?
Moissanite is a near-colorless gemstone composed out of silicon carbide. The natural gemstone is extremely rare, though – meaning that the moissanite you’ll find on today’s market is primarily lab-made.
Although moissanite and diamonds are different, moissanite is still an excellent option for those searching for a gemstone at a lower price.
Related Read: Moissanite Vs. Cubic Zirconia Vs. White Sapphire