Diamond VS Moissanite: What are the Main Differences?

For a while now there has been a steady emergence of the stone Moissanite into the world of jewelry. Synthetic moissanite is marketed as an affordable diamond simulant. Moissanite is a naturally occurring silicon carbide discovered by chemist Dr. Henri Moissan in 1893.
Moissan was recovering rock samples from a crater in Arizona when he made the discovery; he initially believed the crystals to be diamonds, however on closer examination he saw differences in the crystals composition. The naturally occurring moissanite is extremely rare, so the version we see today is a lab-grown, colorless crystal that resembles a diamond when cut and polished.
7mm Round Moissanite set in Vatche U-113 Engagement Ring
7mm Round Moissanite set in Vatche U-113 Engagement Ring
Before making any decisions on the right gemstone for your jewelry, we recommend you read our guide on the main differences between diamonds and moissanites.

Diamonds VS Moissanites: The Sparkle

Before we delve into the more detailed differences between a diamond and a moissanite, we are first going to consider the difference in brilliance. Some people may read no further than this section!
When we talk about brilliance in gemstone jewelry, what we are really referring to is how successfully the stone bends and refracts light. This refraction is what causes the sparkle that is desired in diamond jewelry. It is also the reason that finding a beautifully cut diamond is essential; a poorly cut diamond suffers light leakage and simply cannot deliver the brilliance that we expect to see from a diamond.
Moissanite vs Diamond Engagement Rings
Moissanite (left) vs Diamond (right) Engagement Rings
A moissanite does not have the same refractive properties as a diamond, which is evident upon close inspection. While they do still give off brilliance, it is not as intense as that seen in a diamond. Moissanite is a doubly refractive material which cause all the facet junctions to appear twice. This gives the stone a slightly fuzzy look compared to a diamond’s crisp scintillation.
One of the main visual difference between diamonds and moissanite is the fire. Fire is the reflection of colored light. Fire is desired in a diamond, however what we primarily see when looking under a spotlight for example, is sparkling, white brilliance that is enhanced by just the right amount of fire.
By contrast, moissanites exhibit an excessive amount of colored sparkles. Some people describe it as a ‘disco-ball’ like sparkle. Unlike the cool, white sparkle of a diamond, the light reflected by a moissanite will look more like a rainbow, and this is particularly prevalent in larger stones.
Put quite simply, if you are hoping to fool people with a moissanite, it is this disco-ball quality that will give the game away more than anything else.

Diamond VS Moissanite: Durability

The hardness of minerals, materials, and substances is measured on the Mohs scale. It is based on how effectively one substance can visibly scratch another and is measured on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest).
The Mohs scale is used in various industries but is particularly useful when it comes to gemstone jewelry.
6.5mm Round Moissanite set in Tacori 2620RDP Engagement Ring
6.5mm Round Moissanite set in Tacori 2620RDP Engagement Ring
It is a well-known fact that we choose diamonds not only for their beauty but for their durability; scoring a 10 on the Mohs scale, a diamond is a hardest naturally occurring substance ever to be discovered.
Moissanite scores between a 9 – 9.5 on the Mohs scale. This places it in the same bracket as the mineral corundum (ruby and sapphire). So, what does this mean?
At 9-9.5 moissanite is a great choice for jewelry, however it will be more prone to scratching and chipping than a diamond. The thing to remember about the Mohs scale is that it is a ‘relative’ scale. While materials like moissanite and corundum are near the top of the 1-10 scale, diamond is many times harder. Safer settings are essential, and it would be more appropriate for pendants, earrings and occasion jewelry rather than an everyday piece of jewelry such as an engagement ring.
It is true that a well set moissanite is quite durable if taken care of, however it does not come with the same level of promise as diamond.

Diamond VS Moissanite: Color

Like brilliance, color is another factor which visually distinguishes moissanites from diamonds. The GIA will certify diamonds and give them a color grading:
GIA Color Scale
Moissanites are not categorized by color which poses a problem when selecting them for your jewelry. However, they normally do not possess the icy whiteness of colorless diamonds. Some moissanite sellers now try to differentiate between colors of their stones, offering ‘whiter’ looking stones for a higher price, however as there is no governing body or strict grading for the color of a moissanite, nothing can be guaranteed.
In general a moissanite appears slightly tinted, at about a K color grade on the GIA scale. Under certain lights, a yellowish-green tint can be seen in a moissanite stone.
If you are looking for the white sparkle of a D-I graded diamond, you will likely be disappointed in a moissanite.

Diamond VS Moissanite: Price

Comparing the prices of moissanite to diamonds may seem simple. Moissanites are much cheaper than natural diamonds. Look on any website or in any jewelry store and that is what you will see. You will also see that they are not as cheap as other diamond imitations such as CZ (cubic zirconia).
However, it is essential that buyers understand that moissanites are not diamonds. They only resemble diamonds in appearance. They have a slightly different look, they perform differently, they are mass produced in a lab, and therefore it is no surprise that they do not have the same value as diamonds.
Moissanites have a smaller specific gravity than diamonds, therefore you cannot make a comparison based on weight. The closest way to compare prices is by using size (mm). For example, a well cut 1.00ct diamond is 6.5mm.
Diamonds are naturally rare and prices are based on the 4 C’s, a set of criteria that cannot be applied to moissanite. The price of a moissanite changes only based on the size of the stone and is largely the result of controlled distribution through the company that holds the patent on producing it.
The money you spend on a natural diamond is based on quality which is the result of the stringent assessment by expert gemologists, dedicated to delivering the most accurate results. This also allows you to work within your budget, balancing and adjusting the 4 C’s until you find the perfect diamond.

Moissanite VS Lab Grown Diamonds

Whereas a Moissanite is a simulant that has good hardness and optical properties resembling a diamond, a laboratory grown diamond is a true synthetic diamond with essentially the same physical and optical properties as natural diamond. Therefore, a lab diamond has the same potential for fire and brilliance as a natural diamond (if fully transparent and properly cut), and is just as durable.
Lab grown diamonds have been around for quite some time and have found a significant place in the abrasives industry, but only in the last few years have they become available in sizes and qualities required for use in fine jewelry. They have recently emerged as a popular alternative to natural diamonds for many shoppers as they are significantly less expensive than natural diamonds, yet to the average observer are visually equivalent. Lab created diamonds have characteristics that enable them to be distinguished from natural, but in some cases sophisticated gemological testing is required for conclusive identification.
Lab created diamonds are therefore superior to Moissanite for those desiring the look of a diamond in their engagement ring or fine jewelry piece. And the price of lab diamonds has continued to decrease reducing the main incentive associated with Moissanite. Although Moissanite has been a popular alternative to a natural diamond during the years since it was introduced to the market, it is apparent that lab grown diamonds are now overtaking the market position once held by Moissanite, and for good reason.

Diamond VS Moissanite: An Ethical Alternative?

Both moissanites and lab-grown diamonds are cited by some sellers as ‘ethical alternatives’ to earth-mined diamonds. The fear of the blood diamond remains an issue for many first-time diamond buyers, but it is important to be armed with the facts before considering diamond alternatives.
Since 2002, the Kimberley Process has been in place; established by the United Nations, it offers assurance to buyers on the ethical origins of their diamond. Conflict diamonds now constitute less than 0.1% of the world’s diamond production, and an awareness of the Kimberley Process allows buyers access to this integral information.
In truth, artisanal diamond mining is essential to the livelihood of millions of very poor people across the globe. The Diamond Development Initiative works to support the miners and protect those working within the natural diamond mining industry, moving towards safety and new opportunities in health care and education.
In short, natural diamond mining contributes significantly to the betterment of millions of people on the planet, many of whom have no other means to make a living. Branding moissanites and other synthetics as ‘ethical alternatives’ only serves to unfairly demonize the natural diamond mining industry. While sales of synthetics will help a few entrepreneurs, investors and high tech businesses, natural diamond mining supports community development all over the world.

Diamond VS Moissanite: Are They Fake Diamonds?

The answer to this is no. Moissanites have different chemical, physical and optical properties. They are a distinctly different material although they do contain carbon. They are best referred to as imitation diamonds, or simulants.
There have been advances in the world of synthetic diamonds; previous limitations that inhibited the cost and speed at which synthetic diamonds could be produced are beginning to be overcome. The successful production of synthetic diamonds (which are also much be cheaper than a natural diamond) will certainly impact the use of moissanite in fine jewelry.
Unlike a moissanite, a synthetic diamond would display the same physical properties as a natural diamond but has characteristics that can be identified by gem labs. It is important to note that the production of synthetic rubies and sapphires has been widely available since the 1900’s, however this has had little to no impact on the purchase of the naturally mined gemstones. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the emergence of synthetic diamonds will similarly have little impact on the market for mined diamonds.
If you are looking for a bright sparkling engagement ring of your dreams – look for a diamond, either natural and lab grown. If you are looking for a durable stone with a lot of fire, and are not particular about it’s technical features – consider moissanite.
If it is a diamond that you are looking for, but have concerns about the price point, rest assured that at Whiteflash, we are dedicated to finding the right size and quality for every budget. With the range of sizes and qualities available in natural diamonds, and the new affordable option presented by lab diamonds, we make sure, everyone can have a beautiful diamond, that suites their preferences, taste and budget.
Take a look at our selection of loose diamonds or contact us for expert guidance on completing your jewelry with the diamond of your dreams.

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