Moissanite is one of the most popular gemstones today.
Chances are you’ve already seen an Instagram ad for a moissanite engagement ring or a necklace pendant with this stone.
But what exactly is moissanite? And how is it different than the classic white gemstone—the diamond?
Today, we’ll explore the differences between moissanite vs. diamond so you can make a wise choice. And if you’re looking for an affordable replacement ring? Check out some of our favorites below!
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What is moissanite?
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Henri Moissan first discovered moissanite in 1893, when he found pieces inside a meteor.
To this day, natural moissanite remains incredibly rare, and geologists have only found it in a few sites on earth. Thankfully for us, though, silicon carbide—which forms moissanite—is easy to create in a laboratory.
Recent innovations have allowed scientists to create colorless moissanite, which has quickly become popular as a diamond alternative.
As a simulated diamond, lab-grown moissanite has a few advantages over other replacement gemstones. It’s more durable than cubic zirconia, cheaper than white sapphire, and has more in common with a real diamond than white topaz.
The most common brand name used to be Forever Brilliant Moissanite, manufactured by Charles and Colvard. Today, however, the Forever Brilliant brand has been retired in favor of the new Forever One Moissanite brand.
Most of us think we know about diamonds—but there’s probably still a lot to learn!
Diamonds are made from carbon and occur naturally in the earth. Natural diamond is rare but far more common than moissanite.
Diamonds are, of course, some of the oldest and most well-known gemstones and have been worn as jewelry for millennia, compared to the few decades of history with moissanite.
Today, many jewelers also sell lab-grown diamond (also called synthetic diamond). These gems are chemically identical to mined diamonds, but they’re manufactured in a lab using methods similar to those used to create moissanite.
Qualities of moissanite vs. diamond
If you’re thinking of buying a moissanite engagement ring or swapping out a precious stone for a diamond substitute, you’ll want to learn more about the difference between these stones.
Here are the nine biggest differences between moissanite vs. diamond.
The main reason people choose a diamond simulant is for the price, and it’s no wonder! Moissanite is a much more affordable gemstone than a diamond.
Even a lab-created diamond will be much more expensive than an equivalent moissanite stone. In general, you can expect moissanite to cost about one-tenth of what you’d pay for an equivalent diamond.
And this effect is even bigger with more carat weight. In other words, the bigger the moissanite stone is, the cheaper it will be compared to an equal-size diamond.
A diamond’s hardness is one of its most unique properties. Diamonds score a perfect 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them the strongest minerals on earth.
But moissanite comes in close. An individual moissanite stone is between 9.25-9.50 on the Mohs scale, making it the second-hardest gem used in jewelry.
Since diamonds are formed naturally over millions of years inside the earth, nearly every stone has slight imperfections. Many of these are visible to the naked eye, even without using a jeweler's loupe.
On the other hand, Moissanite is completely clear and rarely has the imperfections a diamond has.
Diamonds are usually graded with the four Cs—cut, clarity, carat weight, and color. The best and most expensive colorless diamond will have a completely transparent white color, while inferior stones have a yellowish tinge.
Moissanite, on the other hand, is only graded on color. That’s because moissanite is seldom purely colorless. In different lighting, even the best moissanite will appear slightly yellow-green or grey.
If you’re looking for a pure transparent diamond color, moissanite might not be the best choice.
The jeweler term “brilliance” or “fire” refers to a gemstone’s sparkle or how it reflects light.
In this area, moissanite is the winner. Unlike a diamond, which reflects light in one direction, moissanite has double refraction and splits the light into two rays.
Another difference is that moissanite has more of a rainbow sparkle, like a prism, whereas diamond reflects both rainbow and white light.
The good news is that most people can’t tell the difference. All they’ll notice is that your moissanite looks like very reflective diamond jewelry.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, diamonds can either be mined or lab-created. Whenever you buy a diamond engagement ring or any jewelry type, you should find out if the diamond is natural or synthetic.
Every moissanite gem used in jewelry, on the other hand, is synthetic moissanite. Mined moissanite is extremely rare and never used in jewelry.
#7—Thermal and electrical conductivity
The most common way to see if a gem is a real diamond is to use a diamond tester. This handheld device measures how quickly heat passes through an element (thermal conductivity) and alerts the user if the rate is that of a diamond.
But moissanite is the only other gemstone that conducts heat at the same speed as diamond, meaning it can fool even a jeweler using an old-fashioned diamond tester.
A modern moissanite tester will also measure how electrical currents run through the gem (electrical conductivity), distinguishing a diamond from moissanite.
We’ve already mentioned the hardness of moissanite. But some diamond replacements don’t last as long as a diamond. Cubic zirconia, for example, changes color and eventually clouds over time.
The good news about the moissanite gemstone is that it will never change color or cloud. Moissanite will last for generations and won’t ever look like a fake diamond.
Today, many consumers are worried about the ethical and environmental effects of mined diamonds. Mining is damaging to the earth, but a lab diamond or moissanite stone has a much lower environmental impact.
Another concern is the blood diamond market, whereby a mined diamond is sold to support war, terrorism, or other illegal activity. Since moissanite is produced in a lab, it’s a guarantee against this kind of market.
Which is best for you?
Moissanite jewelry has become a popular diamond alternative in recent years. Even jewelers can struggle to tell apart a moissanite ring from a diamond ring at a distance, making it an attractive option for stunning jewelry at an affordable price.
Now that you understand the differences between moissanite vs. diamond, which is better for you?