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Does Moissanite Look Fake? A Diamond Expert Explains

on May 09, 2023

Moissanite displays stunning brilliance, sparkling fire, and incredible beauty--but can it be passed off as a natural, earth-mined diamond? Moissanite is a unique gemstone with distinctive properties, optical and chemical characteristics. 

Dispelling the Myth: Does Moissanite Look Fake? 

There is a common myth that moissanite looks fake or resembles a cheap and affordable diamond imitation, falling short of the beauty and exclusivity that only the diamond possesses. After all, diamonds are called the world's most precious gemstone. However, moissanite is a stand-out gemstone in its own right, and when cut and polished correctly may appear as a diamond, sparkling as it moves with its incredible rainbow light dispersion.

Addressing the Concern About Moissanite's Authenticity

Having concerns about the authenticity of moissanite and worrying if it looks like a cheap diamond imitation may be addressed with research and reading blog posts like this one. 

Worth the Investment

However, moissanite is a distinctively different gemstone that holds monetary value and worth, making it an investment fine jewelry piece that is perfect for choosing as a ring, bracelet, or chain. If you're worried about the authenticity of your moissanite, there are several steps to ensure you will be shopping for a genuine and high-quality stone:

Buy from a reputable source, designer brand, or well-known company

Buying from a reputable and trusted source will set your mind at ease, reinforcing your decision to invest in moissanite and jewelry containing moissanite. 

Research Before Buying

Performing online searches, reading reviews, or in-person visits at brick-and-mortar stores will acquaint you with their inventory. Choosing famous or established jewelers or online retailers with trustworthy websites are good options for purchasing moissanite jewelry.

Have questions and want more insight? Check our other blog, Debunking the Myth: Is Moissanite Just a Marketing Scam?

Certification of Authenticity: Many moissanite manufacturers and retailers offer certification or official documentation verifying the authenticity of moissanite. These certifications provide insight on the quality of the moissanite, evaluated by a jewelry professional, most notably a Gemologist.

Independent Appraisal: There are many independent labs providing professional services for various appraisal reports for your needs. They can evaluate loose stones and moissanite jewelry and provide you with pertinent information about its quality and authenticity, including monetary value if it is lost or stolen. Manufacturers will sometimes laser inscribe serial numbers and other trademarks on the girdle of the stone visible under 10X magnification.

Comparison to Diamonds and Other Gemstones

Comparison to Diamonds and Other Gemstones

Moissanite is often compared to diamonds and other gems. These comparisons may include natural diamonds, man-made diamonds, synthetic diamond simulants (cubic zirconia), and natural diamond alternatives/simulants (white sapphire, rock crystal quartz, etc). The following are some key differences and similarities between moissanite and other stones:

Appearance: Moissanite mimics diamonds. However, moissanite has a different chemical composition, exhibiting more fire and brilliance. Moissanite produces flashes of light known as the rainbow or disco ball effect. 

Cubic zirconia also has sparkle and fire but appears flatter than diamond or moissanite. White sapphire and quartz have a lower refractive index and may appear dull and lifeless if you are seeking sparkle--but they are still beautiful although cannot be mistaken for a diamond or moissanite.

Durability: The Mohs Hardness scale is a scale rating materials from 1-10, determining their relative hardness/scratch resistance tendencies. The harder the stone the more durable it is, offering important insights related to wearability and more. 

Moissanite is a very durable gemstone, with a hardness rating of 9.25 on the Mohs scale, which makes it almost as hard as a diamond, rating a 10/10 on the scale. Other ratings include cubic zirconia (8-8.5), sapphire (9), and quartz (7). 

Want more information on how moissanite compares to other common diamond simulants? Check out our blog, Moissanite vs. Diamond vs. Cubic Zirconia: A Comparison Guide

Price & Affordability: Moissanite is more affordable than earth-mined diamonds when all quality factors are equal (the 4Cs), making it a popular choice for engagement rings and other bespoke jewelry. Moissanite is more expensive than cubic zirconia and may be comparable in price with fine quality sapphires.

Rarity & Availability: Moissanite is a rare natural gemstone found in meteorites, making it extra special. Moissanite often refers to the man-made version created in a lab environment, mimicking its natural counterpart with budget-friendly price points. 

Diamonds are sourced from the earth, making them more available with different quality options reflecting on the price point. Other gemstones, such as sapphires and quartz, can also be found naturally in the earth, varying in price due to some being more rare and valuable than others. Quartz is common, offered in a rainbow of colors.

Personal Style, Budget, and Standards: The choice between moissanite, diamonds, and other gemstones offers insight to personal preference, style, and budget. Each man-made and natural gemstone exhibits its unique optical properties and characteristics.  Some people may prefer the fire and brilliance of moissanite, while others may prefer the classic elegance of a diamond, or simply clear quartz, colorless sapphire, and the fun of cubic zirconia. Choosing something you love and will cherish years to come is the end result of making the correct decision.

Moissanite's Unique Optical Properties 

The refractive index measures the bending of a ray of light when passing from one medium into another (Britannica). The higher the refractive index, the more fire and brilliance the stone exhibits. Stones with lower refractivity will appear lifeless when compared to stone's with a higher index. Moissanite has a refractive index between 2.65 to 2.69, which is remarkably high and gives it an adamantine luster. Moissanite also exhibits the phenomenon of double refractivity under 10x magnification. 

Brilliance & Fire:

Fire refers to the colorful sparkle when exposed to light. Although the term fire is commonly used to describe a diamond, it is also used to describe a moissanite and other stones. 

Brilliance refers to the amount of light a cut and faceted gemstone reflects back from the stone's interior. High or low brilliance determines the overall beauty of the stone.

Clarity 

Moissanite, like diamonds, is evaluated on a grading system called the 4Cs. This system was developed by Robert M. Shipley, the founder of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in the 1940s. The 4Cs assess a diamond's value based on its cut, color, clarity, and carat (weight), and is a widely accepted way to communicate the quality and worth of the stone in a "universal" language.

Factors Affecting Moissanite's Appearance 

There are many factors affecting moissanite appearance. Moissanite is a hard and durable gemstone, displays a gorgeous rainbow of light refractivity, and is versatile enough to be cut and fashioned into different shapes and carat weights.

Embracing Moissanite's Unique Beauty and Identity

 

Affordability for Any Budget: Moissanite is more affordable than diamonds of similar size and quality. Indulge in a larger, more impressive looking stone for your preferred price point with moissanite.

Ethical and Eco-Friendly: Diamonds are associated with unethical mining practices and harsh working conditions, making them unattractive to those who seek a socially conscious choice. Moissanite is produced in a lab without causing a negative impact on people and the planet.

Durability Means Practicality: Moissanite is hard and highly resistant to scratches and chips, making it a great option for frequent wear. Moissanite rates a 9.25 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, diamond rates a 10.

Endless Varieties of Carat, Weight, and Shape: Moissanite is available in all popular shapes, sizes, and colors, suiting any style ring, mounting, setting, and fine metal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about moissanite? Here are some answers to any immediate concern. 

How can you tell if moissanite is real?

Moissanite is a man-made gemstone. It is a high-quality version of the natural counterpart. The natural version is very rare and very expensive, commanding high prices. Moissanite is a real gemstone created in a lab.

When does a moissanite look fake?

Moissanite's high refractive index creates extreme fire, giving it super bold colorful flashes of light that may be fake looking at first.

Does moissanite shine like a diamond?

Moissanite has a high refractive index and an adamantine luster, giving it stunning brilliance and fire similar to diamonds. Moissanite has even more fire and brilliance than diamonds–it is known as the world’s most brilliant gemstone. This means that moissanite actually "shines" even more brightly than diamonds.

Can the average person tell the difference between moissanite and diamond?

A person who does not know gemstones will not immediately spot the difference. However, those with a keen eye and interest in jewelry may spot the rainbow sparkle moissanite displays.

Can a jeweler identify moissanite?

A professional jeweler will be able to identify moissanite by diamond with 10X magnification or by the naked eye. This is because diamonds and moissanite have distinctively different light dispersion.

Conclusion 

Does moissanite look fake? Moissanite is a highly brilliant stone setting it apart from natural diamonds, man-made diamonds, and other diamond alternatives/simulants.  Moissanite exhibits a show-stopping rainbow effect, giving it a glamorous appearance.

Moissanite is a stand-out stone, appearing distinctively unique from gemstones with its durability, high refractivity, and impressive sparkle. Moissanite can be detected by jewelry professionals and gemstones enthusiasts who have a keen eye and knowledge for diamonds and stones. 

Authenticating moissanite is easy–some moissanite purchases are accompanied by a certification upon purchase or may be ordered independently through appraisal labs offering various service evaluations for your jewelry.

Uncover a world of modern luxury that is well within your reach featuring striking shapes and style to match your mood and comfortable budget. 

Moissanite is a high-quality alternative to natural diamonds. It is not a fake or cheap version of diamonds. It is a real stone created in a lab. This makes it a sustainable, eco-friendly choice instead of earth-mined stones.

References

Geology, Mohs Scale

https://geology.com/minerals/mohs-hardness-scale.shtml#definition

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    Author: Emma Zerner
    Author: Emma Zerner
    Emma Zerner was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and grew up in Gainesville, Florida. She has a Bachelor of Science in Retail Merchandising from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Emma has been in the jewelry industry since 2002, starting in retail. She provides professional jewelry content of all kinds for numerous jewelry companies globally, in addition to Gemology services in person. In her free time, she has starred on multiple reality shows on major television networks, including MTV, BRAVO, and TLC, to name a few.
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    Author: Emma Zerner
    Author: Emma Zerner
    Emma Zerner was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and grew up in Gainesville, Florida. She has a Bachelor of Science in Retail Merchandising from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Emma has been in the jewelry industry since 2002, starting in retail. She provides professional jewelry content of all kinds for numerous jewelry companies globally, in addition to Gemology services in person. In her free time, she has starred on multiple reality shows on major television networks, including MTV, BRAVO, and TLC, to name a few.

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