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Discovering the Differences: Is Moissanite a Diamond?

on Mar 11, 2023

Have you ever wondered is moissanite a real diamond? What is the difference between these two sparkling stones? Moissanite is a diamond simulant or diamond alternative. Moissanite is a natural mineral composed of silicon carbide–diamond is also a natural mineral composed of carbon. 

Moissanite may resemble a diamond in appearance, but it is a distinctive gemstone with unique chemical, physical, and optical characteristics. This blog post will uncover the differences between moissanite and diamond, moissanite compared to diamond, and point out the pros and cons of each stone, comparing them side by side.

What is Moissanite? 

The following will break down some of the basic information of moissanite and man-made moissanite.

Moissanite Origins

Where does Moissanite Come from

Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by Nobel-prize winning French chemist Henri Moissan, who found it in a meteorite, hence the name moissanite. Natural moissanite is rare and expensive, found in the upper mantle rock (kimberlites, lamproites), and meteorites (Gem Society). 

Since natural moissanite is so rare and expensive, scientists discovered a way to recreate it in the lab mimicking the natural formation in a controlled environment. Man-made moissanite production started in the 1990s with Charles & Colvard, a  gemstone manufacturer/jewelry company that is the original creator of lab-grown moissanite. Moissanite is composed of silicon carbide (SiC), with a carbon atom surrounded by four silicon atoms in a tetrahedral form. Synthetic moissanite is formed under controlled conditions using a combination of pressure and heat. It can take 2-3 months to produce a gem through a long, arduous process. 

Pros of Moissanite

There are many benefits of moissanite to consider when purchasing your moissanite ring and other jewelry. Here are a few:

Various Price Points:  Moissanite is a budget-friendly diamond alternative with a similar appearance filling any design with fire and sparkle. Moissanite costs less per carat with the same quality as graded using the 4Cs. This is because lab-created moissanite is not considered rare--it is made in a lab and is abundantly available in different caratages, shapes, and sizes.

Durability: The Mohs scale of hardness rates the hardness of minerals or “scratch-resistant” tendencies, utilizing a scale of 1-10. Moissanite rates 9.25, making it an extremely scratch-resistant mineral–diamond is famous for its hardness, rating 10/10.

Fire:  Moissanite has a high refractive index of 2.65 to 2.69, with noticeable double refractivity and an adamantine luster. Did you know that moissanite is the world’s most brilliant gemstone.

Its show-stopping rainbow fire and disco ball effect give it a stand-out fire that is instantly noticeable.  Moissanite displays its “doubling” under 10x magnification particularly noticeable around the facet junctions.

Socially Conscious: Moissanite is a lab-created gemstone, making it a sustainable (lasts a lifetime) and ethical choice that is environmentally friendly. Man-made moissanite does not require mining like natural gemstones and diamonds, which can be destructive to the environment (pollution, waste). Mining is sometimes associated with harsh working conditions.

Cons of Moissanite

Appearance: The incredible rainbow color brilliance may seem off-putting at first glance, having a completely different light dispersion than diamonds.

Not Rare or Hard to Find: Moissanite is plentiful in quantity and quality because it is synthesized in a lab. This makes moissanite less sought-after or prized--choosing your favorite style and caratage size is attainable with moissanite without offsetting the budget.

Not Natural:  It comes down to personal preference: natural vs. manmade stones, depending on ethics, cost, and style. Sometimes lab-created stones are looked at as “less than,” even though moissanite is a high-quality gem made to last for years of daily wear and tear.

Lower Resale Value:  Moissanite may be accompanied by a gemology lab certification or after the sale for insurance purposes if requested and purchased by the buyer. However, moissanite does not have the same value as diamonds or other natural gemstones because of its lab-grown origins.

Differences Between Moissanite and Diamonds

Differences between moissanite and diamonds

Although they are both durable, brilliant, and beautiful, there are some differences between moissanite and diamonds that should be analyzed:

Durability: Diamond and moissanite are durable stones that are very “scratch resistant”, making them the perfect choice for rings, pendants, earrings, and other jewelry creations. DIamond is famous for its hardness, rating 10/10 on the Mohs scale vs. moissanite, which is a 9.25. Diamond is harder, but moissanite is also very hard.

Brilliance: Moissanite is the more brilliant of the stones and has a higher refractive index than diamond. Both exhibit sparkle, fire, and brilliance, making them equally beautiful in their own unique way.

Color: Fancy color diamonds may be natural or enhanced in a lab, drawing the eye with a gorgeous, saturated color. Some fancy color diamonds include pink, blue, green, brown, and yellow. Moissanite can also be manufactured in fancy colors (yellow). 

Colorless diamonds are frequently graded on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale (D-Z) and may exhibit very light brown and yellow tinges below J grade. Moissanite commonly exhibits a gray, blue, or green tinge and is also graded on the GIA color grading scale.

Price: Moissanite is significantly less than diamond of the same quality and carat weight, making it an affordable diamond substitute.  This price difference may vary from retailer to retailer, but diamond is more expensive when compared to a similar quality moissanite.

Sourcing: Natural diamond mining involves digging into the earth and extracting diamonds using heavy machinery and other tools. Lab-created stones are more socially conscious, as the production process ensures fair labor practices and worker safety. Eco-friendly and sustainable, moissanite is a stunning alternative to natural diamonds.

What are Some Common Misconceptions About Moissanite? 

Moissanite is a fake diamond. Moissanite is not a lab-created diamond, cubic zirconia, or other diamond simulant. Moissanite  is a high-quality durable diamond alternative mimicking natural moissanite from the earth, including all its optical and chemical properties. Diamond and moissanite are two different stones.

It is not as durable as diamond. Both are very durable stones as mentioned above. Moissanite is durable, hard, and scratch resistant, making it the perfect choice for your next jewelry purchase. 

Different from diamond.  Both stones are brilliant, beautiful, luxurious, and sparkling. Each has different qualities and similar appearances at first glance, but possess very special attributes.

Moissanite is not valuable. Moissanite is not cubic zirconia or a cheap replica of a diamond.  It is set into fine metals, such as gold and platinum, because it is durable, high-quality, and beautiful. Moissanite does have some resale value, although it is lower than diamond and other natural gemstones. 

Frequently Asked Question

Is moissanite a suitable substitute for a diamond?

Moissanite is a suitable substitute for a diamond because it is a high-quality diamond look-a-like with unique chemical and optical attributes. Moissanite has incredible brilliance and fire, in addition to being a "stable" stone meant to last a lifetime of wear because of its durability.

Can moissanite be used in engagement rings? 

Can moissanite be used in engagement rings? Moissanite engagement rings are the perfect choice for a high-quality, stunning alternative to diamonds, gemstones, and diamond simulants. Moissanite can be cut and faceted into popular shapes and sizes, making it a highly versatile stone. Customize the wedding and engagement ring of your dreams using moissanite at a fraction of the cost.

Is moissanite as durable as a diamond? 

Moissanite is not quite as durable as a diamond (moissanite rates 9.25 and diamond rates a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness). Both are very scratch resistant, making them perfect for engagement rings and other jewelry.

Can moissanite scratch or chip more easily than a diamond?

While moissanite is not as hard as diamond, it is still resistant to scratching and chipping. Moissanite is a very durable stone that is perfect for everyday wear. While moissanite may be more prone to scratching and chipping than a diamond, it is still a fantastic choice for those who want an affordable alternative to diamond jewelry that is also beautiful. ALL stones are susceptible to breaking, chipping, abrasion, and cracking--they are not indestructible. Care and maintenance are always required for jewelry and gemstones.

Conclusion

Is moissanite a real diamond? There are many differences between moissanite and diamond. Here is a lis:

  1. Composition: Diamond is composed of carbon, while moissanite is composed of silicon carbide.
  2. Hardness: Diamond is the hardest known mineral and has a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, while moissanite rates a 9.25.
  3. Brilliance & Fire: Both diamonds and moissanite exhibit high brilliance and fire, but moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamond with a rainbow "disco ball effect".
  4. Color & Appearance: Diamonds are available in white, yellow, brown, and even pink or blue. Moissanites are colorless/near-colorless; they can also have a slightly yellow or greenish tinge. Moissanite is also available in fancy colors, such as yellow.
  5. Cost/Price Factors: One of the biggest differences between diamond and moissanite is their cost. Diamonds are among the most expensive gemstones in the world. Lab-created moissanite is significantly affordable, making it an eco-friendly, socially conscious alternative to an earth-mined diamond without the high price tag.

COMPARISON CHART

 diamond vs moissanite comparison chart


REFERENCES:

Moissanite, The Gemological Institute of America

https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/WN13-LN-synthetic-moissanite#:~:text=Colorless%20synthetic%20moissanite%20is%20pure,it%20a%20convincing%20diamond%20simulant.

Diamond

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond

Moissanite

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moissanite

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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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