Today we’re going to discuss everything surrounding the diamond simulant; moissanite.
With diamonds falling at a much higher price point, we are always looking for affordable alternatives that pack a punch and deliver on the goods. Well, moissanite could be just the stone for you.
There is a quality to the moissanite stone that is hard to come by in any other. The fire and brilliance that this gemstone has to offer are incomparable to any other and so, whilst by its colorless nature it is often compared to a diamond, it deserves its own recognition.🔥
The story of the moissanite is truly magical and one of a kind.
Basics: What is moissanite?
Moissanite is not a diamond, but it could easily be mistaken for one to the untrained eye.
Many consider it to be a fantastic diamond alternative as moissanite conducts brilliance and fire that goes above and beyond the limitations of a diamond. A gemstone that has life, sparkle, and character worthy of attention.
Moissanite got its name from the scientist who discovered the perfect chemical concoction for this starlit gemstone in 1893. This scientist was called Henri Moissan. Originally, Mr. Moissan, who went on to win a Nobel prize for his dedication to Chemistry, found this gem among a crater after a meteor fell and crash-landed on Earth.
He first thought he had stumbled across a wealth of diamonds, can you imagine! Later determining that it was in fact a crystal formed of silicon carbide that we now know as moissanite.
🧐Most moissanite that we see today is lab-manufactured, and there is a reason for this; to find naturally grown moissanite is incredibly rare.
Years of trial and error finally resulted in the success of a lab-created synthetic version of this beloved stone.
Moissanite is developed under strict and rigorous conditions. The process can take up to 3 months just to create one single gemstone! The complicated and time-consuming process is the reason why moissanite can be so expensive compared to other colorless stone alternatives.
Moissanite vs. Diamonds: What are the differences?
There are 8 important aspects of these stones to consider when comparing a moissanite and diamond side by side. As mentioned above, to the naked and untrained eye it can be difficult to tell the moissanite and diamond apart, but there are some important distinctions that we can look at below.
Composition and Origins
Let’s start at the beginning. The chemical make-up of diamonds is composed of a single element of carbon. The C shaped atoms are structures in a lattice formation that give the diamond its outstanding properties.
In comparison, moissanite is a naturally occurring silicon carbide. A rare mineral with the chemical formula SiC, the hexagonal crystal system of which allows for a greater refractive index.
The rarity of naturally formed moissanite is due to the fact that it literally falls from the sky!☄️ This mineral was created by a meteorite and so we can consider that it genuinely comes from outer space. Pretty neat! This is why most moissanite is now lab-manufactured.
You can imagine how difficult it is to find minerals that have fallen from outer space. Although, it is truly dreamy to think about.
Alternatively, diamonds are mined deep underground in the Earth's mantle. Discovering high-grade diamonds is quite rare but far easier than waiting for them to drop out of the heavens! Lab-formed diamonds are available however, it is much easier to get our hands on a naturally formed diamond, unlike the moissanite.
As we all know, diamonds rank at an astounding 10/10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. They are the king of the crop, incredibly durable, and cannot be outranked.
However, moissanite gives it a good go! Moissanite falls at 9.25 on the Mohs scale which is pretty impressive when we think of how tough that makes this little gemstone.
Both have a toughness to be in awe of making them incredibly resilient to everyday wear. But, as always, diamonds are slightly in the lead.
Fire, Brilliance, and Sparkle
Interestingly the refractive index of a moissanite is actually higher than that of a diamond. Moissanite has a refractive index of 2.65 versus the 2.42 of the diamond. Surprised?
Moissanite is a beautiful stone with lots of sparkle and life but its sparkle is a little different from that of the diamond. When we are discussing the brilliance of a stone, we are really talking about the flashes of white light reflected from the stone whereas the "fire" regards the rainbow of color we can see when a stone has a high dispersion rate.
Moissanite has a dispersion rate of 0.104 compared to 0.044 of a diamond which means it actually reflects more than twice the amount of light!
Whilst diamonds cannot be beaten in terms of fire and brilliance, the high refractive index and dispersion of moissanite give it a unique sparkle and shine that offers more flashes of color than the pure white light reflected from a diamond.
They both exude brilliance but offer a different quality of sparkle.
The cut of these stones very simply refers to the shape in which the original mineral is refined for optimum brilliance and fire.
Typical cuts include round cut moissanite (round brilliant), oval cut moissanite, square-cut moissanite (princess cut), pear-shaped moissanite, emerald cut moissanite, and Asscher cut moissanite. Another lesser-known addition is the Charles & Colvard special rose-cut which came about during the 1500s.
This particular cut has its own stand-out qualities, one of which being its resemblance to the petals of a rosebud. This can give the illusion of a larger stone and is also incredibly romantic when used as the feature cut for an engagement ring.
As with all stones, the cut quality contributes to its overall depth and character. Every moissanite is crafted by hand for optimum light distribution as is the case with diamonds.
Whilst diamonds are graded on the GIA Color scale ranging from D to Z, moissanite is graded by the appearance of greens and yellows within the stone. Moissanite can certainly be deemed colorless or near-colorless but often it is the presence of the yellow or green hue that can make it particularly distinguishable from the diamond.
Whilst the default color of moissanite is not colorless and can be compared to a diamond with the GIA color K, there are two important premium color quality moissanite gradings that we can look at:
Forever Brilliant Moissanite
Forever Brilliant Moissanite is considered Charles & Colvard’s initial attempt at creating a colorless moissanite gemstone. However, due to technological restraints at the time, they only achieved a near-colorless stone.
Forever One Moissanite
Forever One Moissanite is their newest and greatest success in creating a truly colorless and dazzling moissanite that dares to rival that of the coveted diamond. The difference between Forever Brilliant Moissanite and Forever One Moissanite can be confusing but the only thing we need to know is that, if you’re after a truly colorless moissanite then Forever One is what you need!
Both diamonds and moissanite can be grown with inclusions that detract from the clarity quality of the stone. However, whereas diamonds can be graded on the GIA system and can contain noticeable blemishes and inclusions, moissanite is often considered mostly flawless.
Due to their lab-manufactured origins, the controlled environment makes it possible to allow for fewer variables. Because of this, it is less likely that we will find moissanite with a comparable clarity grade of below VS on the GIA scale.
If we’re going to get technical here then the specific gravity of a diamond is 3.52 compared to that of 3.22 for moissanite.
I’m sure we all have come to know that one of the key determining factors when it comes to pricing our diamonds is their carat weight. However, moissanite uses its length and width in millimeters to determine its size and thus its price tag!
The reason for this is because moissanite is actually 15% lighter than its diamond counterpart. So a moissanite stone measuring the same size as a 1-carat diamond will not weigh 1 carat. This means that moissanite with the same carat weight will be substantially larger in size! How great!🤹🏻♀️
Price and Value
Let’s look at the all-important price and value comparisons of diamonds and moissanite.
The price of a diamond is distinguished according to the 4Cs GIA grading system of cut, color, clarity and carat.
A moissanite stone in comparison is a lot lighter and based primarily on the color of the stone with the premium being the highest grade available. A moissanite stone that is the same size (not carat weight) as a diamond will weigh considerably less because of its specific gravity.
Being lighter than the diamond means you can increase the size of the stone and still pay less.
Although the process of creating lab-grown moissanite is lengthy and expensive, they are considerably more affordable than a mined or lab-developed diamond. Naturally mined diamonds are still considered rare and for the highest quality of diamond, we can demand a premium price.
As we can see here, this premium colorless round moissanite with a diameter of 6.5mm (which is similar to that of a 1-carat diamond) is priced at $690.
In contrast, this 1 carat ideal round cut diamond, graded a G color and VS2 in clarity jumps up in price to $5216. As we can see, there is a pretty huge difference in price between these two stones!
Unfortunately, where value is concerned, moissanite should not be considered as a worthwhile investment. A lab-formed gem will never be able to compare with the quality and uniqueness of a naturally mined stone, especially one as rare as a diamond.
⚖️Historically, diamonds have only increased in value over time which means they are worth your investment in many cases. When we add to this the sentimentality and symbolism held by the diamond; that of purity, perfection, and power, the moissanite can hardly compete with the value in comparison.
The rarer a gemstone the higher its value and although we can have lab-grown diamonds, naturally formed are generally far more sought after. Therefore, their value is far higher than the manufactured moissanite.
With the same chemical make-up as a natural diamond, the differences between moissanite and lab-grown diamond are pretty much identical to those between moissanite and natural diamonds.
The main difference worth taking into account is that a lab-created diamond will be more affordable than a naturally mined diamond. However, they will still come with a much bigger price tag than the moissanite!
Moissanites Vs Other diamond simulants
Let’s compare moissanite with two more colorless stones which are often for the diamond simulation qualities. We’ll be comparing the moissanite with the cubic zirconia and white sapphires.
Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia
Whereas moissanite is a crystalline substance also known as silicon carbide, cubic zirconia is scientifically known as zirconium dioxide.
Whilst cubic zirconia ranks a respectable 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it is out-ranked by moissanite which sits at a hefty 9.25, making it more robust and preferable for longevity.
When comparing the two, the price and value are worlds apart. Cubic zirconia is considered almost worthless, and while the moissanite does not compare in value to that of a diamond, it is certainly a more expensive option compared to the CZ.
Both stones can be considered flawless, however, the manufacturing process of a CZ means that it almost always arrives to market with zero inclusions.😱 This is different from the moissanite that is carefully vetted and created under conditions that try to mitigate inclusions but they are more likely to occur with its chemical structure.
All CZ stones are considered colorless due to their manufacturing process and, whereas premium moissanite gems are also considered colorless, we are more likely to see a variety of greenish-yellowish stones on the market.
A similarity that these two stones possess is the fire they exhibit. Both stones can be expected to exude flashes of rainbow color which distinguish them from the white light of a diamond.
Moissanite vs. White Sapphires
Let’s take a look at the difference between moissanite and white sapphires.
White sapphires are part of the corundum family of sapphires and rubies which rank at 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This puts them as the third hardest stone after diamonds and moissanite. In terms of durability, the two diamond simulants are very similar however moissanite is slightly more robust which contributes to longevity.
The white sapphire has a considerably lower refractive index and dispersion rate compared to moissanite meaning that it offers less fire and brilliance. With the refraction index of 2.65-2.69 compared to a sapphire’s 1.77 a fire of 0.104 compared to the sapphire’s 0.018, there is a considerable difference in sparkle between these two stones.
If you’re seeking a more affordable option then the white sapphire is certainly worth your attention as it comes in at a lower price than the moissanite.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that the white sapphire requires more care and attention.
Regular cleaning is required for it to keep its shine and avoid dirt build-up. If it doesn’t have regular upkeep it can become cloudy over time.
Although white sapphires are mined naturally from the ground, they undergo intensive heat treatment to give them a colorless finish. In this respect, we are less likely to see the flashes of color that we might find in the moissanite.
To easily compare the four colorless stones we have discussed, reference the below table!
|Diamond||Moissanite||Cubic Zirconia||White Sapphire|
|Beauty and Brilliance||Fascinating fire, brilliance and sparkle||More fire and brilliance than diamonds; a different quality of sparkle||More fire and less brilliance||Less fire and brilliance than diamonds|
|Color||From light yellow or brown to colorless, depends on the color quality chosen||Near-colorless; under certain lights, yellow and green tints can be seen||Colorless||A cloudy white hue|
|Clarity||Different levels of inclusions and blemishes depending on the clarity grade chosen, but some flaws are eye-clean||The average clarity level is higher than that of natural diamonds||Can be regarded as flawless||Tends to have more inclusions and blemishes than diamonds, but depends on the quality chosen; some are invisible|
Around 15% lighter than a diamond
Heavier than a diamond
Slightly heavier than a diamond
Would you choose moissanite? The pros and cons
Let’s take a look over the pros and cons of moissanite to see if this stone would be appropriate for you!
- Moissanite is a more affordable diamond alternative. It can easily be mistaken as a diamond to the untrained eye and so moissanite wedding jewelry is a perfect option when diamonds are out of our budget.
- Due to being laboratory-created, only the highest quality of stones are used for jewelry manufacturing. With the controlled conditions and strict processing guidelines, we are able to produce more high-quality stones with fewer inclusions.
- Lab-created stones can be desirable for those wishing to find ethically sourced stones.
- High refractive index and dispersion rate allow for greater brilliance and fire meaning these stones truly dazzle and glitter in the light.
- Being 15% lighter than the diamond counterpart means that we can have a larger stone for a more affordable price.
- Ranking at a 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness means it is incredibly durable and the next best option to a diamond if you are searching for longevity.
- The high refractive index and dispersion allow for such great fire and brilliance that some can consider this stone to have a false looking sparkle. Indeed, it does not have the subtlety of a diamond which can be off-putting for some.
- Moissanite has a comparatively lower worth than that of a diamond. As a lab-grown gemstone, it does not hold any real value and is unappealing to those seeking investment. Whereas diamonds make for exquisite family heirlooms, moissanite does not hold the same sentimental quality.
- Although most are vetted before going to market, it is possible to find moissanite stones that contain a slight hint of a yellow or greenish hue which can make them easy to spot as a diamond substitute.
Our advice on choosing moissanite for your jewelry
Following on from all of the information above, we’re now going to give you a quick overview of things that you should consider before choosing moissanite for your jewelry.📝
- Moissanite is a fabulous diamond simulant and would be the perfect choice for anyone seeking a diamond alternative. However, as you may well know, a lot of us can be rather enthusiastic about diamonds and so it is advisable to consider the wearer’s thoughts when choosing between one or the other. A moissanite engagement ring can make for a stunning piece but for some, it will matter that the stone is not a diamond. You might find the wearer holds preference to a smaller, slightly lower quality diamond ring that they can show off to the world!
- The fire and brilliance provided by the moissanite could be considered a huge benefit to most. However, for some, this display of color and sparkle can be off-putting. With such a stark contrast to its diamond superior, it can be what points an arrow to this stone and says, "I’m not a real diamond!". If you’re not sure whether you might like the extra fire and brilliance on the moissanite then we encourage you to compare the moissanite and diamond side by side with the help of a jeweler, or online using a 360-degree video comparison.
- We can use a unique combination of moissanite and diamonds together to create a unique piece of jewelry full of character and individuality whilst also spending less money. If we look at this halo moissanite and diamond engagement ring here we can see the center moissanite stone is enhanced by the diamond side/accent stones. A winning combination!🙌🏻 With that said, we don't always have to choose one or the other, there are many options available.
- A top tip: Do not store moissanite and diamond jewelry together. Despite the high durability of moissanite, it ranks lower on the Mohs hardness scale meaning it is susceptible to scratching when in contact with a diamond. Keep them separate, keep them safe.
Where to buy moissanite?
As always, we like to offer you some of our favorite recommendations for where to purchase your jewelry. Today, for the moissanite, it is worth considering Charles & Colvard and Brilliant Earth.
Charles & Colvard
Charles & Colvard are considered pioneers of the moissanite stone.🎊 You could not wish to be in better hands. Armed with knowledge and expertise, you can be sure to find a quality moissanite piece no matter what your criteria.
They have focused time and energy on producing the premium grade Forever One Moissanite, the best you could wish to find! So, if you’re looking for expert guidance and a quality product, this is where you want to be.
The Brilliant Earth moissanite collection offers a stunning variety of moissanite diamonds for any jewelry piece. You can head over to their website to choose from a wide range of moissanite cuts and sizes to suit your needs.
With an extensive catalog of customer reviews, you can be guaranteed that you will be purchasing from a respected retailer that has the customer in mind. No matter what you choose, Brilliant Earth can guarantee to guide you through the purchasing process.
They pride themselves on their ethically sourced jewelry which makes them a go-to for many jewelry owners!
❤️To be sure, if you’re seeking a perfect diamond alternative you couldn’t make a better choice than the stone that fell from the stars.
Whether you're after moissanite earrings, a moissanite necklace, or moissanite wedding jewelry; this stone will offer you fire and brilliance that is simply unmatched by any other. Despite starting its journey in a lab which can be undesirable for many, the pros of this gemstone seemingly outweigh the cons.
We encourage you to consider this as an option, whether you are looking for a diamond simulant or not. It is dazzling in its own right and deserves our attention and recognition.