Moissanite VS Diamonds: The Ultimate Guide

Diamond Shape And Style
Diamond Shape And Style

Moissanite, a gemstone of the people. An affordable diamond simulant, moissanite is a diamond to the naked, common eye. Besides being affordable which plays a lot in its favor, it is also eco friendly, since it’s made in a lab.
But Natural diamonds on the other hand have their own charm which lies in their age, something lab stimulants can’t achieve. The value of natural diamonds lies in their scarcity and the fact that they are art. To put it into perspective, when an artist’s actual painting is always worth more than its prints. Similarly, nature’s own art piece, the diamond will always be worth more than its lab made copies.
Both the print and the actual art have a different target audience, much like diamond stimulants and diamonds.
Read on to know more about The Moissanite, The Diamond, their history, characteristics and the answers to some frequently asked questions!

HISTORY - Its Origin

A link to outer space, moissanite was first discovered by Dr. Henri Moissan, in an Arizonian crater examining expedition. It was in 1893, that he came across this diamond like gem and mistook it for one but it wasn’t until 1904 that he corrected his statement claiming that the gems were actually crystals, called silicon carbide, also better known as Moissanite.

While it took Dr. Moissan the better part of a decade to rectify his error, Edward G Ascheon developed a process to grow moissanite in the confines of a laboratory. The formation of moissanite in the lab is a replication of the happenings of the undersurface of our earth. Using a combination of heat and pressure, the crystals are produced in a lab from silicon carbide over a course of two to three months.

Moissanite, the naturally occurring kind, is even rarer than a diamond and to find a crystal big enough to make a 1-carat diamond ring is almost next to impossible. Owing to this unexplainable rarity, the production of moissanite completely switched to laboratories and every once in a while, allegations were raised regarding its credibility as a diamond substitute. But the consumer spectrum of the jewelry industry welcomed this affordable and environment-friendly substitute with open arms.
The word diamond stems from the Greek word, “adamas” which means indestructible and unconquerable because only a diamond can cut a diamond. This is because the diamond is the hardest material in the world. First discovered in India, the diamond since its discovery has been synonymous with mystery. It was quite often considered celestial and believed to cure sickness, ward off evil and even ensure victory.
The diamond is most prominent in the jewelry industry, owing to its flawless beauty and use as a status symbol. This demand clubbed with its rarity, sets the diamond upon a pedestal and its price through the roof. But the diamond will always be a diamond, the epitome of gemstones.
Now that you have a brief idea about both, let’s switch to a different narrative; Moissanite and Diamond, a comparison.

Difference Between Moissanite & Diamonds

The moissanite gem is widely rumored to have a higher brilliance than the actual diamond. Well, what exactly is brilliance? Brilliance is the ability of a gemstone to refract light that falls upon it, in technical terms it is the ability of a gemstone to bend light. The moissanite stone has a higher refractive index, which gives it an upper hand in terms of sparkle. (FYI: the refractive index of moissanite varies between 2.65 to 2.69 and that of diamonds’ is 2.419) Moreover, while a diamond lets out a classy ray of white brilliance, the moissanite displays a fantastic rainbow effect. In conclusion, the rumors heard it right, the moissanite indeed has a higher brilliance but the intensity comes at the cost of the color of brilliance.

Next, Diamonds, we know are forever but what about Moissanite?
The Mohs is a scale that measures the stiffness of minerals and rates them from 1 to 10. Diamonds, the perfect gemstones, are a 10/10 on the Mohs scale. Thus, they are the choice for wedding and engagement rings owing to their high resistance to depreciation.

But do moissanite last as long as diamonds?

The moissanite has a solid ranking of 9.25/10 on the Mohs scale and considering this, if diamonds are forever, moissanite are almost eternal as well.

Moissanite vs Diamond

Last and hands down the most important factor that sets moissanite and diamonds apart is the cost.
Diamonds are extracted from the depths of the earth, resulting in additional costs of mining and transport while simultaneously burdening the environment. Combined with this and their natural rarity, diamonds are quite expensive. Although here it is imperative to mention that owing to customer outrage, the diamond industry has come a long way. Not only are measures undertaken to sustainably farm diamonds but also against the exploitation of workers.
Although if you are not willing to break the bank to buy a ring, moissanite is an amazing diamond alternative. Because moissanite is shockingly only 1/10th the cost of a diamond but seemingly similar in terms of brilliance, hardness, and appearance. And a gemstone that doesn’t contribute towards tarnishing the environment and lies well within your budget has reason enough to be your gemstone of choice.
By now it is abundantly clear that moissanite looks like a diamond but is significantly cheaper yet we still don’t have answers to other more technical questions.

Moissanite vs Diamond Price

The price of gemstones doesn’t really depend upon a single factor, it takes into account the carat, the cut, the color and the clarity. All of these factors have a scale within to rate every individual gemstone. So naturally you can only compare gemstones of the same cut, color, carat and clarity to form a correct opinion.
And if you have previously looked up moissanite, the size must have been a cause of some confusion because unlike diamonds, it is priced based upon its width in millimeters. To make comparison easier, this width can be converted into Diamond Equivalent Weight (DEW) which tells you the carat which approximately goes with the weight and also compares between a diamond carat and a moissanite carat. This varies with each cut as well. Moissanite Size (in mm) Cut Moissanite Average Carat Weight (MOI) Diamond Equivalent Weight (DEW)
1 7.5 Round 1.35 1.50
2 10 Round 3.08 3.60
3 6.5 Cushion 1.21 1.30
4 7x5 Emerald 0.98 1.05
5 10x8 Emerald 3.17 3.50
6 8 Heart 1.61 1.80
7 10x5 Marquise 0.90 1.00
8 8x6 Oval 1.33 1.50
9 9x6 Pear 1.33 1.50
10 10x8 Radiant 3.51 3.90

For more information you can refer to Charles & Colvard who has illustrated the above in greater detail for Moissanite.

This clears up the carat and cut aspect but what about the color and clarity?

The color of a diamond is graded according to the alphabets. Here D, E and F are gradings given to an almost colorless diamond and considered the best. This is followed by G,H,I and J for near colorless diamonds, K to M for faint color and N to Z for detectable color.

Diamond clarity signifies the number of indentations that a diamond has. For More information on GIA diamond clarity, cut and color, please check our diamond knowledge center.

Moissanite on the other hand doesn't have a separate color and clarity scale and is usually rated on the same scale as a diamond.

Now that you know the various characteristics that determine the price of a gemstone, let’s compare some diamond stud earrings from the Fascinating Diamonds website, on replacing the natural diamond with a moissanite and a lab diamond.

1 Carat 2,762 1,402 702
2 Carat 9,462 3,582 1,162
3 Carat 21,087 6,807 1,287
4 Carat 41,709 8,427 1,827
5 Carat 77,060 10,312 2,512

To sum this up, moissanite is the cheapest, followed by lab diamonds and finally natural diamonds.

What are the different ways to tell the two apart?

Moissanite and Diamonds have certain physical differences which can help you tell them apart. These methods, although quick, might fail if the features are too minute to distinguish to the naked eye yet it doesn’t hurt to know them.
As aforementioned moissanite has a rainbow brilliance and fire as compared to the stark white of diamonds. Against a light source this quality will reflect and if there is a rainbow sparkle within the gem, it might be a moissanite. Moissanite is also lighter than a diamond because it is less dense but again this is relative and can’t confirm whether your gem is a moissanite or something else.
It is obvious that ultimately Moissanite testers are the most reliable source to confirm whether your gem is a moissanite or not.

Which moissanite cut looks most like a diamond?

The answer to this is the classic Round cut. The specific facets and details of the round cut have proven to be easier to replicate than other cuts. This makes a round-cut diamonds and round cut moissanite of the same carat virtually indistinguishable. The round cut is closely followed by the princess cut and ice crushed oval moissanite (a distorted version of a normal cut moissanite).

Resale Value

Besides cut and color, a lot of people consider the resale value of moissanite as compared to diamonds. But Diamonds themselves are notorious for being expensive and yet barely having a resale value and moissanite in this regard has little resale value.
This might shine a negative light upon both diamonds and moissanite but only if you take a single-dimensional look at them. And nothing is that simple. Whenever you purchase something, the price includes all hidden costs such as labor, raw material, etc. Similarly, when you buy jewelry, it includes the cost of gemstones, metal base, labor, transport but most importantly the skill of the designer and workers. The moment you purchase it, the hidden costs have been paid for and are deducted from the value of the engagement ring. Thus on resale, you only receive payment for the tangible gemstones and valuable metal.
Thus both the moissanite and the diamond barely have a resale value, although that of a diamond is higher. Because the Moissanite costs about one tenth of a diamond and the precious diamond which is quite pricey has very little resale value, it is unjust to expect the moissanite to have any. In our opinion both diamonds and moissanite should not be bought with an investment or resale point of view because you are sure to lose money.
That doesn’t mean that moissanite isn’t worth anything because if you choose to resell, it might turn up something but keep in mind the something will be proportionate to what you initially paid for it.

Lab Diamonds and Moissanite

Lastly, moissanite is often called a cheap diamond and in more technical terms a diamond simulant which is often confused with lab grown diamonds. Moissanite and lab diamonds are as similar as moissanite and natural diamonds.
But lab diamonds are cheaper than natural diamonds because they are made in a lab on replicating the process of natural formation of a diamond. This removes the rarity and extraction element while retaining the chemical composition. They are more expensive than moissanite because lab diamonds are essentially diamonds and have the same characteristics while moissanite is a diamond simulant which varies from the two in terms of chemical composition, hardness, brilliance and price.
To draw a close to this article, moissanite is an affordable diamond simulant that often passes for a real diamond. Affordable and eco-friendly, moissanite rings retain their charm and beauty through the years, much like natural diamond rings. If you want to save a pretty penny, check out our beautiful moissanite rings HERE.
Yet the diamond will forever retain its charm and if you want the actual art, check out some of our favorite diamond rings HERE.