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Diamond vs Moissanite

Your complete guide

Of course there’s a whole world of precious and semi-precious gemstones that have been used in fine jewellery throughout history, but not all gemstones alike. In fact, each type of stone is amazingly different. One gemstone people ask us to use in their engagement ring is moissanite. This is because, given its clear colour and eye-catching sparkle, a moissanite engagement ring is a common alternative to diamond.

However, our workshop has chosen not to craft our engagement rings with moissanites, instead opting to specialise in both lab grown diamond and natural diamond, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and tourmalines.

The reason we work with these gemstones exclusively is because they’re exceptionally beautiful, and durable. Because an engagement ring is typically worn on a daily basis, it’s going to get exposed to knocks and bumps over a lifetime. The gemstones we work with have been chosen because they’re strong enough to be up to the challenge of daily life and will maintain their beauty over time.

What is a moissanite?

Moissanite was first discovered in the late-nineteenth century. Deposits of raw moissanite were found in a meteor crater and since then it remains a fairly rare gemstone as it’s not commonly found in nature. It is however easily produced in a lab, and therefore the lack of natural moissanite on the gemstone market is supplemented with lab grown moissanite (which is physically and molecularly identical to a moissanite gem found in the earth).

What is a diamond?

Diamonds are an iconic gemstone, having been revered in human cultures around the world of millenia. Today diamonds are mined around the world, with countries such as South Africa, the US, and Russia leading the industry’s diamond rough output. But over the past few decades, technology has been developed that can manufacture diamonds in a laboratory. Known as ‘lab grown diamonds’, this category of diamonds are both physically and molecularly identical to traditionally mined diamonds. They look exactly the same as any other kind of diamond, the only difference is their origin. Lab grown diamonds are very affordable, and a higher quality alternative to moissanite.

Diamonds are the hardest known material on earth, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale. Diamonds are known for their incredible brilliance and scintillation.

Is moissanite a diamond simulant?

While a moissanite has been viewed as a type of diamond simulant or replacement, it is still a gemstone in its own right. Gemstones such as moissanite, cubic zirconia, and white sapphire are all typically known as ‘diamond simulants’. Cubic zirconia is often labelled as a synthetic diamond. However, each gemstone has a completely different chemical makeup and physical structure to actual diamonds.

diamond vs moissanite vs cubic zirconia vs sapphire vs quartz

How does a moissanite differ from a diamond?

Despite how it might look at the outset, these two gemstones probably share more differences than they do similarities. A moissanite gemstone can be used as a diamond alternative but it’s important to understand that they differ not just in appearance, but in a range of properties such as hardness, colour, and brilliance. The gallery below shows diamonds on the left and moissanites on the right.

Hardness

There’s no denying that moissanites are durable. On the Mohs scale of hardness, moissanite stone is rated at 9.25, which is higher than any gemstone used in jewellery other than diamonds. Diamonds, which are the hardest known material, score a 10.

Both moissanite and diamond make superbly resilient stone choices, especially for a ring worn almost every day.

Colour

Diamonds are graded, with colourless diamonds being the most highly valued, whereas moissanite stones are not graded against this standard (although colourless moissanite is still the most desired).

A typical moissanite looks fairly ‘white’ or ‘clear’, but they are not colourless. In reality they bear a hue similar to a GIA-certified K-colour diamond. This places it in the faint colour scale, as opposed to colourless or near colourless.

As with diamonds , the smaller the moissanite, the more colourless it will appear. Advances in lab grown moissanite creation has resulted in colours comparable to a GIA-certified H-colour diamond and even more recently, an E-colour diamond. However, these are limited in supply. Under certain lights, moissanites may exhibit a yellow, green or grey tint, visible more so in larger stones and especially next to a diamond (as shown on the moissanite below on the right side of the image).

Brilliance

Brilliance refers to the ability to reflect white light and determines how much a diamond sparkles-a key quality of any gemstone used in an engagement ring. Moissanite disperses light very well and tends to be more brilliant than a diamond, however, a diamond exhibits more ‘life’ in its light dispersion as displayed below. Even when the image is out of focus, you can see the level of light dispersion more clearly from the diamond on the left.

Why do people choose moissanite?

Many choose a moissanite engagement ring simply because it does a good job at simulating the aesthetic of a diamond, without the premium price tag. Also, as moissanites are made in a laboratory, they are often a low-emission and ethical option when it comes to buying a newly made gemstone.

Moissanites can be a good choice for an engagement ring. However, with recent improvements to the quality and availability of lab grown diamonds, we recommend lab grown diamonds over moissanites every time. Lab grown diamonds have become increasingly more affordable over the years and offer the exact same quality as a natural diamond, making them the perfect choice for an affordable diamond engagement ring. Take a look at our lab grown diamond search to view our selection of affordable diamonds.

Why do people prefer diamonds to moissanites?

Diamonds benefit from being the hardest material on earth. Unless scratched by another diamond, these iconic gemstones will not be damaged and you can expect yours to look the same as the day you bought it for millions of years to come (with regular cleaning, of course!). Many people opt for diamonds despite their price premium due to the cultural traditions that have emerged surrounding a diamond engagement ring . Finally, the internal fire and scintillation of a diamond is brighter than any other gemstone due to the crystal structure’s light dispersion. Because of this, people are willing to pay a higher price point for the unmatched sparkle that comes with a diamond.

In summary, both moissanites and diamonds make good gemstones for fine jewellery that will be worn every day. Both are durable and do a great job at reflecting light. However, when examined in detail, diamonds have a few key properties that distinguish them from moissanites (hardness, colour, sparkle, and availability of earth-grown supplies) and it’s for these reasons that we work with diamonds exclusively. If the affordability of a moissanite is what you’re after, we suggest taking a look at lab grown diamonds, which offer all the benefits of a diamond (they are completely real diamonds afterall!) at a fraction of the cost. Why not go for the highest quality materials while also staying within your price range?

Lab grown diamond rings

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