There is so much to consider when it comes to engagement ring stones – beauty, durability, price, and more. And, with a newcomer taking its place in the engagement ring scene – gentlemen picking engagement rings for their fiancés are torn in two.
Diamond and Moissanite.
Diamond reigned supreme in the world of engagement rings, but with concerns about environmental and ethical costs, some buyers are starting to look at other options. And, what else will they be looking at than diamond’s most prominent contenders in engagement rings that remarkably looks like it?
Table of Contents
What Is Moissanite?
Arizona, 1893 – in a crater created by a meteorite that fell to the Earth, French scientist Henri Moissan first discovered microscopic particles of the gem that later on bore his name. The scientist initially thought he found diamonds only to find out they were crystals out of silicon carbide.
Moissanite looks similar to a diamond at first glance but is far different. Diamond is made of carbon, while moissanite is made of pure silicon carbide. The latter is a scarce and naturally-occurring mineral.
Moissan’s discovery in 1893 is exceptionally rare that it is impossible to use natural moissanite for pieces of jewelry. So much that moissanite in the market today are laboratory created. It took many years of trial and error and countless efforts to synthesize what is now a scintillating gemstone successfully.
Although moissanite is made to have the same illusion as diamonds, it is still compositionally and visually different from a real diamond. The two are far distinct when it comes to durability, brilliance, and color. In short, there is no moissanite diamond, like what most say. There is moissanite. And, there is diamond.
Diamond vs. Moissanite: Side By Side Comparison
Although moissanite is an effective diamond stimulant, the most debated question remains – “which is more beautiful between the two?” Jewelry experts often need a moissanite tester to measure electrical conductivity. The result tells a lot about the difference between moissanite and diamond.
A loupe is also necessary for close visual examinations.
Diamond vs. Moissanite In Terms of Price
The four Cs (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat) tell a lot about the diamond’s price and value. All four work together to form the beauty and brilliance expected from the stone. Since diamonds are natural rather than artificial, the price, value, and quality vary hugely.
On another note, most moissanites cost about the same price except in the size and type difference and whether they are enhanced or unenhanced.
It is essential to recognize the differences in features, quality, and beauty between diamonds and moissanite. Your decision in picking between the two shouldn’t be based on being affordable. Remember that just because the price is lower doesn’t mean it is a better deal.
The difference in price between diamond and moissanite are evident. But, when it comes to lasting value and true beauty, diamonds are incomparable. Moissanite weighs about 15% less than diamonds, making the accurate comparison of price impossible. So, instead of using carat weight, they are priced according to their size in mm. Here’s an estimated close comparison of the two.
|Size (in carats)||Diamond Price||Size (nearest equivalent to carat)||Moissanite Price|
Diamond vs. Moissanite In Terms of Color
Moissanite and diamonds seem similar in color from a distance and under low lighting. The significant difference in color between the two appears more when viewed up close, sometimes even without a loupe.
Both can be colorless or have some color to them. Some say that moissanite has traditionally carried a yellowish or greenish hue to it. But, manufacturers have been refining the creation method over time that high-quality moissanite is now produced colorless.
Diamond colors vary greatly. Its color is graded on a D-Z scale, with D being colorless, Z being yellowish or brownish, and those beyond Z as fancy color diamonds. Thus, diamonds can be anything from colorless to yellow, pink to blue, green, red, or brown.
Diamond vs. Moissanite In Terms of Clarity
Similar to diamonds, moissanites are commonly imperfect. Small blemishes will often appear visible when they’re viewed under magnification. Therefore, when it comes to clarity, it is pretty much the same with moissanite. It varies on the amount or lack of imperfections and inclusions.
The majority of moissanite being sold are graded for clarity with the same scale the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) uses to assess diamonds’ clarity. Note that GIA nor AGS (American Gem Society) doesn’t give a clarity grade. Instead, the manufacturer or the seller produces it.
Given that moissanite is artificial unlike diamonds, it is unusual to see for sale moissanites below VS level clarity. Generally, moissanite’s clarity is close to being a flawless majority of the time.
Diamond vs. Moissanite In Terms of Cut
Diamonds and moissanite both come in a variety of different cuts. There are round, oval, pear, cushion, princess, and radiant moissanite, and so does with diamonds. Some moissanite is even cut in antique methods used with diamonds for over a hundred years now.
However, the most popular cut used with moissanite is the round brilliant cut. Why? Because of these three factors:
- Round brilliant cut presents moissanite’s maximum brilliance and fire. In this cut, the stone sparkles when exposed to bright light entering the stone and bounces off its facet in varied directions.
- The round brilliant cut hides color and makes the stone appear nearly as flawless. It is a significant advantage for moissanite, considering moissanite are usually yellowish to greenish.
- The most versatile cut is the round brilliant cut. Therefore it will look perfect in both modern and vintage engagement rings or other pieces of jewelry.
In summary, moissanite looks best in cuts that conceal color and highlight their brilliance.
Diamond vs. Moissanite In Terms of Hardness
On Mohs scale, diamond is at a ten, which is no surprise considering it is the most rigid material. Diamond is so hard that only a diamond can scratch another diamond. Moissanite scales at 9.25. They come second as the most rigid material as a gemstone.
Diamonds are incredibly durable and resilient; thus, they are perfect for engagement rings. They can stand scratches and other damage that may affect their appearance.
At 9.25, can moissanite stand the same hurdles as diamonds? Not quite. They are durable but not as much as a diamond. The only gems that can scratch moissanite are those that scale the same or higher – like moissanite or diamonds.
Diamond vs. Moissanite In Terms of Brilliance
Diamonds can bend and refract light, so when you see a diamond sparkle, that’s brilliance. Brilliance happens when the pavilions (the angled surfaces on the lower half of the diamond) is stricken with light that bounces and refracts it through the diamond’s table.
Brilliance is a remarkable quality of diamonds.
Moissanite has its share of sparkle. They have facets that are cut and formed differently, causing less white light refraction than diamond. Moissanites sparkle but not as clear, vivid, and brilliant as that of a diamond.
What’s interesting is the higher refractive index of moissanite. The Refractive index is the measure of the speed at which light travels through the material. Moissanites refractive index is 2.65, which is a fraction higher than diamonds at 2.42.
Fire is the light reflection of colored or rainbow light. Diamond’s signature brilliance includes fire. Moissanite also emits vibrant colored reflection, but they do it in a more extensive and dazzling effect that many people don’t prefer.
Is Moissanite Considered A Diamond
As hinted earlier, you should not confuse moissanite for a diamond. While they are nearly identical, they are two different gemstones for many various reasons – from its substance to brilliance and down to color.
Diamonds are natural gems. They are formed of the most rigid material and carries exceptional beauty and value. Isn’t moissanite a natural gemstone, you may ask? The answer is yes and no. Although it is a naturally occurring mineral, its existence on Earth is in minimal quantities.
Moissanite came from space transported to Earth through a meteorite. Thus are almost always lab-created and made from silicon carbide. The formation brings numerous visual differences from color to the light performance.
Is it considered diamond? No. Is it better or worse than a diamond? The question lies in a subjective margin that there is no general answer. But, moissanite is not any better or any worse than a diamond. Instead, they are two different gems with different characteristics to offer.
Pros and Cons of Moissanite
Although moissanite offers many unique benefits over diamonds, these benefits aren’t always appealing to buyers. These advantages can still add up to the factors you may consider when picking between moissanite and diamond.
Moissanite is substantially more cost-effective than diamond. You can purchase a larger gem at almost half the diamond’s price. It is a massive advantage if you are working on a limited budget.
Since it is fabricated artificially, they aren’t sold unless they pass the highest clarity grade. Jewelry stores that sell moissanite won’t have anything of this gem that has noticeable inclusions and blemishes.
Some may consider this factor as a downside, but others may appreciate the technology that brought moissanite. It is especially true if the ethical side of diamond buying greatly concerns you.
The high refractive index of moissanite brings a healthy level of brilliance with an evident level of color. While some may find the sparkle unnatural, others like how very bright and eye-catching the stone gets.
Diamond’s brilliance is one of the characteristics that most buyers look for. It has to be eye-catching but elegant and with white sparkle. Moissanite’s highly intense and strong sparkle looks unnatural that turns some buyer off.
From a cultural perspective, they are still not diamond. Tradition has engagement rings associated with diamonds as it is a strong symbol of marriage and romance. They may look nice and almost-diamond but, they’re still not the traditional gemstone that most prefer.
Moissanite being less expensive is one thing. Being valuable is another. Diamonds are not always suggested as an investment, but they retain value over time. They can even be passed on from generation to generation as a family heirloom. Something that can’t be done with moissanite.
Where to Purchase Moissanite or Diamond Engagement Ring
Always read about the diamond quality before deciding on a diamond engagement ring. This practice keeps you from paying more than necessary. Since diamonds are expensive and considered personal purchases, a close up look at how it shines and sparkles is a step you want to do before buying.
Online dealers like James Allen and the Blue Nile give you the most for your money. They provide an extensive 360° video of their diamonds, so you have a better look at the diamond ring you are thinking of choosing. Both have the most comprehensive selections of diamonds, and you are sure to find what you think is the best.
With moissanite’s far less variable quality, the shopping experience is easy. The original manufacturer of gem-grade moissanite, Charles & Colvard offers hundreds of ring styles to pick from, and all are available online.
Sometimes, there’s that one style you have in your head that you can’t see at any fine jewelry stores. If that is the case, experts at CustomMade will be happy to help. It doesn’t matter whether it is diamond or moissanite you chose; they can help you achieve the perfect ring that fits your style and budget.
Affordable Diamond Alternatives
Aside from moissanite, the market is full of other diamond alternatives you can choose from. Here are other choices you may want to take note of if you are looking away from diamond engagement rings:
- Colored gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. They all make for a unique and exquisite engagement ring. Many of these gemstones are less costly than diamonds but can retain heirloom value.
- Lab-created diamonds may present specific issues like a lack of resale value. Still, if you are on a budget but don’t want to compromise the ring’s look, lab-created diamonds are worthy of your consideration.
- Cubic zirconia has been making noise in the engagement ring scene. They are a fraction of the diamond’s price but present their own beauty.
Diamond or moissanite? What should you pick?
Diamonds are undoubtedly attractive. They can make for the perfect engagement ring and heirloom. However, there are times that you just might not have your heart set on a diamond, and that’s perfectly fine.
The guilt that comes from buying a diamond – high cost, ethical values, etc., may concern you that you may want to look for other choices. If you are looking at moissanite, you are looking at a good option, too. They are sparkly and shiny and are practically as durable as their look-alike diamond.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Where can you find moissanite deposits?
A: Moissanites are naturally from outer space and are brought to the Earth by meteorites that landed more than a century ago. Thus, the minimal amount of moissanite sources. But, natural moissanite deposits are starting to appear around the world. There is one in Wyoming and some in certain parts of Russia. Still, there is only a limited supply from these deposits, thus the artificial manufacturing in laboratory environments.
Q: Is moissanite long lasting?
A: Moissanite is strong and is considered a durable gemstone. It can last a lifetime without losing its appearance or getting damaged. The right setting can help, too. Pick a setting that is made from metals like platinum or gold. That jewelry can indeed last a long time.
Q: Do moissanite turn cloudy in time?
A: The other diamond alternative – cubic zirconia is known to degrade its appearance over time. Not moissanite. They don’t get cloudy with age. With regular wear, it can accumulate dirt, oils, and other substances. But, it is nothing a simple cleaning can clear.