When moissanite was introduced to the jewelry audience for the first time, many were confused and impressed by its striking similarity to diamond. It is true, both gems look pretty much alike, you cannot tell them apart. However, moissanite and diamond would not be classified as two separate types of precious stones if there is no difference between them. Is it the color, the brilliance or maybe the hardness? Moissanite vs Diamond, the ongoing rivalry that unites consumers to finally understand which one of these two stunners is a better option for them. Stay tuned.
KEY FACTS ABOUT MOISSANITE
Moissanite is a relatively new gemstone in the jewelry industry, discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan. Hence, the name. Moissan is highly admired for his numerous scientific achievements. The moissanite discovery, in particular, is the one that brought him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Back to 1893, the French scientist found microscopic particles, which he initially misidentified as diamond crystals. Upon further investigation, he determined that he actually discovered a new gemstone variety, because the particles were mainly composed of silicon carbide and not carbon, the main ingredient of diamond.
Now, the big question was “Where moissanite came from?”. Since Moissan found the particles while studying rock samples from a meteor crater in Arizona, the conclusion was that moissanite came to Earth by a massive meteor explosion. Unfortunately, the sources of naturally occurring moissanite are extremely scarce. Therefore, gemologists were triggered to start producing this gem in laboratories by establishing all the features of its mined counterpart.
KEY FACTS ABOUT DIAMOND
Popularly known as “a girl’s best friend”, diamond is a precious stone with a very long history. According to the gemological reports, diamonds have been around for more than 2.5 billion years. They were discovered by the human race only in the 4th century BC in India. Ever since the discovery, colorless diamonds have been esteemed as objects of high value. This is how they have been introduced to different cultures and civilizations throughout history.
Diamonds are formed deep down the Earth’s mantle under extreme conditions where the heat reaches 752 °F and the pressure reaches 434,113 psi. Today, natural diamonds can be found in 35 countries in the world. However, the specimens coming from South Africa, Botswana, Australia, Russia and Brazil are known to be of finest quality. Australia is the largest producer of industrial diamonds, while Russia and South Africa are the top-producing countries of commercial diamonds.
Now, it is time to pin down the similarities and differences between moissanite and diamond.
MOISSANITE VS DIAMOND: HARDNESS
The Moh’s scale of hardness is a specific tool that measures the durability of minerals on a scale of 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Moissanite is graded 9.25 and it is almost as hard as diamond, which scores a maximum 10. This means that both gems are exceptionally hard and offer the highest levels of durability from all the other gemstones. In fact, moissanite and diamond are so far, the two hardest substances on the planet. Hence, the reason why both are reigning supreme in the fine jewelry world. Future buyers should be assured that they are both scratch-resistant and perfect for daily wear.
MOISSANITE VS DIAMOND: COLOR
Moissanite color is classified as “colorless” and “near colorless”. The most popular colorless moissanite models are labeled “Forever One” and “Forever Brilliant”. Near colorless moissanite stones, on the other hand, exhibit tints of gray and yellow when viewed under certain lighting. Obviously, the larger the stone, the more visible the presence of color. The color appearance of (real) diamonds is graded from D (colorless) to Z (with visible tints of color). Natural diamonds with a D color grade are rare and highly prized; even their lab-grown equivalents cannot be afforded by average consumers. The best-selling diamonds on the market are nearly colorless.
MOISSANITE VS DIAMOND: BRILLIANCE
Brilliance is defined as the ability of a precious stone to reflect white light, commonly known as “sparkle”. Surprisingly or not, moissanite has proven to disperse light more intensely than diamond. This feature helped them beat diamond’s popularity as the most brilliant stone ever known. This comes as a result of two main factors – the refractive index and the faceting pattern.
The refractive index of moissanite ranges from 2.65 to 2.69, which is higher than diamond’s refractive index of 2.41. The faceting pattern of moissanite is also quite different than diamond’s, which results in projecting a different kind of brilliance. Moissanite’s luster creates the effect of a “disco ball”, especially when the gem is exposed to sunlight. Therefore, consumers who put striking brilliance at the top of their priorities should undoubtedly choose a moissanite ring. There are also consumers who found the “disco ball” effect too much for their taste and opt for the less intense brilliance of diamond rings.
MOISSANITE VS DIAMOND: PRICE
Price is another crucial moment while making the final selection. It is not a surprise that moissanite costs less, mainly because of the fact that it is lab-created. Hence, its popularity as a “cost-effective diamond alternative”. Moissanite’s price, as well as diamond’s, is further determined by other factors, such as cut, color, clarity and carat size. For instance, an engagement ring bedecked with brilliant-cut diamond(s) is less expensive than an oval moissanite piece. In this example, the price is dictated by the cut. On the other hand, a one-carat diamond costs an average of $3,080, while a one-carat moissanite usually costs up to 80% than diamond. In other words, you can find a nice and sparkly one-carat moissanite ring for as low as $616,00.
MOISSANITE VS DIAMOND: ECO-CONSCIOUSNESS
Consumers who want to shop “socially responsible” should opt for a lab-created stone. Both moissanite and diamond exist as an ethical jewelry option when made of responsibly-sourced materials. As previously said, natural moissanite, as well as diamond, are rare and outrageously expensive. At the same time, mining them puts the entire ecosystem in peril. Therefore, the very best alternative for the conscientious, well-informed consumer is an ethical gemstone coming right out of the laboratory.
Whether moissanite or diamond, the final choice depends on how much the gem aligns with the consumer’s combined preferences and principles.