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When it comes to engagement ring stones, there's a lot to consider. In the moissanite vs diamond debate, we’ll look at three main factors: beauty, durability, and price. Ultimately, the best choice for your engagement ring is the gem that you prefer.
Learn more about moissanite and why so many are opting for a moissanite engagement ring, and why others prefer a more expensive diamond.
What is Moissanite?
Although moissanites do occur naturally (and very rarely) in very tiny crystals, when consumers compare moissanites and diamonds they’re most likely considering synthetic moissanites. This is a form of crystalline silicon carbide created in laboratories and widely used as a diamond simulant. Unless you’re shopping for rare mineral samples, when you encounter moissanites and moissanite rings for sale, you’re dealing with the synthetic variety.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Which is More Beautiful?
The top question in the moissanite vs diamond debate is whether one holds more beauty than the other. Certainly, moissanite is a convincing diamond simulant. To tell the difference between diamonds and moissanites, jewelry experts need a "moissanite tester"— a device that measures electrical conductivity— and a loupefor a close visual examination. However, there are slight differences in their beauty that consumers may notice.
Brilliance and Fire
When you’re looking at a diamond, you’ll notice both brilliance (white flashes) and fire (colored flashes). Moissanite also shows both, but typically has more fire than diamond. So, moissanite tends to have more colored flashes of light than diamond.
However, this depends partly on the diamond cut. Diamonds with older cut styles or modern cuts with certain angles will show more fire than most modern diamonds. This can make it difficult to tell the difference between the two.
Distinguishing moissanites and diamonds based on brilliance and fire isn’t reliable, but it's easier to see at larger sizes. Even so, unless you have experience in the jewelry industry, you won't be able to tell the difference justbased on appearance.
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Today, you can readily find moissanites in the same range of color as white diamonds. This wasn't always the case.
“Classic” moissanite has a yellowish or brownish color, often compared to J through M color diamond. This range works best with yellow gold or rose gold settings and vintage styles.
However, moissanite is also available in colors equivalent to “Near Colorless” G to I range and “Colorless” D through F range. This gives moissanite buyers great options for mimicking their favorite diamond looks and styles.
Still, moissanite can change color based on lighting and may not always look perfectly colorless. Some stones will appear more yellow or yellow-green. Those sensitive to color may prefer diamond or white sapphire to moissanite.
Because moissanites are grown in laboratories, they don’t have the large clarity imperfections that diamonds may contain. So, a moissanite will always be eye-clean, while diamonds may contain imperfections visible to the eye.
For those with low budgets, finding an eye-clean diamond in their desired size can be difficult. It involves examining many diamonds very closely. This can be time consuming and may require expert help.
Is Diamond More Durable Than Moissanite?
At a 10 on the Mohs scale, diamond is well-known as the hardest material. Nothing but a diamond can scratch another diamond. With a hardness of 9.25, moissanite is the second-hardest material used a gemstone. Unless you store your moissanite with diamond jewelry, it’s highly unlikely that it will scratch.
However, determining whether moissanite or diamond makes a tougher gem material is difficult. People who sell moissanite may claim moissanite is tougher, while those who sell diamond may claim the opposite.
Moissanite doesn’t have acleavage plane, while diamond does. (This is an internal plane along which a diamond crystal can easily split). This gives a durability advantage to moissanite. However, this doesn’t help establish how hard a moissanite needs to be knocked until it chips or shatters.
The IGS cannot corroborate the following measurements of pressure tolerance in millions of pounds per square inch (PSI) for diamond, moissanite, and cubic zirconia (CZ), another well-known diamond simulant. However, they may give some basis for comparison:
- Diamond: 14.6 PSI
- Moissanite: 7.6 PSI
- CZ: 2.4 PSI
Sources: Does Moissanite Chip Easily?; Moissanite Versus Cubic Zirconia.
If reliable, these figures indicate diamond takes about twice as much pressure to break than moissanite, while moissanite takes three times as much pressure to break than CZ. However, it’s not clear if the measurement for diamond is an average of pressure applied in any direction or if it was taken along its cleavage plane, which would be weaker. (CZ, like moissanite, also lacks a cleavage plane).
Generally, both diamond and moissanite are unlikely to chip or crack, although this is always a possibility and also depends on the type of cut. (For example, princess cuts may chip more easily than rounds). When choosing between these gems, durability isn't a significant factor.
Budget and Size for Moissanite vs. Diamond
Cost is almost always a major factor when choosing an engagement ring. When comparing moissanite vs diamond, moissanite is the clear winner in the price category. Check out the moissanite sizes you can get for the following budgets, compared to diamonds of different color grades.
For simplicity's sake, these are prices for round diamonds, with the highest carat weight in the budget for an eye-clean SI2, excellent-cut diamond from James Allen. These diamond prices represent a bare minimum of eye-clean quality. Moissanite sizes are taken from Brilliant Earth'sSuper Premium moissanite, which is equivalent to a D-E-F diamond color grade.
As you can see, moissanite offers major cost savings. Even spending under $1,000, you can get a stone the size of a one-carat diamond. For a diamond this size, you’d pay at least $3,000, with significant compromises in color and clarity. If you spent that much on a moissanite it would be huge, over 1 cm across!
Even at smaller budgets of $500, the size difference between moissanite and diamond is significant, with a moissanite being 8% larger than a diamond with faint color or 20% larger than a D-E-F diamond.
Natural Origins or Lab-Made Beauty?
Ultimately, the most important factor in your decision on moissanite vs diamond— even more so than cost— will be whether you'd just prefer to have a diamond or a moissanite.
Some consumers prefer diamond for tradition, prestige, or natural origin.Others prefer moissanite for sustainability or ethical reasons, or simply because they can get the aesthetic they desire for less. This is a personal choice with no wrong answers. If you’d prefer a diamond, buy a diamond. If you’d prefer a moissanite, buy a moissanite.
Where to Purchase a Moissanite or Diamond Engagement Ring
If you’ve decided on a diamond, read about diamond quality first to avoid paying more than necessary. Because a diamond is such an expensive and personal purchase, you simply must get a closeup look at how it sparkles before buying. To get the most for your money, we recommend using online dealers like James Allen and Blue Nile. Both provide 360° video of their diamonds and plenty of ring settings to choose from. With their extensive selections of diamonds, you’re sure to find the one that’s best for you.
For moissanite, quality is far less variable, making the shopping experience easier. Charles & Colvard, the original manufacturer of gem-grade moissanite, has hundreds of ring styles to choose from, all available online.
If you just can’t seem to find the right engagement ring style, try contacting the experts at CustomMade. Whether diamond, moissanite, or something else entirely, CustomMade will help you find the perfect center stone for your style and budget and place it in a unique engagement ring you’ll cherish.
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
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Which is more durable diamond or moissanite? ›
“Moissanite is the second hardest to diamonds on the Mohs hardness scale,” O'Connell says. “Based on rankings from one to 10, diamonds are a 10 and moissanite is a 9.25-9.5.” Moissanite is a very durable option for an engagement ring stone, especially since the material doesn't scratch easily.Is it better to buy moissanite than diamond? ›
Clarity. Because moissanites are grown in laboratories, they don't have the large clarity imperfections that diamonds may contain. So, a moissanite will always be eye-clean, while diamonds may contain imperfections visible to the eye.Can jewelers tell the difference between diamonds and moissanite? ›
The most effective way to tell Moissanite apart from a diamond is to use a loupe to look through the top, or the crown, of the jewel at an angle. You will see two slightly blurred lines that indicates a double refraction, an inherent quality of Moissanite. Double refraction is easier to see in some shapes than others.Does diamond tester pass moissanite? ›
Yes, some diamond simulants can pass a diamond tester.
For example, moissanite, a man made gem, may pass as a diamond on a standard tester pen. This is because moissanite also has very high thermal conductivity! Other diamond simulants, such as CZ, will not pass the tester.
Moissanite is often compared to diamonds and therefore is often treated as a “fake” diamond or “diamond look-alike” rather than a gemstone in its own right. As it looks very similar and has some similar properties, the use of moissanite in jewellery is discussed as a choice of moissanite vs diamond.How long will a moissanite last? ›
Will Moissanite last forever? Yes it will. Moissanite is a beautiful gemstone that is very hard – a 9.25 on the hardness scale! So, just like a Diamond is forever, so too, is Moissanite.Which moissanite is closest to a diamond? ›
Of all shapes, round cut moissanite most closely resembles a diamond. Round cut stones have very specific facets and proportions, and round moissanite has been able to be cut in a way that causes light to interact with it in almost exactly the same way it does with diamond.What is the highest quality moissanite? ›
As the world's most brilliant gem®, Forever One™ moissanite outshines all the rest. As unique as you are, Forever One embodies beauty and elegance in its own way. This incredible white gemstone is full of fire and perfect for those who want the highest quality responsibly sourced gemstones at an accessible price.Why is diamond more expensive than moissanite? ›
Fortunately, Moissanite's lower price point is not reflective of its quality. The lower price point is simply a reflection of supply and demand in the engagement ring industry. While we are seeing a shift toward using other gemstones for engagement rings, over 90% of couples are still choosing Diamonds.What is the downside of moissanite? ›
It is also very durable, with a 9.5 on the Mohs scale (a diamond is a 10). The only con as such is that it may have a yellow or grayish tint to it. Are moissanite rings better than diamond rings?
Does moissanite turn yellow over time? ›
If you get the right moissanite jewelry from the right place, you know that they last as long as a diamond does and they'll never turn yellow or any other color.Does moissanite lose its sparkle? ›
Soft stones like CZ will lose their sparkle as their ridges become rounded. Moissanite, however, is so hard that its ridges will never wear down – simply wash the dirt off and your stone will be brightly sparkling in no time!What is the downside of moissanite? ›
It is also very durable, with a 9.5 on the Mohs scale (a diamond is a 10). The only con as such is that it may have a yellow or grayish tint to it. Are moissanite rings better than diamond rings?Do moissanite rings scratch easily? ›
Moissanite ranks 9.25-9.50 on the Mohs scale making Moissanite one of the hardest gemstones on earth. It's unusually high hardness makes scratching and abrasions very rare, even after many years of daily wear and tear.Is moissanite hard enough for everyday wear? ›
Absolutely. Moissanite is a 9.25 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. In other words, it's hard as a rock, so it won't pick up dings and scratches from daily wear. So go ahead, wear your moissanite engagement ring every day.Does moissanite break easily? ›
Moissanite is an extremely stable material. It is durable, tough and highly resistant to scratching, abrasion, breaking and chipping. Its high heat tolerance makes moissanite very unlikely to experience damage during jewelry repair.