As white gems, like diamonds, are limited in natural supply, manufacturers look for ways to replicate them and make them more affordable. Moissanite is a diamond alternative that is beautiful, affordable, and eco-friendly.
Moissanite has become more popular amoung brides-to-be, but many are curious, what is moissanite? Should I consider a moissanite engagement ring? Learn all about this diamond alternative to decide if it’s right for you.
Moissanite vs. Diamonds
When looking at moissanite and diamonds, most people cannot tell the difference. The two gemstones look the same, especially under bright lighting and with the optimal filters.
However, the most noticeable visual difference between moissanite and diamonds is brilliance, and moissanite actually has more brilliance than diamonds have.
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People love diamonds because they have outstanding brilliance, and moissanite gives the iconic stone a run for its money. When comparing the brilliance, gem graders look at how the light refracts from inside the stone.
Diamonds disperse light through the inside, while the sparkle or scintillation comes from the surface of the stone. Authentic diamonds have rainbow refraction from the interior brilliance. Moissanite also has rainbow refraction that resembles a disco ball in bright sunlight because of the stone’s internal structure.
A diamond’s fire rating is around 0.100. Moissanite bends light even more than diamonds at a rate of 2.65. When in the sun, the moissanite fire offers noticeable flashes of bold color, especially when compared to the subtle rainbow of colors in a well-cut, high-quality diamond.
Because the moissanite refraction is so extreme, consumers occasionally notice the brilliance differences between large moissanite and diamonds. However, most consumers cannot tell the difference, even with stones set next to each other.
Diamonds are the most durable substance on earth, with a durability rating of 10. Moissanite is a hard object, too, as its rating is 9.25. B
ecause of their hardness, people appreciate that diamonds do not break, even in industrial applications. While manufacturers do not use moissanite in industry applications, wearers like the durability of the beautiful, shimmering stone
If you wear a diamond or moissanite, you can expect that both stones will not crack or break. However, some diamonds and moissanite cuts, like the princess cut, are more likely to chip than other cuts.
Moissanite and diamonds have varying prices based on the color, cut, carat weight, and quality. However, moissanite is almost always less expensive, even when compared to a lower-quality diamond.
Shoppers should be able to buy a colorless, 5mm moissanite for about $500. In comparison, shoppers might be able to find a mid-range .3 carat diamond for $500.
Where the prices begin to differentiate more is as moissanite increases in size. Shoppers should be able to find one-carat moissanite for $1000, while they might only be able to buy a .5 carat diamond for that same amount.
Most moissanite is lab-created, which makes them less expensive than a diamond. However, even lab-created diamonds are fetching high prices, as they are indistinguishable from mined diamonds.
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Diamonds come in several colors, but the most valuable are those labeled as colorless with a bright, sparkling appearance. Lower-quality diamonds often have a bit of yellow, brown, or gray in their natural state.
Moissanite tends to be colorless, too. Their sparkle often shows the colors of the rainbow, but some moissanite has bits of yellow and gray in them. When the stones are larger, any color flaws show up more obviously. It is possible to get a moissanite stone that is as colorless as a diamond, however.
While most people cannot tell the difference between moissanite or a diamond, those in the know appreciate how moissanite is sourced. The beautiful gems are almost always lab-created in an eco-friendly way.
Contrast sourcing moissanite with sourcing diamonds. Even when mined in areas free of conflicts, diamond mining is incredibly damaging to the environment. Diamonds can be lab-created, but the process uses more natural resources than creating moissanite.
Even though both stones can be lab-created, moissanite and diamonds have different atomic structures. Moissanite can never be a diamond and vice versa.
Moissanite vs. Lab-Made Diamonds
Despite moissanite appearing in nature, nearly all moissanite used for jewelry is lab-created. If you are looking for a moissanite engagement ring, it will be a lab-created stone. A French scientist named Henri Moissan discovered Moissanite in the 19th Century. His discovery included microscopic particles in a meteorite crater in Arizona.
He first thought he found diamonds in the crater but later determined that the crystals were silicon carbide. Moissan eventually learned how to synthesize the gem, and now the only way to get affordable moissanite is through a lab. The gemstone has a different composition than diamonds, but it is just as beautiful.
Consumers have embraced lab-created moissanite because it offers an affordable option for someone who does not want to spend significant amounts of diamonds. Moissanite is not a diamond, even though they have a similar look.
Lab-created moissanite is still moissanite, just like lab-created diamonds are still diamonds. Both gems have the same atomic structure as the gems found in nature.
Jewelers measure moissanite and diamonds by the carat. But, each gem has a different weight. Diamonds weigh more, so a one-carat diamond will be smaller than one-carat moissanite. So as not to confuse consumers and to standardized moissanite sales, jewelers usually sell the gem by its measurements rather than carats.
Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia
Because jewelers and customers use moissanite as a less expensive diamond replacement, they often compare moissanite and cubic zirconia. The two stones have different atomic structures – the CZ consists of zirconium dioxide, and the moissanite consists of silicon carbide.
Moissanite is harder than cubic zirconia. The CZ has a hardness measurement of 8.5, while moissanite has a hardness of 9.5. Diamonds are the hardest substance, with a hardness of 10. Because CZs aren’t as hard as the other stones, they are more likely to chip or crack.
Customers prefer moissanite, which shows in its value. Moissanite is worth around $500 per carat, while the CZ is only about $40. Cubic zirconias come in several colors, especially since they are artificial stones. Many people can distinguish between a CZ, moissanite, and a diamond because a CZ gets dirty quickly. The other stones do not.
Other Alternatives to Diamonds
The beauty of moissanite and cubic zirconia is that they closely resemble diamonds. Someone who does not want to spend $1000 to buy a one-carat diamond can buy a white stone with plenty of brilliance for under $500.
The problem with diamonds involves ethical mining. Because of the ethics involved in mining and the conflicts around the stones, many consumers are looking for alternatives. Moissanite and cubic zirconia are good choices, but others, like white sapphires, are beautiful, brilliant, and conflict-free.
Other alternative choices include colorful options like blue sapphires, aquamarines, morganites, and emeralds. These gems have brilliance, history, and affordable prices. Giving colorful stones can add more meaning to an engagement ring, especially if the stone is a partner’s birthstone.
Many colored stones come in various degrees and shades of color, too. For example, an amethyst can come in dark purple, pink, and lavender. Morganite can have various shades of peachy pink with a high level of sparkle. Sapphires come in blue, white, pink, teal, and yellow.
Our answers to common questions about moissanite for engagement rings.
Can you tell Moissanite from a diamond?
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With the naked eye, moissanite is practically indistinguishable from a diamond. An engagement ring with moissanite looks just like an engagement ring with a diamond. The only visible difference between the two white gems is the extreme brilliance of the moissanite.
Many jewelers will pair large moissanite stones with diamond accents, and even experts struggle to distinguish the two stones from each other when set side-by-side on an engagement ring.
Jewelers can tell the difference between a diamond and moissanite using a loupe. Moissanite has double refraction, which appears as two blurred lines in the different cuts. The loupe gives a close-up view that jewelers and shoppers cannot see with the naked eye.
Is a Moissanite engagement ring tacky?
Giving a moissanite engagement ring is far from tacky. In fact, the stone is so beautiful and comes with no ethical issues that most people appreciate the thought behind it. Moissanite is easily produced in labs, so it does not involve political conflicts or destructive mining processes.
There are no rules about diamond engagement rings, so if you prefer a conflict-free stone or you’re just looking to cut costs, consider opting for a moissanite ring.
Does Moissanite lose its sparkle?
Like a diamond, moissanite retains its brilliance, hardness, color, and other qualities for the life of the gem. If moissanite appears dull, it simply needs to be cleaned. Because of moissanite’s hardness rating of 9.5, it is difficult to damage the stone.
If you want an affordable, beautiful, and brilliant gem in an engagement ring, moissanite is a lovely choice. The lab-created stones do not have the ethical baggage of diamonds, so many people find moissanite an eco-friendly and ethical option.
While diamonds are the classic stone for engagement rings, couples want unique options that show their personalities and styles. Moissanite gives them an option for a sparklingly brilliant white gemstone without the massive price tag, possible conflicts, and harmful mining practices.
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