Learn the key differences between moissanite and diamond, and how to select the ideal gemstone for you.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered the gem that would eventually bear his name in Arizona, in a crater created by a meteorite that fell to earth. He initially thought that he had discovered diamonds, but later determined that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide. Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, so moissanite available today is laboratory-created. It is engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but is compositionally and visually quite different from a real diamond.
Moissanite vs. Diamond: Durability
Gemstones are measured on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which assesses a gem’s ability to withstand surface scratching. On this scale, moissanite scores a 9.25, a very good score that makes it one of the hardest substances on earth, and very suitable for every day wear as an engagement ring. However diamonds are the hardest known mineral and receive a 10, while sapphires score a 9 on the hardness scale.
Moissanite vs. Diamond: Brilliance
Moissanites exhibit a different kind of brilliance than diamonds do, as the faceting pattern is different. The fiery, rainbow flashes emitted by moissanite are beloved by some, but others complain that moissanite’s heightened brilliance can create a “disco ball” effect, especially in sunlight. The bigger the moissanite, the more likely it is that the difference will be noticeable. This different type of brilliance is what makes it possible to distinguish a moissanite from a real diamond.
Moissanite vs. Diamond: Color
Even those moissanites touted as “colorless” can project a yellow or grayish hue in certain lights. A colorless diamond, whether natural or lab-made, has a natural body color that contains no traces of yellow, brown, or grey, resulting in a dazzling, bright white appearance. Here again, the larger the moissanite, the more noticeable the color and the easier it is to identify it as a simulant.
Appealing, Affordable Alternatives
If you are considering a moissanite engagement ring you’ll find dazzling options in our Moissanite Collection that can be set in your favorite Brilliant Earth engagement ring settings. If you’re attracted to the lower price point in comparison to diamonds but have concerns about the color or brilliance, then you may want to consider other diamond and gemstone options. We understand that it can be daunting to try to find an affordable engagement ring, but here are some beautiful options:
Lab Created Diamonds
Lab diamonds are more affordable than their naturally-mined diamond counterparts—typically you’ll save about 30% for a diamond of similar size and quality. Unlike moissanite, all of the lab created diamonds at Brilliant Earth are physically, optically, and chemically indistinguishable from our natural diamonds. They exhibit the same properties of sparkle, fire, and scintillation. What’s more, they are an appealing option for those seeking an eco-friendly gemstone as they require no mining.
Browse our collection of lab created diamonds to see the wide variety of lab created diamond options currently available.
If you like the idea of adding some color to your engagement ring, consider a sapphire—available in all colors of the rainbow—for a lot of look at a smaller price. Brilliant Earth carries a large selection of pre-set sapphire engagement rings that are stunning and unique, and you’ll find an even broader range of sapphire colors and shapes in our colored gemstone gallery. All of our unique colored gemstones can be purchased individually or set in a Brilliant Earth engagement ring setting.
A gorgeous way to find an engagement ring within your budget is to select a smaller center diamond and amplify its visual impact with a more detailed setting. Smaller accent diamonds are much more affordable than larger center diamonds, so surrounding your smaller center diamond with accent diamonds creates a dazzling look for less. One great option is a halo engagement ring, which features a center gemstone completely encircled by sparkling diamond accents that make the center gem appear larger. Another great option is a three stone setting, featuring one smaller gem on each side of the center diamond.
Final Thoughts on Mossanite vs. Diamond
If you decide a moissanite engagement ring is for you, then our jewelry specialists are happy to assist you with sourcing a moissanite and finding the perfect setting. Just contact us at 800.691.0952.
With any of these options, you can feel confident in the beauty and authenticity of your ring. At Brilliant Earth, we understand that setting a budget and buying an engagement ring are very personal decisions. With that in mind, we take an incredibly personal approach to the selection and purchasing processes. We delight in sharing our passion, expertise, and creativity with our customers.