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Moissanite vs. Diamond

Benefits of Moissanite

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Mining Free

Moissanite is lab created with minimal environmental impact.

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Value

Moissanite is less expensive per carat than many other gemstones.

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Durability

Moissanite gemstones are a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, so they are suitable for everyday wear.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a gemstone born from the stars. It was first discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered microscopic particles of 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. After many years of trial and error, the particles Moissan discovered were successfully synthesized to produce what is now one of the world’s most scintillating gemstones.

Moissanite is engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but is compositionally and visually quite different from a real diamond. The durability, brilliance, and color of the two gems are quite distinct.

Moissanite vs. Diamond

Moissanite Diamond

durability

Gemstones are measured on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which assesses a gem’s ability to withstand surface scratching.

On the Mohs scale, Moissanite gemstones are a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, so they are suitable for everyday wear. Diamonds are the hardest known mineral and receive a 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Because of this exceptional score, diamonds are very durable and ideal for everyday wear. This contributes to their popularity as engagement rings’ center gemstones.

brilliance

Brilliance refers to the appearance of light reflected from the interior of the gem.

Moissanites exhibit a different kind of brilliance than diamonds do, as their faceting pattern is different. The fiery, rainbow flashes emitted by moissanites are beloved by some, but others feel 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. Moissanite has a refractive index from 2.65 – 2.69, which is higher than a diamond. A different type of brilliance is what makes it possible to distinguish a moissanite from a diamond. Diamonds reflect light in three different ways. The white light reflected back is referred to as brilliance, while the rainbow of colors refracted through the diamond is referred to as dispersion. The surface sparkle of a diamond, known as scintillation, is a third type of diamond light return. The combination of these three gives diamonds their famous sparkle.

color

Color is the natural color or lack of color visible within a gemstone.

While moissanites are labeled as “colorless”, the gems can still project a yellow or grayish hue in certain lights. Here again, the larger the moissanite, the more noticeable the color. A colorless diamond, whether natural or lab created, has a natural body color that contains no traces of yellow, brown, or grey, resulting in a dazzling, bright white appearance.

price

For the same size from the top view, moissanites are dramatically lower in pricing than diamonds of that size. Moissanite gems typically vary in price only based on size and whether the stone is Premium or Super Premium. Natural diamonds and lab created diamond prices vary based on shape, carat, cut, color, and clarity. Lab created diamonds are more affordable than natural diamonds.

sourcing

Because moissanites are lab created, they are an appealing option for those seeking an eco-conscious gemstone as they require no mining. We go above and beyond the current industry standards to offer both Beyond Conflict Free ™ Diamonds that have been selected for their ethical and environmentally responsible origins, as well as lab created diamonds that are ethically grown with minimal environmental impact. Learn more.

durability

Moissanite gemstones are a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, so they are suitable for everyday wear.

Moissanite

On the Mohs scale, Moissanite gemstones are a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, so they are suitable for everyday wear.

diamond

Diamonds are the hardest known mineral and receive a 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Because of this exceptional score, diamonds are very durable and ideal for every day wear. This contributes to their popularity as engagement rings’ center gemstones.

Brilliance

Brilliance refers to the appearance of light reflected from the interior of the gem.

Moissanite

Moissanites exhibit a different kind of brilliance than diamonds do, as their faceting pattern is different. The fiery, rainbow flashes emitted by moissanites are beloved by some, but others feel 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. Moissanite has a refractive index from 2.65 – 2.69, which is higher than a diamond.

diamond

A different type of brilliance is what makes it possible to distinguish a moissanite from a diamond. Diamonds reflect light in three different ways. The white light reflected back is referred to as brilliance, while the rainbow of colors refracted through the diamond is referred to as dispersion. The surface sparkle of a diamond, known as scintillation, is a third type of diamond light return. The combination of these three gives diamonds their famous sparkle.

Color

Color is the natural color or lack of color visible within a gemstone.

Moissanite

While moissanites are labeled as “colorless”, the gems can still project a yellow or grayish hue in certain lights. Here again, the larger the moissanite, the more noticeable the color.

diamond

A colorless diamond, whether natural or lab created, has a natural body color that contains no traces of yellow, brown, or grey, resulting in a dazzling, bright white appearance.

Price

Moissanite

For the same size from the top view, moissanites are dramatically lower in pricing than diamonds of that size. Moissanite gems typically vary in price only based on size and whether the stone is premium.

diamond

Natural diamonds and lab created diamond prices vary based on shape, carat, cut, color, and clarity. Lab created diamonds are more affordable than natural diamonds.

Sourcing

Moissanite

Because moissanites are lab created, they are an appealing option for those seeking an eco-conscious gemstone as they require no mining.

diamond

We go above and beyond the current industry standards to offer both Beyond Conflict Free ™ Diamonds that have been selected for their ethical and environmentally responsible origins, as well as lab created diamonds that are ethically grown with minimal environmental impact. Learn more.

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Moissanite

Diamond

Moissanite Origins

Because they are grown in controlled environments using advanced technology, moissanites require absolutely no mining to produce. Therefore, their origins are easily traceable.

Compared with natural gemstones, lab created moissanites have a smaller carbon footprint and result in less environmental impact. Fine jewelry made with moissanites and recycled metals is a responsible choice.

Selecting a Moissanite

While diamonds are graded on the 4 C’s scale (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat), moissanites are graded solely on color. The cut and clarity is similar across different qualities of moissanites. At Brilliant Earth, we offer Premium and Super Premium moissanites. Premium moissanites are nearly colorless and can be compared to a G or H in color on the 4 C’s scale, and Super Premium moissanites are colorless, falling within the D-F range.

Three stone engagement ring with large, oval, moissanite center stone

A common thought when considering a moissanite is whether or not the gemstone will pair well with diamond accents. Moissanites look beautiful when set in rings featuring diamond accents. The image above features an oval moissanite set in a diamond accented three stone setting.

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Other Affordable
Diamond 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, you may want to consider other diamond options.

Yellow gold twisted vine lab diamond engagement ring

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, lab created diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined 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.

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White gold halo engagement ring sitting in box

Dazzling Settings

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.

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Moissanites FAQ

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.
Moissanite will not lose its sparkle as time passes. The clarity and color of the stone won’t change through the years. Dirt and grime are the only common elements that may inhibit a ring’s sparkle until it is cleaned. Damaging the surface of moissanite can inhibit sparkle, as it would for any gemstone.
Moissanite is a rare, naturally occurring mineral also known as silicon carbide, which was first discovered by the Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Dr. Henri Moissan, at the site of a massive meteorite strike in Arizona. This intriguing new stone was named “moissanite” in his honor.
Moissanite is one of the toughest known gemstones which makes it perfect for an engagement ring, a piece of jewelry that is usually worn every day. Studies in high pressure research have shown that moissanite is highly resistant to breaking and chipping.
Moissanite vs. Diamond – Learn About the Difference | Brilliant Earth