Moissanite vs. Diamond Jewelry
Which Is Better, Moissanite or Diamond?
What's better is all about what’s important to you and you alone! But there is another high-quality, near-colorless gemstone with tons of sparkle on the market to give diamond a run for its money—moissanite!
The picture above is of my 1ct moissanite white gold solstice ring, sitting atop an orange. Looks like a diamond, doesn't it? This ring was purchased second-hand and was the test piece I wore to prove to my now-husband that moissanite was the way to go for my engagement ring. It just made sense financially, and I have an extremely beautiful ring that is often admired by complete strangers.
This article was written as a way to share the mountain of research that helped us decide that moissanite suited us better than diamond. In the sections below, you'll find spec comparisons, facts on both gems, price comparisons, and even a few places to shop. It is all about comparing moissanite and diamond.
Happy gemstone shopping, and if it's a moissanite engagement ring you're looking for, a very big congratulations to you!
Moissanite vs. Diamond: Differences and Similarities
When comparing diamond and moissanite stones, you may be surprised to learn that many claim moissanite as a superior gemstone. Here are some reasons why.
Moissanite is a near colorless gemstone.
Most common Diamonds are classified in this range.
Moissanite ranks 9.25 on the Mohs Hardness scale making it the second hardest gem.
Diamond ranks 10 making it the hardest gem.
Moissanite possess more fire or dispersion (the flashes) at .104.
Diamond rates considerably lower at .044.
Moissanite also has a higher refractive index or brilliance (the sparkle) at 2.65.
Diamond comes in at 2.42.
Moissanite is only available as a lab-created stone as its natural state is not found on Earth (it was discovered in a meteorite).
Diamond is readily available in its natural state and there are now companies creating lab-created diamond see Apollo, Gemesis, Takara or even Life Gem.
Moissanite costs a fraction of its diamond equivalent.
Diamonds are sold to us as an "investment", but the average consumer isn't purchasing investment grade stones and very few jewelers will buy them back at full price unless you "upgrade" with a more expensive stone.
One company, Charles and Colvard, holds the patent for jewelry grade moissanite.
One company has been known for controlling the diamond market and its prices.
Moissanites are hand cut with optical properties that best show off the stone.
Diamonds are hand cut with optical properties that best show off the stone.
The 4 C's of Moissanite
Although an official grading system is not in place, the majority of moissanites fall into the diamond grading scale of the 4 C's.
The gem typically falls into the near-colorless range of a diamond F-G-H-I, but a slight green or yellowish undertone can be found in some stones in particular lighting. Round Brilliant faces up the whitest and is by far the most popular shape in moissanite. Fancy shapes like pear will hold more of the slight green/yellow body color and may lean more towards I-J-K.
The larger the moissanite, the more apparent the body color. When buying from any online store where you won't be able to see the moissanite before purchasing, make sure they have a return policy in case you get a stone with more color than you like. It is worth noting that if you enjoy warmer diamonds, you may really love the color in a warm moissanite. The incredible sparkle moissanites produce will often mask any color issues.
Some companies are now offering moissanites with special coatings or treatments to create pink, yellow, blue, and green stones. These coatings often void the manufacturer warranty, but the jeweler itself may offer a guarantee. The vast majority of manufactured moissanites are near-colorless, though rare non-coated greens do exist. Moissanite manufacturer Charles and Colvard has recently created a "Forever Brilliant" line of moissanite said to be up to 2-3 times whiter than the original. For fancy shapes like pear, "Forever Brilliant" would be something to look into.
VS1-VS2. Moissanite should always be eye clean, but under magnification, needle- or tube-like inclusions from the creation process can be seen.
Keep in mind that carat is a weight, not a size. Gemstones are typically sized by millimeters. For example, a 6.5mm round moissanite is the equivalent to a 1ct round diamond. Check out the Actual Diamond Sizes for a complete list of millimeter sizes by carat weight.
Moissanite would not be as beautiful if it were cut to the same proportions as diamond due to differing optical properties.
Moissanite vs. Diamond Price Comparison
Moissanite is more expensive than the average cubic zirconia, but you are also buying a man-made gemstone (hand cut) that is going to keep its beauty as well as diamond does, unlike your average cubic zirconia, which clouds and scratches after a relatively short time.
To compare the prices of diamonds and moissanites, I used Blue Nile's search engine to filter for the 4 C's in which moissanite is equivalent to diamond to show you the difference in price. I chose the cheapest diamond of the selection. (This comparison was last updated on July 15, 2015.)
Price of Equivalent Moissanite
.5 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS1
.75 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS2
1 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS2
1.5 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS1
2 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS2
3 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS2
4 CT Ideal Cut, I Color, VS1
The filter selections were as follows. Color: F-I, clarity: VS1-VS2, cut: ideal, carat: see below, shape: round. The prices on moissanite come from the MoissaniteCo website's regular moissanite loose stone selection. Please note that moissanite is also sold with a whitening treatment (branded Amora Moissanite) or fancy colored treatments at a higher price point.
Considering a Moissanite Engagement Ring?
You're probably thinking, "Wow, so I'll save lots of money with a moissanite engagement ring!" Probably, but do not make that choice without her.
When offered a diamond, most women will not turn it down, but that doesn't mean there aren't other alternatives that are just as beautiful, if not more. However—and take this advice as what you may gentleman—society has us trained to think that diamonds and engagement go hand in hand. Buying an alternative gem without being 100% sure of her opinion may get an unpleasant reaction. Even more dubious is trying to pass that alternative off as a diamond. One day while getting her ring cleaned at a jeweler's she will find out the truth, and it probably won't turn out pretty. As long as your beloved knows the truth, no one else has to.
The best news is that since just about all of us are so diamond-engagement-brainwashed, we'll automatically accept a high quality colorless gem like moissanite in an engagement ring as diamond. With a sparkle like moissanite has it's hard not to think of it like a diamond. My 3-stone engagement ring in the picture above is fawned over by strangers that have no idea it isn't "real". Especially mall jewelers... they coo over my "ideal" cut, sparkly diamond.
Does moissanite sound like your dream come true for an engagement ring, but you aren't sure how to get your lady on board? Try introducing the gem as another jewelry gift. It'll be your chance to educate her and fall in love with the stone on her own.
Reasons I Told My Fiancé to Skip the Diamond
- I wanted a high quality elaborate setting. Most diamond jewelers pushed us to spend the majority of our budget on the stone and skimp on the setting.
- I couldn't justify spending thousands and then having my heart stop if I happen to drop my ring on the tile bathroom floor or if the cat decides to use it as a hockey puck down the floor vent or, god forbid, someone were to steal it. (Update: My heart still stops every time I even bump my engagement ring... but it's not for fear of what it cost; it's because it's so darn gorgeous I don't want to ever hurt it. I'm very clumsy and hard on my jewelry and I have yet to scratch or ding any of my moissanite from my 6-year-old pieces to my wedding set. All the stones are as gorgeous as the day I got them.)
- I still wanted a colorless diamond-like gem with great sparkle that wouldn't become cloudy or scratched up. Moissanite fits that. Cubic zirconia doesn't. Other colorless gemstones, like white sapphire, lacked the fire and sparkle. Moissanite has more than even diamond.
- I own other moissanite pieces, love them and get compliments on them. And yes, people assume they are diamonds unless I tell them otherwise. Sometimes I do and sometimes I just smile at their presumptuousness. Moissanite isn't well known where I live, which is probably why so many are fooled into thinking it is a diamond.
- I don't put a whole lot of stock into what others think about my engagement and wedding rings. I love them and my husband is proud of them, and that's what matters most. However, there are people that turned their noses up, or rather looked down on us after we told them the ring they were just admiring isn't actually a diamond. My husband, who took a while to convince, now looks at this kind of turn about reaction as a way these people justify their own preconceived notions on diamonds, especially the ones that have plunked down quite a bit more cash for rings not nearly as impressive. After all, he felt that way once, too.
- We've been to Jamaica twice on the money that would have been tied up on my wedding set if we purchased it in diamond.
Spectacular 1 CTW Moissanite Stud Earrings are a classic look at a much better price than diamond offers. Diamond studs are a classic look that should be in every woman's jewelry wardrobe. Moissanite can give you the same look for much less. You even get more sparkle and in turn a much more eyecatching look when wearing moissanite. My own pair are in my ears nearly every day.
Why Moissanite Is Not Conidered a Man-Made Diamond
Moissanite is classified as a gemstone in its own right, not a diamond simulant.
- Moissanite does not have the same chemical make-up as a diamond. Moissanite was discovered from a fallen star, a meteorite. It's not an element that's natural to earth, which diamond is. It's rarer than that!
- Moissanite is double-refractive (the reason it throws off more sparkles). Diamond is single-refractive. To a trained eye, this is the most common trait that will "give away" a moissanite. It's difficult to see without examining closely, unless you have a rather large stone.
- Moissanite is naturally green. Diamonds can be colored, too, but colorless diamonds are actually the most common.
- Moissanite is not graded like diamonds. It's all priced by size and treated the same regardless of any color differences. This was the manufacturer's choice to keep prices lower by selling more of their inventory.
Nothing Can Beat That Sparkle
The beauty of a moissanite's sparkle on a sunny day simply can't be beat. The videos included here seriously do not do the stone justice. Moissanite also sparkles like mad in romantic lighting situations. One of my favorite parts of owning a moissanite wedding set is seeing how it reacts in different lighting. As mentioned earlier, overcast days can cause a lackluster look, but even diamonds don't sparkle the same in every setting.
Do Your Gemstone Homework
These are some good resources for doing your own research so you can buy with confidence.
- Actual Diamond Sizes—Blue Nile
Remember carat weight is not the same as visual size. Two one carat diamonds can be different MM sizes, meaning one will look bigger than the other depending on how it was cut. There are however some average standards.
It's used for much more than just jewelry.
- Diamond Color Chart—GIA Diamond Color Scale
Keep in mind that moissanite is not graded for color, but learning about diamond color can help you decide if moissanite will work for you.
- Fancy Colored Moissanite
Yellow moissanite is absolutely stunning. MoissaniteCo.com the same company that came up with the enhanced moissanite also offers a similar treatment that creates colored moissanite stones.
- Charles & Colvard
The manufacture and patent holder for jewelry quality moissanite.
- Diamonds Suck
An essay on why this person chose a moissanite engagement ring over diamond. Great personalized information.
- Why Engagement Rings Are a Scam
A funny take on how diamond engagement rings came to be ingrained in American culture. Warning: this video contains R-rated language.
Readers Choose: Moissanite or Diamond?
I don't think any woman is particularly concerned with the slight difference in hardness of the stone. In all of other aspects, it is as good or better than a diamond. - careermom
Diamond all day long. - luvhammers
More sparkle and fire than diamond, harder than sapphires, won't scratch or cloud with time like CZ, isn't associated with the blood diamond industry in any way, and easier on the pocketbook. Yep, I'm clearly on the moissanite side. :) - pixelposy
diamond - victoriahaneveer
Just for you...moissanite! - UKGhostwriter
Diamonds are harder! - thefun4kids
thought your lens was very interesting, I would go for the moissanite. - marybeadz
Moissanite is beautiful, but diamonds are still diamonds. - TolovajWordsmith
Funnily enough, it is me (the girl) convincing the guy to look at Moissanite instead of diamond. The main reason being that I like a lot of flash and large rings, but would much rather put that diamond money to use as the down payment for our home. - Twitterpate
Sigh! Whatever you say, it is hard to get over the idea of 'Diamond is woman's best friend.' - krish218
I have a moissanite ring set in a 14 k white gold cigar band setting, it is beautiful and I would never buy a diamond again. It gets complimented all the time. . . Financially it made sense and when I saw it for the first time, personally it made me feel great. - chachingck1
Diamonds are harder, and therefore cooler. - GetSillyProduct
I don't see the point of paying for real stones, when the manufactured ones tend to be just as nice. - KarenCookieJar
In my humble opinion, I say diamond. - Wonderful Wedding
Ah! Que belleza!! If I had to do it over again, I would want my engagement ring to be moissanite. - JackieSonia
Moissanite is just an overpriced CZ. Give me a Diamond....but I would rather have an Emerald. - Lady Gotrocks
If you could go back in time and do it over, what stone would you pick for your engagement ring?
Questions & Answers
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