From its rainbow-tinted sparkle to its incredible pricing, moissanite is making a big splash on the fine jewelry scene. But with a new gemstone to choose from comes new questions. Are moissanite and diamonds the same thing? Is moissanite durable enough for everyday wear? And perhaps most importantly, what the heck is moissanite anyways?
In this blog, we’ll answer all these questions and more to help you determine if a moissanite stone is perfect for your forever adornment.
What is a Moissanite Diamond Made From?
Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by scientist Henri Moissan. Moissan was exploring a meteor crater in Arizona when he stumbled upon what he believed to be diamonds. However, after further examination, he found that the stone was actually naturally occurring silicon carbide.
Naturally occurring silicon carbide, now referred to as moissanite, is incredibly rare. Because of this, the moissanite that you see on today’s market is almost always lab grown and it takes between two to three months to create a single stone.
What is a Lab Grown Diamond?
Unlike lab grown moissanite, lab grown diamonds are exactly the same as mined diamonds down to their chemical composition. Both lab diamonds and natural diamonds are made from carbon, the only difference being that one is sourced from a lab and the other is sourced from the earth. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds.
Many consumers are turning to lab grown diamonds due to their eco-friendly nature as these stones are ethically sourced and cause minimal damage to the environment. Additionally, at 20 to 30% less expensive than a mined diamond, lab grown gemstones are an affordable alternative.
Moissanite Pros and Cons
Pricing is probably the number one reason that many modern couples are attracted to moissanite engagement rings. Far less expensive than a mined diamond, gemsociety.org said the following, “Even spending under $1,000, you can get a stone the size of a one-carat diamond. For a natural diamond this size, you’d pay at least $3,000, with significant compromises in color and clarity. If you spent that much on moissanite it would be huge, over 1 cm across!”
Another big factor that moissanite has going for it is its conflict-free nature. Similar to lab grown diamonds, moissanite is man made making it a more eco-friendly option than traditionally mined stones. This diamond alternative portrays the same diamond aesthetic that we all know and love minus the unethical practices behind the mining industry.
If you’re looking for sparkle, moissanite is hard to beat. Even mined diamonds that are measured on the standard diamond carat size chart may compete with the unique qualities of moissanite in terms of cut, clarity, and brilliance. Different in appearance from a natural diamond, moissanite creates a literal rainbow of shimmer when it’s hit by the light. This is opposed to the colorless flashes that are observed when a real diamond is exposed to light. In other words, moissanite provides even more brightness and sparkle than the average diamond.
Moissanite ranks as a 9.5 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness meaning that this stone is seriously durable (for context: a diamond ranks 10 out of 10). Your moissanite gem will not break or scratch easily making it a great center stone of choice. However, depending upon your diamond shape (pear cut stones and other fancy shapes are especially vulnerable), you’ll still want to pay special attention to your engagement ring setting to ensure that your ring can withstand the perils of everyday wear.
If you’re concerned about diamond clarity, moissanite might be a great choice for you. This diamond alternative is never sold unless the clarity grade is VS or higher. That means that each stone will have no visible flaws, making them perfect in appearance to the naked eye. Similarly, moissanite doesn’t lose its brilliance over time so you can expect your fine jewelry to remain brilliant forever.
As mentioned above, moissanite offers a ton of sparkle. However, optically speaking, this sparkle just doesn’t look the same as a diamond. This is due to a subtle shift in light refraction that occurs due to moissanite’s superior clarity. Compare this to the average diamond which might include slight inclusions and color variations and you get a dazzling white sparkle. While not necessarily a big deal, people with a trained eye will be able to tell whether you have a natural diamond vs moissanite center stone based upon sparkle alone.
In addition to scintillation, it’s not uncommon for moissanite stones to be warm in color. In order to achieve colorless moissanite, the gems undergo something referred to as the “whitening process”. However, not all stones leave the process comparable to near-colorless diamonds, instead hints of yellow and green remain.
Since moissanite isn’t a diamond, you might have a difficult time finding a jeweler to work on your piece in the instance that it needs to be resized or if you want to reset the stone. Additionally, some people might argue that moissanite jewelry does not retain its value. However, this is also true of diamonds and all diamond alternatives in the retail space.
Moissanite vs Diamond Rings
Really, the only difference between a moissanite engagement ring and a diamond engagement ring is the center stone. Just like a diamond, moissanite can be used in any engagement ring setting and can be cut into all of the same shapes as a natural diamond. Supply isn’t an issue either. Thanks to a plethora of online retailers finding your perfect moissanite engagement ring is easier than ever before.
Moissanite Engagement Rings
Engagement Ring Settings
As mentioned above, moissanite ranks high in durability, but like all things, it isn’t invincible. A classic six or eight prong engagement ring setting will help protect your center stone from everyday wear and tear. Also referred to as the claw setting, rings in this style feature metal prongs that extend from the ring’s basket over the gemstone effectively securing the stone and keeping it safe.
Uber sparkly moissanite also looks absolutely stunning in a solitaire engagement ring setting. In this classic design, the center stone is fixed to a sleek metal band. While simplistic, this style is known for its ability to bring extra attention to the main factor at hand, the gem.
When it comes to which precious metal is best, the choice is up to you. White gold, yellow gold or rose gold, moissanite pairs beautifully with each.
White gold is a gorgeous choice that is increasing in popularity. This precious metal gives off an icy feel and beautifully compliments near-colorless moissanite stones. In order to enhance its cool hue even more, white gold is dipped in a rhodium plating that helps brighten its appearance and protect the metal from color loss.
Yellow gold is the most common metal used in engagement ring settings. Rings in this style are timeless as yellow gold has yet to go out of style. However, one thing to watch out for with this precious metal is softness. While yellow gold does not tarnish or rust, it is prone to warping when compared to other precious metals.
So hot right now, rose gold is the trendy pinkish hue that you’ve been seeing all over social media. Beloved for its vintage feel, this precious metal looks especially captivating when used in a romantic three stone engagement ring setting. Rose gold is resilient, however, it should still be treated with special care and cleaned regularly to keep it looking as good as new.
Other Diamond Alternatives
If you love the fact that moissanite is a man made stone that's better for the environment and your wallet, you might like these other stone options too.
The Nexus Diamond™ alternative
The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a diamond simulant, that among all simulants, most closely imitates the look and wear of a diamond. Not only is the Nexus Diamond™ alternative conflict-free, it's also affordable costing up to 80% less than a mined diamond.
Lab Grown Diamonds
Chemically identical to natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are a feel-good alternative to the beloved gemstone. Man made diamonds are affordable and better for the environment than their mined counterparts. Plus, a lab grown diamond can produce the same optical effects of a natural diamond that moissanite cannot.
Perfect for a vintage engagement ring setting, colorful gemstones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds make for fabulous center stones. What's more, these diamond alternatives can be lab grown or upcycled from an heirloom piece making them a fantastic option for the eco-conscious shopper.
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.