Choosing the perfect engagement ring can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to selecting the right gemstone. White sapphire and moissanite are two popular alternatives to traditional diamonds. Both white sapphire and moissanite offer a budget-friendly alternative to diamonds, making them perfect for those seeking an eye-catching yet affordable stone. With moissanite engagement rings becoming increasingly popular, we’ll take a closer look at how it stacks up against its white sapphire counterpart
To choose the perfect stone for your next stunning piece, it can help to compare all the different details—from what the stones are made of to how they measure up to a natural diamond.
The Mineral Makeup of White Sapphire vs Moissanite
Before we dive into the differences between white sapphire and moissanite, it’s worth explaining what both stones are:
- White sapphire – Though most people think of blue gems when they picture a sapphire, they can actually come in many colors. Sapphire is any stone composed of the mineral corundum that isn’t red, so a white sapphire is simply the colorless version of this stone.
- Moissanite – The natural form of this gem was first discovered more than 120 years ago by Henri Moissan and is primarily made of silicon carbide. Though it’s naturally occurring, moissanite is also fairly rare, so much of what’s commercially available is lab grown.
The mineral foundations of these stunning stones may not seem to affect their beauty on the surface, but they can impact their other qualities—including durability, price points and even how they reflect light.
White Sapphire and Moissanite Differ in Durability
Whether you’re considering a white sapphire engagement ring or a moissanite wedding band, it’s worth knowing their durability. Though you might not give a lot of thought to the hardness of a gemstone, this quality can impact its longevity.
A gem’s durability and hardness determine how well it stands up to everyday wear and tear. Since “hardness” for gemstones has to do with their ability to resist scratching, harder gems tend to be the better option, since they’ll maintain their appearance longer.
Gemologists use something called the Mohs scale to rank minerals based on their hardness. Diamonds top the scale at 10, with extreme hardness and durability. But how do white sapphire and moissanite compare?
Let’s take a look:
- White sapphire comes in at a 9 on the Mohs scale, meaning that it’s four times less hard than a diamond.
- Moissanite is a 9.25 to 9.5 on the Mohs scale, making it harder than white sapphire and able to scratch sapphires in general. However, it’s still slightly less durable than a diamond.
If you’re looking for a more durable diamond alternative, moissanite may be the right choice for you. Still, hardness isn’t the only quality to consider during your search.
Moissanite and White Sapphire Come at Different Price Points
While you’re seeking the perfect stone, you still have to work within the constraints of your budget. That means price point is a helpful factor to consider when weighing moissanite vs. white sapphire.
While both are cheaper than a traditional diamond, how should you think about pricing for these options? Here’s how they compare:
- White sapphire prices – Since white sapphire is a natural gemstone, its price can fluctuate depending on the size, quality and rarity of the stone. A particularly large or high-quality white sapphire could cost as much as—or more than—moissanite.
- Moissanite prices – Most moissanite stones are lab grown. This means their prices are more stable and standardized because the factors that could affect quality and size are controlled. So, while it’s typically at a bit of a higher price point, moissanite’s prices are consistent.
White Sapphire and Moissanite Vary in Appearance
Even though both moissanite and white sapphire mimic the appearance of a diamond, that doesn’t mean their visual qualities are interchangeable.
Compared to both white sapphire and natural diamonds, moissanite has much more sparkle and is better able to reflect light, as shown by the refractive index (RI) that ranks gemstones:
- Diamonds have a RI of 2.42, which is high for a gemstone.
- Moissanite rates at 2.65, making it more brilliant than diamond.
- White sapphire only has a RI score of 1.77, suggesting that it doesn’t reflect light at the same level moissanite does.
If you’re looking for a ring that’s most likely to be mistaken for a diamond, however, more sparkle isn’t always to your advantage. Because of its increased refraction, moissanite is certainly stunning—but it appears much more sparkling than a natural diamond, making it difficult to pass for one. If you’re interested in a moissanite vs lab diamond ring comparison, if you can read more there.
Meanwhile, white sapphire isn’t quite as over-the-top in terms of brilliance, making its appearance closer to a natural diamond (albeit with slightly less sparkle).
If you’re still deciding between the two, it might help to look at the white sapphire and moissanite symbolism to narrow down your choice. Sometimes learning what a stone symbolizes can make the choice for us whether it lines up with the occasion or not.
Find the Perfect Diamond Simulant with Diamond Nexus
From price to appearance and hardness, there are many factors to consider when evaluating diamond alternatives like moissanite and white sapphire. But they aren’t the only option for those seeking a more affordable stone with all the stunning features of a natural diamond. For those searching for alternatives, comparing different stones like moissanite vs cubic zirconia can help you find the perfect one.
If you’re still on the fence on moissanite, we also offer the Nexus Diamond™ Alternative as an option too, take a look at our engagement rings and compare the different price points and options we offer.
The Nexus Diamond offers the feel, look and wear of a perfect mined diamond, so you can have all the breathtaking qualities of a natural diamond at a fraction of the price.
Check out our selection of diamond simulants today and find the perfect stone for your next piece.
Gemological Institute of America. Sapphire. https://www.gia.edu/sapphire
American Gem Society. Moissanite. https://www.americangemsociety.org/moissanite/
International Gem Society. Gemstone Hardness and Wearability. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/hardness-and-wearability/
International Gem Society. Table of Refractive Indices and Double Refraction of Selected Gems. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/table-refractive-index-double-refraction-gems/