When it comes to choosing a moissanite vs diamond gemstone for an engagement ring, what are the differences? They appear similar at first glance, but are nearly polar opposites.
Moissanite is an alternative gemstone that’s been around since 1893. While it’s not as popular as other gemstones like emeralds, sapphires, or rubies–we do get questions about it occasionally.
Let’s compare moissanite and diamonds in terms of origin, appearance, color, durability, and cost.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Origins
This is the first major difference. These two gemstones aren’t even of the same planet.
A French scientist named Henri Moissan originally thought he had discovered diamonds from outer space. He found microscopic particles in a crater created by a meteorite that fell to Earth.
But they weren’t diamonds at all. These shiny crystals turned out to be silicon carbide, originating from the meteor. Little is known about how or when it originally formed.
Natural moissanite is extremely rare, so moissanite gemstones are all lab grown. Years after Moissan’s discovery, scientists figured out how to synthesize the material. They named the newly minted stone after Moissan.
On the other hand, we know a bit more about diamonds. They’re formed naturally over millions of years. Carbon is subjected to extreme heat and pressure in Earth’s mantle, which is up to 240 feet below ground.
The first diamonds came from India in 4th century BC. They were later found in the Orange River, which spurred the South African diamond rush.
These precious gemstones were once reserved for society’s most elite and wealthy members. DeBeers changed that with the 1947 “A Diamond is Forever” campaign.
Round brilliant diamonds are still the most popular choice for engagement rings today.
Moissanite vs. Diamond: Durabiliity
The Mohs Scale of Hardness is used to rank gemstone durability. It ranks stones from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most durable and least likely to scratch.
Both gemstones are some of the hardest elements on Earth. They’re nearly indestructible.
Diamonds and Moissanite are optimal choices for daily worn engagement rings.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Brilliance
Brilliance is a way to measure sparkle factor. It refers to the appearance of light reflected from the interior of the gem.
A diamond and moissanite appear similar from afar. But looking closer, you’ll notice two completely different sparkles.
The moissanite facet pattern emits a rainbow sparkle. These fiery, rainbow flashes are more noticeable in sunlight, especially with larger stones. Some people call it the ‘disco ball effect.’
Moissanite has a refractive index from 2.65 – 2.69, which is greater than a diamond.
Some love the heightened brilliance, but others prefer a more subdued glitter.
In contrast, diamonds reflect white light. It’s still sparkly and mesmerizing, but in a toned down way.
The famous diamond sparkle is made possible by a combination of three light refraction methods:
- brilliance: white light
- dispersion: rainbow colored refraction
- scintillation: surface sparkle
Moissanite vs Diamond: Color
Gemstones come in all colors of the rainbow, but these two are basically ‘colorless.’ Diamonds are available in multiple colors, but we’ll just compare the classic, colorless version in this instance.
Moissanite gems tend to project a yellow or grayish hue in certain light. They have two different color classifications.
‘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.
See also: Glossary of Diamond Terms
Colorless diamonds are just straight up dazzling white. No traces of yellow, brown, or grey no matter the size.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Cost
Cost varies significantly for these gemstones. Typically moissanite is significantly less expensive.
Lab grown stones are always much cheaper than their natural counterparts. Moissanite gemstones are 100% grown in the lab, so they’re a cheap alternative for diamonds.
Prices increase with size or depending on if the stone is considered ‘Premium’ or ‘Super Premium.’
Diamonds may be lab grown as well, which significantly reduces costs. Costs vary depending on carat, cut, color, and clarity.
High quality, natural diamonds will be more expensive. But we think they’re absolutely worth it!
Our huge inventory of loose diamonds allow us to keep costs down. We actually hold the largest loose diamond inventory in Texas! Don’t less price be a factor if your heart’s set on a diamond.
Which is a Better Choice?
Choosing between moissanite or diamond gemstones is a matter of personal preference. Think long term when choosing a ring.
An engagement ring signifies a life long commitment between two people in love. It’s not the time for snap decisions. Decide what factors are important between:
- Natural vs lab grown
- Appearance (rainbow vs white sparkle)
Want our personal opinion? We’re purists at heart and recommend natural diamonds over lab grown any day.
No two diamonds are exactly alike in nature. Each individual diamond is uniquely crafted slowly by the Earth, unlike cookie cutter lab grown gemstones.
Yes, they can be more expensive, but there are diamond options for every budget.
We’re here to walk customers through the buying process, without any pressure or sleazy sales tactics.
In the market for an engagement ring– whether it’s a traditional diamond OR a unique, colored fancy shaped gemstone? Call Jonathan’s Fine Jewelers today to make an appointment and see our beautiful selection. Our in house jewelry designers can help you craft any design you can imagine.