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Moissanite vs Diamond: What's the Difference & Which Is Better?

Alicia Briggs | September 8, 2023

Alicia Briggs | September 8, 2023

Conscientious consumers have many mined-diamond alternatives to choose from today, including moissanite. Moissanite is a popular diamond simulant but it is not a diamond. Moissanite and other diamond simulants are often confused with lab-grown diamonds. Those looking for sustainable, ethical, or affordable alternatives must be careful while doing their research. It’s important to fully understand the differences between moissanite and diamonds before buying.

Read on to learn what moissanite is, the pros and cons, and why VRAI's lab-grown diamonds stand apart.

What Is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a naturally occurring crystal made from silicon carbide that is used as an inexpensive alternative to diamonds. Natural moissanite is incredibly rare. Most moissanite on the market today is man-made.

History of Moissanite

In the late 1800s, a scientist named Henri Moissan discovered a mineral while studying rock samples from a meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. Moissan was convinced that he had discovered diamonds, due to their shiny appearance.

In 1904, however, after years of close examination, he realized that the crystals he had found did not have the same chemical composition as diamonds. They were made from silicon carbide.

Little did he know, scientists had already found a way to create artificial silicon carbide in laboratories just two years prior. The mineral form he had found, however, was named Moissanite in his honor.

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Moissanite vs. Diamonds: What’s the Difference?

Diamonds, both lab-grown and mined, are made from carbon. Moissanite is made from silicon carbide. Moissanite and diamonds are two entirely different minerals.

To the untrained eye, moissanite looks like a diamond. This is why some consumers choose moissanite for more affordable jewelry and engagement rings. However, the chemical composition is inferior to diamonds. Moissanite is a diamond simulant that is graded differently and is lower in value.

Is Moissanite a Diamond?

A moissanite “diamond” is not a diamond at all. It’s a diamond simulant. Simply put, moissanite diamonds are fake diamonds.

Can Moissanite Pass a Diamond Tester?

Moissanite does not test as a diamond. It has an entirely different chemical composition. Moissanite is also graded differently than diamonds. Both mined and lab-grown diamonds are graded by the 4Cscut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Moissanite is only graded on color.

When consumers buy moissanite, they choose from Premium (G-H on the color scale) or Super Premium (D-F). The clarity of moissanite is essentially perfect for each stone. Lab diamonds and mined diamonds, however, feature inclusions. They must be graded on clarity, as well as cut and carat weight.

Moissanite vs. Diamond “Sparkle”

A gemstone’s “sparkle” is actually its fire, brilliance, and scintillation. Moissanite has more fire and brilliance than a diamond or most other gems. Moissanite is double-refractive and is cut differently to highlight its overall sparkle.

But, moissanite reflects light differently than a diamond. Moissanite creates a rainbow-colored effect when reflecting light while diamonds reflect a white light. While moissanite has more brilliance, its sparkle is what signals that moissanite is fake. Shoppers tend to prefer the distinct brilliance of a diamond.

Moissanite vs. Diamond Price

Moissanite is one of the most affordable simulant diamonds on the market today. It costs a tenth of what a mined diamond costs. The price of moissanite is based on its size and the difference between Premium and Super Premium color grading.

Lab-grown VRAI created diamonds are also less expensive than mined diamonds, but this is not due to a difference in quality. This is because we are a vertically integrated company.

We grow our diamonds ourselves in our zero-emission foundry. No mining companies, cartels, or other middlemen are paid in order for us to receive our diamonds. As such, VRAI created diamonds are available at more accessible diamond prices.

Moissanite vs. Diamond Impact

Consumers who choose moissanite jewelry often feel good that their gemstone doesn’t require mining. But, moissanite still has a large carbon footprint. Unless moissanite makers are using renewable energy to power their plants and laboratories, they are creating significant carbon emissions and likely relying on non-renewable coal. Moissanite can hardly be called a sustainable diamond alternative.

While lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, they do not have the same ethical consequences as mined diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can also have a high carbon footprint for the same reasons as moissanite, however.

VRAI created diamonds are the only truly sustainable alternative to mined diamonds. Our Carbon Neutral Certified lab-grown diamonds are produced using renewable energy in the world’s first zero-emission foundry. They do not have the same environmental or human impact as mined diamonds or moissanite.

Moissanite Pros and Cons

If you’re considering buying a Moissanite engagement ring or jewelry, weigh the following pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Durability. Moissanite is a very durable gemstone and will last with proper care.
  • Affordability. Moissanite is largely inexpensive, especially when compared to diamonds.
  • Fewer Inclusions. Since moissanite is synthetic, it has very few, if any, imperfections.
  • Not Mined. Moissanite is lab-created, so it does not need to be mined. Moissanite does not have the same ethical connotations that mined diamonds have.
  • Noticeable Sparkle. Moissanite is known for having more fire and brilliance than a diamond.

Cons:

  • Noticeable Tint. Moissanite typically has a slightly green or yellow tint.
  • Not as Reputable. Moissanite is used as an imitation diamond but it is not a diamond. It does not have the same worth, respect, and cache that diamonds do.
  • “Fake” Appearance. While moissanite has a unique brilliance, it is noticeably different from diamonds. As such, it’s easy to tell that moissanite is fake.
  • Harder to Find. Moissanite is not as desirable as diamonds. If you’re looking for a moissanite engagement ring, they can be harder to find and you’ll typically have fewer design options.
  • Little Value. Moissanite’s low price is a reflection of its low worth.
  • High carbon footprint. Moissanite production can have just as high of a carbon footprint as diamond mining. It may be more ethical, but it’s not necessarily more sustainable.

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What Is Better: Moissanite or Cubic Zirconia?

The most common diamond simulant besides moissanite is cubic zirconia. Cubic zirconia has grown in popularity over the years due to its affordability — it is much less expensive than mined or lab-grown diamonds. This is because, like moissanite, cubic zirconia is not a diamond at all.

Cubic Zirconia is a crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. Zirconium oxide powder is exposed to extremely high temperatures until it melts. Then it’s left to cool, and crystals begin to form. The result is a gemstone similar in appearance to diamonds that is used for jewelry making.

Moissanite is more popular than cubic zirconia because it is more durable, has more brilliance, and does not change color over time.

Like moissanite, cubic zirconia, and any diamond simulant, cannot be considered entirely ethical or environmentally friendly. The short-term solutions they offer are often outweighed by the long-term effects of their carbon emissions.

Is Moissanite Worth Buying?

Shoppers primarily choose moissanite over diamonds because of its affordability. While moissanite is not as striking or distinct as diamonds, it’s still beautiful and available for a fraction of the price.

People also choose moissanite because mined diamonds don’t align with their values and don’t want to support the blood diamond trade.

But the biggest downside of moissanite is that it’s simply not a diamond. Moissanite is only purchased because people want to own a diamond, but they either can’t afford it or don’t agree with the ethics of diamond mining.

VRAI created diamonds provide a solution to this. Our lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, but they are produced in our zero-emission foundry without human or environmental toll. VRAI created diamonds are priced according to their value, with no middlemen markups. This means you can buy a diamond that’s more affordable and sustainably created instead of settling for moissanite.

Moissanite FAQs

Read on for further information about moissanite.

Why Is Moissanite So Cheap?

Moissanite is a man-made mineral that’s inexpensive to produce and possesses little value. In comparison to diamonds, moissanite is very affordable.

Is Moissanite a Real Stone?

Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral (silicon carbide). This mineral is found in different stones, but it’s very rare. The moissanite that you find in jewelry is always synthetic and made in a lab.

Does Moissanite Get Cloudy?

Moissanite doesn’t necessarily get cloudy or dull over time if it’s taken care of. This is why it’s the most popular diamond simulant. If you’re experiencing dullness or fog, moissanite most likely needs to be cleaned.

Does Moissanite Have Resale Value?

Moissanite does have some resale value. Moissanite is largely inexpensive, but a quality moissanite stone will often resell for around 30%-50% of its original price.

Is Moissanite Durable?

Moissanite is a very durable stone, with a 9.25 on the Mohs hardness scale. By comparison, diamonds have a 10, the highest rating.

Is Moissanite Okay for an Engagement Ring?

Moissanite is a popular choice for an engagement ring due to its unique sparkle, durability, and affordability. Whether or not moissanite is okay for an engagement ring is up to you. However, moissanite is not a diamond. It does not have the same beauty or market value.

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