Moissanite vs Diamond: What’s the Difference?

Moissanite vs Diamond - the Difference
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | Jan 24th, 2019

What’s the difference between moissanite and diamond? You might recognize moissanite as an alternative to diamonds, thanks to its pretty sparkle and white color. In this article, we’ll compare moissanite and diamond side by side, taking a closer look at a variety of factors including hardness, fire, color, clarity, and of course, value.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a form of silicon carbide that can be natural or lab-created.  While it’s not quite as hard as diamond, it comes close: Moissanite averages 9.25 to 9.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, and diamond is a 10. This rare mineral has a strong crystalline structure that withstands high pressure, and which gives it optical qualities that are similar to those offered by diamonds. Moissanite colors are graded from D to K on the diamond color grading scale.

While moissanite’s durability makes it a valuable mineral for industrial use as well as in electronic and thermal applications, its true strength lies in its beauty.

Moissanite History

While moissanite is relatively new to the world of jewelry, this rare mineral was discovered in 1893. It is named after French chemist Henri Moissan, who discovered it mixed into mineral samples taken from a meteor crater located in Arizona’s Canyon Diablo. At first, Moissan thought the crystals he found were diamonds. It wasn’t until 1904 that he correctly identified them as silicon carbide. Interestingly, synthetic silicon carbide was first created in a lab run by Edward G. Acheson in 1902, two years before Moissan identified it in its natural form!

Natural moissanite was thought to come from meteorite craters alone until 1958, when it was discovered in Wyoming’s Green River Formation. In 1959, workers at a Yakutia diamond mine found natural moissanite in the form of inclusions in kimberlite. Natural moissanite crystals have also been discovered along the Kishon River in northern Israel. Today, geologists know that moissanite occurs as natural inclusions in xenoliths, diamonds, and ultramafic rocks including lamproite and kimberlite. Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites can also contain moissanite, explaining why it is found in some meteorite craters.

Because natural moissanite is quite rare, the moissanite used in jewelry is synthetic. Charles & Colvard introduced synthetic moissanite jewelry to the market in 1998, after receiving patents to create and market their beautiful lab-grown gemstones. The patent has expired, and today, more manufacturers are bringing moissanite jewelry onto the market.

Moissanite Vs. Diamond

Even though moissanite isn’t identical to diamond, it does offer close similarities, particularly when studied with the naked eye: no wonder Henri Moissan thought he had the real thing! As a diamond alternative, moissanite offers the following characteristics.

If you study moissanite vs. diamond side by side, you’ll notice that moissanite has the interesting ability to produce the appearance of doubled facet junctions. This effect produces more colorful flashes or “fire” than a diamond of the same size and cut.

Diamonds have a hardness score of 10 on the Mohs scale, making them more durable than moissanite. Still, moissanite is up there among the hardest of all substances, and it’s tough enough for use as a replacement for a diamond in a variety of industrial settings as well as in high-pressure experiments. Moissanite is harder than other popular gemstones including emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, so it’s well-suited to jewelry designed for everyday wear.

Like diamonds, synthetic moissanite comes in a variety of colors that range all the way from colorless to black.

Moissanite clarity is usually close to flawless, while most natural diamonds on the market have imperfections.

Like diamonds, moissanite is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is usually measured in millimeters rather than in carats.

If you guessed that natural diamonds are more valuable than moissanite, you’re correct. Even though moissanite is a beautiful alternative to natural diamonds, the real thing is worth far more. As faux diamonds go, though, moissanite is among the best.

Diamond Prices vs. Moissanite Prices

Where diamond prices vary depending on the stone’s unique characteristics including cut, color, and clarity, moissanite prices are usually determined by the size of the stone and whether it has been enhanced. In general, the price of moissanite is a mere fraction of the price of a similarly sized, shaped, and colored diamond.

The Main Differences between Diamonds and Moissanite

DiamondMoissanite
Available in a wide range of colors
10 hardness on the Mohs scale
Typically has unique inclusions / imperfections
Measured in carats
Natural stone
Suitable for wearing everyday
2.42 brilliance refractive index
0.044 fire dispersion
Available in a wide range of colors
9.25 – 9.5 on the Mohs scale
Usually flawless
Measured in Millimeters
Occasionally natural; usually lab created
Suitable for wearing everyday
2.65 to 2.69 brilliance refractive index
0.104 fire dispersion

Moissanite Rings & Moissanite Engagement Rings

Moissanite stones can be set in some of the most classic, beautiful settings just like diamonds for engagement rings.

Of course, moissanite eternity bands exist as well.

Moissanite Jewelry

You can also find moissanite necklaces, earrings and bracelets full of the same sparkle you find with diamond jewelry. Here are a few of our favorites.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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