Moissanite vs. Diamond: What’s the Difference? | Moissanite FAQs

moissanite vs diamonds

Post updated August 16, 2023

We often receive inquiries about the key differences between moissanite and diamonds, as this is a common question among our customers. We are often asked “what is moissanite?” and “is moissanite as good as a diamond?” Understanding these differences is essential, especially when considering factors such as moissanite price and moissanite hardness, which are crucial in making an informed decision. In this blog, we delve into various aspects that set these two gemstones apart, including their aesthetic appeal, durability, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact. By covering these topics, we aim to provide you with comprehensive insights to help you choose the gemstone that best suits your preferences and values.

The decision between modern beauty and old-fashioned tradition drives many fine jewelryengagement rings, and wedding band purchases. When making such a decision, it's crucial to have a complete understanding of the facts related to each type of gem you're considering. We hope we can help you bridge the gap to a more informed purchase that you'll cherish for a lifetime.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a rare, naturally occurring mineral also known as silicon carbide.

Named after Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Henri Moissan, moissanite was first discovered in 1893 at the site of a massive meteorite strike in Arizona. Scientists in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina later developed the thermal growing process that creates silicon carbide crystals, which are fashioned into moissanite gemstones.

Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, so the moissanite gems available today are created in a lab.

After many years of trial and error, the particles Moissan discovered were successfully synthesized to produce what is now one of the world’s most scintillating gemstones.

Moissanite is engineered to appear very similar to a diamond, but is compositionally and visually quite different.

The durability, brilliance, and fire of the two gems are quite distinct. One common property of both diamonds and moissanite is that they are both very good thermal conductors.

It's noteworthy to mention that Charles & Colvard are the pioneers in creating and introducing moissanite to the market. About 30 years ago, we recognized the potential of this extraordinary gemstone and successfully brought it to the forefront of fine jewelry. Our efforts have not only provided a stunning alternative to traditional diamonds but also set a new standard in luxury gemstones.

If you would like more information about our moissanite gemstones and their remarkable qualities, you read about our Forever One moissanite process here.

Moissanite vs. Diamond

We often get the question, “Is moissanite a diamond?” The answer is no.

So what’s the difference between diamonds and moissanite?

While diamonds are created from the compression of coal and minerals over many hundreds of years in the earth, moissanite was originally found in fragments of a meteorite in pieces so small that cutting a single gemstone from them was impossible.

After many years of work, this rare, natural mineral was successfully grown in a lab. Moissanite is one of the most brilliant and beautiful colorless gems, rivaling the traditional beauty of mined diamonds in clarity and size.

Historically, diamonds have been the go-to, traditional, white gems for fine jewelry for their beauty and their rarity, but with a conscientious alternative like moissanite for engagement rings, wedding rings, and other types of jewelry, moissanite stand out as the best gem, outshining diamonds with their brilliance and fire.

Moissanite Outranks Diamonds on Brilliance, Fire and Toughness

In our "Gemstone Comparison Guide," we present a detailed Moissanite diamond comparison, highlighting the unique characteristics and performance of each gemstone. This comparison is essential for understanding why moissanite is not just an alternative, but in many aspects, a superior choice. Particularly, moissanite outperforms diamonds in areas such as brilliance, fire, and cost-effectiveness, making it an increasingly popular choice for fine jewelry.

Key aspects to consider in this comparison include:

- Brilliance Refractive Index (RI): This measures how much light a gemstone refracts. Moissanite has a higher RI than diamonds, meaning it can refract more light, contributing to its exceptional brilliance.

- Fire Dispersion: This refers to the ability of a gemstone to disperse light into various colors. Moissanite's higher fire dispersion compared to diamonds results in more colorful flashes of light, enhancing its visual appeal.

- Hardness MOHS Scale: This scale assesses the ability of a gemstone to resist scratches. While diamonds score a perfect 10, moissanite follows closely at 9.25 to 9.5, making it one of the hardest substances known and very suitable for everyday wear.

Understanding these factors helps in appreciating why moissanite is not just a cost-effective alternative to diamonds, but also a gemstone that stands out in its own right.

Gemstone Comparison Guid

Brilliance Refraction index (RI) Fire Dispersion Hardness Moh's Scale Toughness
Charles and Colvard Moissanite 2.65 - 2.69 0.104 9.25 - 9.5 Excellent
Diamond 2.42 0.044 10 Good to Excellent \*
Ruby 1.77 0.018 9 Excellent\\
Sapphire 1.77 0.018 9 Excellent\\
Emerald 1.58 0.014 7.5 Poor to Good

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Brilliance & Fire

Brilliance and fire refer to the internal play of light inside a gemstone. Sometimes, this is referred to as “sparkle.” A brilliant gem is achieved in the cutting process. In the jewelry industry, brilliance and fire also refer to the visual difference between moissanite, diamonds, and other gemstones.

For moissanite, we cut our gems in a unique way that emphasizes the natural beauty and sparkle of the stone. Our expert gemcutters examine each individual moissanite stone and determine the cut that would yield the most amount of brilliance.

As demonstrated in the chart above, moissanite has a greater refractive index and therefore contains more fire and brilliance.

At Charles & Colvard, we use specialized cutting techniques specifically designed to bring out the unique brilliance of moissanite jewelry. You can learn more about “fire” qualities of moissanite and other gemstones here.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Hardness

As we mentioned above, “hardness”is a qualitative scale characterizing the scratch resistance of various gemstones and minerals. It’s also sometimes called the MOHS Scale.

When compared to diamonds, moissanite ranks just behind on the hardness scale. Compared to other gemstones like ruby, sapphire, and emerald, it surpasses them in gemstone hardness.

Even with a slight difference in hardness, don’t think moissanite isn’t tough - Our Forever One moissanite gems are rated “excellent” in the durability category.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Toughness & Durability

When evaluating fine jewelry, the durability of a gemstone is paramount. Durability encompasses a gemstone's ability to withstand wear, heat, and chemicals, indicating how well it can endure everyday life's challenges. This is distinct from hardness, which specifically measures a gemstone's resistance to scratches. Durability also includes toughness (resistance to breaking, chipping, or cracking) and stability (resistance to chemicals and temperature changes).

In the context of everyday wear, durability is a critical concern. Jewelry is often subjected to various activities and environments, so a gemstone's ability to maintain its integrity and appearance over time is essential. Here, both moissanite and diamonds excel, but in slightly different ways. Moissanite, with its high toughness and good stability, is an excellent choice for daily wear. It's remarkably resistant to breaking and chipping, which complements its high score on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Regarding scratch resistance, moissanite is a strong contender. With a Mohs hardness rating of 9.25 to 9.5, it is second only to diamonds, which score a perfect 10. This means that while diamonds are the hardest known mineral and most resistant to scratches, moissanite is not far behind. Its high hardness level ensures that it is highly resistant to scratches and abrasions, making it a durable choice for everyday jewelry.

Comparatively, diamonds are the benchmark for both hardness and durability in gemstones. However, moissanite's unique structural properties give it an edge in toughness, particularly in resistance to breaking and chipping. This aspect makes moissanite an equally viable option for those who prioritize durability in their jewelry choices.

While diamonds may have a slight advantage in hardness, moissanite competes closely in terms of overall durability, especially in everyday scenarios. Its balance of high hardness, excellent toughness, and good stability positions moissanite as a durable, long-lasting gemstone, capable of withstanding the rigors of daily wear.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Color

When it comes to the color of moissanite versus diamonds, there are some important distinctions to understand. While both gemstones can appear similar to the untrained eye, their color properties have unique aspects.

Is moissanite the same color as a diamond? Not exactly. Diamonds are graded on a color scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown), with colorless diamonds being the most rare and valuable. Moissanite, on the other hand, does not naturally occur in a completely colorless form. Most moissanite stones have slight color hues, which can range from near-colorless to faint yellow or gray under certain lighting conditions.

Is moissanite colorless? Moissanite is typically not completely colorless and often exhibits a slight hue. However, advancements in manufacturing have led to the creation of "colorless" moissanite that mimics the D-E-F color grade of diamonds. These moissanite stones are crafted to minimize color, making them appear more like colorless diamonds.

What are the qualities that go into a gemstone's color? The color of a gemstone is determined by its chemical composition and crystalline structure. Factors such as impurities, trace elements, and the way a gemstone absorbs and reflects light all contribute to its color. In diamonds, the absence of nitrogen impurities leads to a colorless appearance, while in moissanite, the presence of silicon carbide contributes to its unique color spectrum. The cut of the gemstone also plays a significant role in how color is perceived, with expert cutting techniques enhancing the color or making a gemstone appear more colorless.

Understanding these color nuances is essential when comparing moissanite to diamonds. While moissanite offers a visually similar and more affordable alternative, it has its distinct color characteristics that set it apart from traditional diamonds.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Price

One of the most significant differences between moissanite and diamonds lies in their pricing. Understanding these price differences is crucial for those considering these gemstones for their jewelry.

Moissanite Price: Moissanite is generally much more affordable than diamonds. This price difference is due to several factors, including the rarity of natural diamonds and the cost of mining them, compared to the more cost-effective process of creating moissanite in a lab. The price of moissanite depends on its size and quality, but it typically costs a fraction of the price of a comparable diamond.

Is Moissanite cheaper than Diamond? Yes, moissanite is typically cheaper than diamonds. The process of creating moissanite in a laboratory setting is not only more environmentally sustainable but also less expensive than the extensive mining and processing required for diamonds. This cost efficiency is passed on to the consumer, making moissanite an attractive option for those seeking the luxury and beauty of a gemstone at a more accessible price point.

Factors Influencing Gemstone Prices: Several qualities affect the price of a gemstone. For diamonds, these include the four Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight. Diamonds with the highest grades in these categories are the most expensive. For moissanite, while similar factors are considered, the emphasis is more on the quality of the cut and the clarity of the stone. Since moissanite is lab-created, it typically has fewer inclusions and defects, which can also influence its price.

When it comes to price, moissanite offers a more budget-friendly alternative to diamonds without compromising on the visual appeal and quality. This affordability, combined with its ethical production and stunning appearance, makes moissanite an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Sustainability & Social Responsibility

Charles & Colvard introduced Forever One, the first colorless moissanite created gemstone, in September of 2015. Forever One is the epitome of created moissanite, and it’s helping change the way the industry thinks about environmental responsibility, and the way buyers think about fine jewelry.

Forever One moissanite is lab-grown, so there is no mining involved in the creation process. It is not harmful to the earth, and it is not involved in any conflict trade.

We are proud to say that our gems are eco-friendly and sustainable, and it is part of our corporate mission to continue to provide socially responsible choices in the jewelry industry at revolutionary value.

What Sets Our Forever One Moissanite Apart from Other Gemstones

Forever One is the culmination of two centuries of research and two decades of continuous innovation and is now available in two color grades: colorless (D-E-F) and near-colorless (G-H-I)\*. The difference between the two is barely discernible with the naked eye, but we want to ensure excellence with every stone we grade.

The creation of Forever One moissanite represents a breakthrough in gemstone technology. This advancement is not just about achieving the desired color grades but also about perfecting the art of creating a gemstone that rivals the finest diamonds in clarity and radiance. The meticulous process of crafting Forever One moissanite ensures that each stone not only meets but often exceeds the standards set for high-quality diamonds, providing a luxurious and ethical alternative for discerning consumers.

We pride ourselves on our stringent grading process. We have trained experts hand-grade each piece of Forever One moissanite, which ensures the quality of the products our customers receive.

Our grading scale guarantees our colorless D-E-F gemstones are just that, colorless. Near-colorless G-H-I is made from the same materials, however, it has a slight icy blue hue when exposed to light at just the right angle.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds: Style & Wearability

Moissanite jewelry is not limited to specific styles, so when considering moissanite versus diamonds, you will still have a huge array of luxury designs to choose from.

The versatility of moissanite in jewelry design is a key aspect that makes it a compelling choice for many. Its ability to be cut into a wide range of shapes and sizes allows for creative freedom in designing pieces that cater to diverse tastes and occasions. From the elegance of a classic round cut to the contemporary appeal of a cushion cut, moissanite's adaptability in mimicking diamond cuts ensures that it can seamlessly fit into any jewelry style. This adaptability, combined with its remarkable brilliance, makes moissanite an ideal choice for those who desire the luxury and sophistication of diamonds but with a distinctive touch.

Whether you want modern designs or traditional or vintage looks, moissanite comes in all of the same cuts, settings, and configurations in which diamonds can be featured. So any look you want a traditional diamond for - like an engagement ring, wedding band, earring, or necklace - moissanite is able to replace it.

The difference is, of course, that distinctive moissanite brilliance, along with its eco-friendly beginnings. Each moissanite stone is carefully inspected for flaws, clarity, and brilliance to ensure that every gem is as beautiful and brilliant as the special person who will wear it.

Charles & Colvard: Where to Buy Moissanite

We stand behind our products, which is why Charles & Colvard provides a Limited Warranty on your purchase of Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® jewelry and gem(s) that are 4mm in size or larger. Additionally, Charles & Colvard® provides a limited lifetime warranty that applies to your purchase of Charles & Colvard moissanite gem(s) that are 4mm in size or larger. To learn more about our warranty and how it applies to our jewelry and gems, click here.

Choosing Charles & Colvard for your moissanite purchase means more than just acquiring a gemstone; it's about embracing a legacy of quality and innovation. Our commitment to excellence is evident in every piece of moissanite jewelry we offer, ensuring that each gem reflects our high standards in brilliance, clarity, and ethical production. By selecting our moissanite, you are not only making a statement of style but also of responsibility, as we strive to provide environmentally conscious and socially responsible choices in fine jewelry.

If you’re searching for a gemstone that will stand out from the crowd, look no further than Forever One colorless moissanite. Our process not only allows us to offer beautiful, socially responsible jewelry at an incredible value, but also ensures the quality of your moissanite gems.