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What Is the Difference Between Diamonds and Moissanite

Updated on August 23, 2017
Moissanite or Diamond Ring?
Moissanite or Diamond Ring? | Source

Is Moissanite a Good Diamond Substitute?

If you are on the market for a diamond jewelry, you are probably looking at diamond substitutes too. The best option for a diamond substitutes is moissanite. It is more expensive than cubic zirconia, but is 10 to 20 times less expensive than diamonds, and virtually, it is impossible for the naked eye to see any difference between a diamond and a moissanite gem.

People avoid buying moissanite because they think that it looks different, but in reality, in some aspects, they are better than diamonds. Diamonds however, will always bear the advantage of being an investment. It is something that has an intrinsic value, no matter what. Following I will underline how the two stones compare, and what are the advantages to buy one or the other.

Diamond Ring - (Photo Credit: MAURO CATEB)
Diamond Ring - (Photo Credit: MAURO CATEB)

What Is the Difference Between Diamonds and Moissanite

Overall, moissanite is the better gem, but because mined diamonds are so hard to find, and the synthetic ones are expensive to make, they are about 10-20 times more expensive. There are pluses and minuses to each of the two, but if you have to choose the best looking gemstone, that is not the diamond, it is in fact the moissanite.

Here is a comparison between the two gemstones.

  • Moissanite is extremely rare in natural state, and was found in meteorites and mines. The synthetic version of it is not very expensive.

  • Diamonds have been mined for centuries, and in the recent years has been started to be manufactured artificially. However, the synthetic version is as expensive as the natural version, and for the bigger stones, the artificial stones are more expensive to manufacture than to mine.

  • Luster is a material property to refract light in a specific way. The luster of both stones is adamantine, which is the finest luster in the mineral world. Adamantine luster is translucent/transparent, with a high refractive index.

  • Brilliance is another aspect where diamond gets beaten by the contender, the numbers are 2.65 vs 2.42.

  • Moissanite has more fire, it sparkles more. The fire is the visual aspect that sets it apart from diamonds, and it makes it recognizable in the eye of a specialist. And no, we regular people cannot distinguish them apart. Fire, (dispersion), is .104 for moissanite, and .044 for diamonds.

  • Diamond is slightly harder, in fact it is the hardest material in the world, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale vs 9.25 the contender.

  • Heat resistance is definitely in favor of moissanite that resists to temperatures up to 1800 C vs diamond which burns at 800 C.

  • Both stones are colorless gems.

Engagement Ring Debate Module

I have asked many women about their view regarding the gemstone on the ring. While initially I thought that the majority of women will prefer diamonds, the reality showed the opposite.

What is your position about the engagement ring?

What Is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a mineral with the formula SiC, that was discovered by Henry Moissan in Arizona. Initially, he thought the crystals found in the rock from a meteorite, were diamonds. Later on, the crystals were identified having a different formula, and they were named after their discoverer.

For a long time it was thought that the beautiful mineral was of extraterrestrial provenience only. In 1959 though, it was found in a diamond mine in Yakutia. Moissanite is extremely rare in nature, the entire gemstone production in the industry is man made.

The use of moissanite in jewelry is patented, and the patent will expire in 2015 in US, and 2016 in other countries. This patent actually held back the research and improvement, because nobody but the patent holder could sell moissanite as a jewel stone. Imagine the boom after 2015...

There are in fact many other Silicon Carbide crystals, and moissanite is just one of these, and it is the easiest one to grow. But because of the patent on the gem, the other variants cannot be sold in countries where is patent protected.

Contrary to a popular belief, moissanite is not a diamond simulant, it is a stone with its own identity.

Difference Between Moissanite and Diamond - Video

Diamond Jewelry (Photo Credit: MAURO CATEB)
Diamond Jewelry (Photo Credit: MAURO CATEB)

What Engagement Ring to Buy

When it comes to buying an engagement ring, there are two opposite camps. In one camp are the defenders of the tradition, and in the other camp are the practical people. In the end it is a choice, and whatever decision, it reflects you and your future spouse.

From the practical point of view buying a moissanite is the best decision, because it looks perfectly, it doesn't loose the fire and sparkling in time, and it is a fraction of the cost.

The traditionalists say that if the man cannot buy a diamond is not a worthy groom. However, if you think tradition, think one more time after you red this article that was published "The Atlantic" journal in 1982. The article exposes how "the tradition" of buying an expensive engagement ring was introduced by the aggressive marketing campaign of the De Beer cartel. The article disappeared from the journal's website, but here is the article on the Way Back Machine archive: The Atlantic archived article. Another article continues the history, from the 1980s, on Overt Collusion, a students written online research journal. This article also disappeared from the Overt Collusion website, but fortunately is still available on the Way Back Machine, of the here is the archived article.

I am not taking any side but I think that a decision should be made with all the information available.

Both stones will keep their fire and sparkle forever, they are the most hard materials. The cut dictates the final look, the bigger the gem, the more expensive the end result, hence a more expensive cut can be absorbed into the price. Cubic zirconia, for instance, another diamond substitute, is very cheap, and many jewellers will choose a less complex cut, because the final price will not justify the work.

Many times when you are in the market for an engagement ring you are told that a real stone will retain the price, and it is like an investment, however do a little research and you will see that trying to sell back an engagement ring is a total loss in most of the cases. Exception make the very expensive stones.

Many men think that their fiancé will refuse a moissanite ring, but the truth is that there are not many women who think like that. As long as you don't spend the saved money on gambling, she won't have anything against it. Women want to be loved and appreciated, if buying an expensive ring is the only way you can show her your love then you must buy an expensive one.

If you want to read some opinions on the matter, check this Yahoo answer about Moissanite vs Diamond.

Here is a comparison between our two competitors. The comparison is done in various lighting setting. I'll let you be the judge on this one.


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    • merfzel profile image


      5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I have to admit I didn't read all the way through this but I have bookmarked it to refer to it later... I want an anniversary ring (15 years!) to replace my wedding band that I actually had to cut off a couple months ago b/c it was strangling my poor finger :) Looking at moissanite ones. Thanks for the info!

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      Such a good idea, to teach about the value of this stone I'd never heard anything about before.

    • hovirag profile image


      5 years ago

      I like how you compare the two - actually I never followed the trend, I buy something because I love it, not because it is in fashion

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 

      5 years ago

      Very informative! Excellent lens.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks for the gem lesson


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