Diamond vs Moissanite: 5 Key Differences
1st February 2021
by Tara W.
What is the difference between diamond and moissanite?
What is the difference between diamond and moissanite? To some people, without close inspection, they may appear similar, but there are many differences between them, such as colour, brilliance, fire and value. In this article, we discuss diamond and moissanite and why diamonds are worth the extra expense.
What is moissanite?
Moissanite is a near-colourless stone that, at first glance, looks similar to a diamond. However, it is not the same. Moissanite is made from pure silicon carbide (a rare naturally-occurring mineral), whereas diamond is made from carbon. Natural moissanite is so rare that it is practically impossible to use it within jewellery. It was first discovered in 1893 by a French scientist called Henri Moissan while examining rock samples taken from a meteor crater in Arizona. Because of its rarity, moissanite used within jewellery today is created in a laboratory.
How is moissanite different to a diamond?
Moissanite is different from a diamond in many ways such as colour, fire, brilliance and price. It is only at first glance that the gemstones look similar.
Moissanite and diamonds differ in colour. Moissanite is not colourless and, unlike diamond, is not assessed and graded on colour. Diamond colour is assessed on a scale between D-Z with D being completely colourless. Typical moissanite is similar in colour to a GIA-certified K-colour diamond, meaning that it would fall in the faint colour scale rather than colourless or near colourless. Just like diamonds, the smaller the moissanite, the more colourless it will appear. Some moissanite stones have a yellow, grey or green tint depending on the lighting, so it is easy to tell the difference between a diamond and moissanite.
The hardness of a diamond differs to that of moissanite. It is a known fact that diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth and scored 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Moissanite is scored 9.25 on the scale, which is lower than diamonds but higher than any other gemstone used in jewellery.
Brilliance refers to how much light reflects from a gemstone to create sparkle. A diamond with an ideal cut will have the highest level of brilliance, as it is cut in a way to reflect as much light as possible. Moissanite is faceted differently to a diamond, which causes less white light to refract. Although they do sparkle, it is not as vibrant and clear as the sparkle seen on a diamond. Moissanite usually has more fire than a diamond. When placed next to one another a moissanite will produce stronger, more colourful flashes of light than a diamond, that most people tend not to favour.
Diamond clarity refers to the assessment of imperfections internally and externally of a given stone. Moissanite generally has a higher clarity than a diamond because it is created in a lab whereas a diamond is formed naturally. It is common for diamonds to have inclusions and blemishes as they are natural products, whereas moissanite has very few.
Moissanite is a lot cheaper than a diamond. Although this means you can buy a larger stone for your money, it also means that moissanite is far less valuable and ultimately you are buying something worth very little in the long term. If you are looking for value, diamonds, although more expensive, are great value as they can be passed down for generations and still retain their value.
Can moissanite be considered a diamond?
No, moissanite cannot be considered a diamond. Both gemstones are different - from the way they are formed, to what they look like. Moissanite possesses an artificial brilliance and lacks the value that a diamond has. It is also created in a lab as opposed to naturally like a diamond.
Why choose moissanite?
Some people choose moissanite as it has a similar appearance to a diamond for a fraction of the cost. If you are looking for a special piece of jewellery, such as an engagement ring, a diamond is preferred due to its value and meaning.
Why are diamonds preferred over moissanites?
Diamonds are preferred to moissanite as they are a rare, naturally occurring gemstone prized for their beauty. As they take millions of years to develop within the Earth’s mantle, and each one is unique, it makes diamonds feel extra-special. Diamonds have become a symbol of everlasting love and are given in an engagement ring.
If you would love to learn more about diamonds, head to our diamond education guide to find out everything you need to know.