Hi everyone, I'll be continually updating this resource, comparing the differences between moissanite and diamond, and answering all of your questions as well at the bottom of this post. I'll Specifically Compare 5 areas:
- Conflict Free Assuredness
- Color & Clarity
A Little About Moissanite I sometimes get asked for my opinion on moissanite diamonds. It is important to point out that moissanite is not a diamond nor should the two be confused. Diamond is carbon based (crystallized charcoal), moissanite is not. Both gems are completely different substances. Synthetic lab grown moissanite by Charles & Colvard has been around for almost 2 decades. This gem is not a stone that I promoted until the recent improvements in it's appearance, because I am a firm believer that... Diamond Alternatives Should be Pretty! Moissanite, in my opinion, wasn't a good looking diamond alternative for most of it's earlier days in the jewelry marketplace. I remember clients coming to my shop more than ten years ago asking to buy moissanite jewelry. At that time, I wouldn't sell it because it really was not appealing - just my opinion. I'd refer engagement ring clients to the nearest jewelry stores that sold moissanite engagement rings.
This is Why I Used To Avoid Moissanite!
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Original Moissanite Color - Not Very Desirable In My OpinionMoissanite customers would come to my shop to have their 'moissy' ring cleaned or sized, serviced, etc. I couldn't help but notice this greenish, grayish, yellowish hue that emitted from this lab created gemstone. It just wasn't a desirable thing for me, nor would I have offered it to my own clients as an option.
What is Moissanite?Moissanite is the crystal form of silicon carbide, a substance that is rarely found in nature. In 1893, Dr. Henry Moissan would discover the natural form of crystal silicon carbide that was later named Moissanite in honor of his last name. So in summary, Moissanite 'AKA' silicon carbide, 'AKA' carborundum is the crystal form of the latter.
Moissanite From Outer Space?
Image Credit: Ed SweeneyIt's an interesting fact the initial discovery of Moissanite was made while examining crystal formations in the Canyon Diablo Meteorite site in Arizona. The gems were initially thought to be diamonds until proven to be crystal silicon carbide in 1904.
The Gemstone That is Literally from out of this World!Initial discoveries show that the naturally occurring form of genuine moissanite crashed to earth from space. Since it is rarely found in nature, synthetic moissanite seen in jewelry is grown in controlled laboratory settings right here on Earth!
Check Out This Natural Silicon Carbide Specimen
Image Credit: Wikimedia
I've personally worked with silicon carbide for years, but I never imagined that it would end up as a gemstone. The image below is a picture of silicon carbide discs that I use to cut gold and platinum at the jewelers bench. These are available to many industries in various forms to cut through extremely hard materials. You came here to learn about moissanite versus diamonds, so why am I showing you silicon carbide discs? I simply want to show you...
How Hard is Moissanite? (AKA Silicon Carbide - SiC)
See For Yourself - At Gerry The Jeweler's Bench! * Cutting Through Gold with Silicon Carbide *
Though the decision on which gem to purchase rests with you, let's throw these 2 shiny objects in the ring to help you make your decision.
Diamond Versus Moissanite. FIGHT!
Is Moissanite Better Than Diamond?Moissanite and diamond exhibit many like qualities, and the newer creations like the Forever One Moissanite by Charles & Colvard have taken the gemstone to new levels of beauty. Let's throw them into the ring together and see which stone wins the battle for your <3
Hardness: Comparing Diamond and MoissaniteGemstone Hardness is measured on the Mohs scale of hardness that ranges from 1 to 10. Moissanite is a 9.25 on the scale of hardness. In the previous video, you seen how 9.25 in hardness - silicon carbide - cuts through metal with little effort. A rating of 10 is the hardest mineral known to man while a score of 1 is the softest.
Mohs Scale of Hardness
Screenshot Image Credit Wikipedia
- 10 - Diamond
- 9 - Corundum
Moissanite AKA - Silicon Carbide - AKA - CarborundumMoissanite is rated at 9.25 in hardness that places it directly in between sapphire and diamond. Harder than sapphire, but softer than diamond. Check it out on the following chart (silicon carbide, carborundum):
Screenshot Image Credit Wikipedia
Can You Cut Diamonds with Silicon Carbide AKA - Moissanite?In case you haven't noticed, I like to conduct my own tests at the jewelry workbench. Being a guy, this means that I get to play with my tools all while teaching you about gemstone hardness :) In this video, I'll take silicon carbide to the max speed of my drill, 20,000 revolutions per minute, and attempt to cut a diamond with it.
Cutting Diamond in Half With Moissanite - AKA Silicon Carbide?
Diamond Will Scratch & Cut MoissaniteSince diamond is a 10 on the hardness scale, it only makes sense that it will abrade or cut moissanite when the two are put to the test against one another.
Diamond Beats Moissanite in The Hardness Test
Brilliance and Refractive Index: Moissanite VS DiamondThe refractive index of gemstones is a good measure of how much sparkle the faceted gem will have. Higher refractive index gems simply sparkle more and continue to shine even when they are dirty.
Refractive Index: Moissanite Versus Diamond
- Moissanite: 2.67
- Diamond: 2.42
- Cubic Zirconia: 2.21
- Sapphire: 1.77
Forever Brilliant Moissanite (left) and GIA Certified G Color SI2 Clarity Diamond
Video Credit: Moissy.com - Youtube
If you own any gemstone ring like white sapphire, morganite or aquamarine, you already know how quickly these stones appear to get dirty. Some people misunderstand this and believe that lower RI stones 'attract' dirt. I've yet to see a stone 'attract oil and dirt' more than another. Lowered sparkle and brilliance is but a result of a lower refractive index (RI)
When It Comes to Sparkle - Other Gems Make a Lackluster Diamond SubstituteAs you begin to wear a ring containing a clear colored gemstone that has a low Refractive Index, you will notice that there is more upkeep involved to keep the stone in sparkling condition. Day to day wear produces a thin film of water spots, oil, soap and other surface residues that to stick to the underside of your stones. The refractive index will determine how the stone appears when subjected to this. If you're contemplating purchasing white sapphire or other gemstones, they are an exceptional alternative to diamond!
However, be ready to start doing lots of this:
Image Credit Wikihow - Cleaning SapphiresAnyone who owns a gemstone engagement ring will tell you, if not kept clean, the stone will begin to look dull very quickly. The refractive index will determine whether it keeps on sparkling or not. This is why diamond and moissanite stay brilliant because their RI is so high. Their sparkle is barely affected, regardless of cleanliness, whereas the lower refractive index gems 'loose their sparkliness' as soon as residue clings to them. Moissanite is more brilliant than diamond since the refractive index is greater, it slightly outshines the diamond in this comparison.
Brilliance Test Results: Moissanite Wins
Comparing Diamond and Moissanite Color GradingDuring the early days of Moissanite by Charles and Colvard, I steered clear of selling the gemstone due to its mediocre performance on the color grading scale.
Enter Forever Brilliant MoissaniteYears later, Charles & Colvard came out with the Forever Brilliant Moissanite, which was a significant improvement in the color grade. This new option meant that moissanite was FINALLY available without being the color in that last picture. Forever Brilliant took moissanite from something that I would never consider selling to my customer, to a quality that I could proudly showcase in my ring designs. Comparing the new FB moissanite to the GIA color grading scale, this new stone ranges in the ballpark of H-I-J in color grade.
Forever One - The Newest Generation of MoissaniteD-E-F Color Grades? Fast-forward to 2015, Charles and Colvard unveiled their newest addition to the catalog, The Forever One Moissanite. The new stone boasts color grades that are rivaling diamonds in the D-E-F color ranges when compared to the GIA color grading scale.
Hey, Charles & Colvard! Now I'm Impressed :)What once was a gemstone grown in the lab that I associated with tones of gray and yellow, and even greenish undertones is now a serious contender in the brilliant white gemstone department. I used to think 'Wouldn't it be nice if at least moissanite was colorless and not green/gray?' Finally Moissanite is colorless.
This Video by Charles & Colvard Compares
Forever One - Forever Brilliant - Forever Classic
GIA Color Grade Comparison ResultsIn this comparison, both diamonds and moissanite have available options in the D-E-F color range. This comparison ends in a tie.
Diamond and Moissanite - Color Grade Comparison
Conflict Free ComparisonConflict diamonds, alternatively known as blood diamonds, are diamonds that are mined in or near war zones. The sale and profit of such diamonds are then used to fund warlord activities, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. If a consumer doesn't know or understand what conflict diamonds are, once it is explained and understood, that same consumer then embraces the idea of boycotting the blood diamond business entirely. In 2006, Hollywood shed some light on the concerning reality that occurs daily in the diamond trade. If you haven't yet seen the movie 'Blood Diamond' starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, I highly recommend it.
Blood Diamond Movie Trailer
Diamond Mining Without Constraints & The Environment
100% Conflict Free Comparison
Other AlternativesIf you're like many who have made the decision to boycott certain diamond sources because of what is going on over in war-ridden areas, there are some great alternatives.
Canadian DiamondsCanadian diamonds are diamonds that have been mined cut and polished in Canada. The diamond, to be certified as Canadian, is tracked from mine to market, laser inscribed with a serial number, and completely traceable via an online database. The Canadian diamond tracking system is still the only marketplace, to my current knowledge, which allows consumers to track their diamond all the way back to its mine of origin.
Laboratory Grown DiamondsA few companies now have the technology which allows them to grow diamonds in a lab environment. Lab-grown diamonds are man-made carbon-based creations that are physically and optically equal to genuine diamonds. As the technology evolves, the diamonds are becoming more readily available, but still fetch a premium that is comparable to their genuine counterpart. The major plus, however, is that these synthetic diamonds are produced in a lab and thus avoid unregulated environment damaging mining activity and potential conflict funding. Lab Grown Diamonds are 100% Conflict Free diamonds!
MoissaniteMoissanite, regardless of the manufacturer, is a fantastic alternative for many reasons also. Like laboratory grown diamonds, laboratory grown moissanite involves absolutely no mining procedures.. With prices at a fraction of genuine and lab diamonds, moissanite outshines the competition not only in brilliance and refractive index but also in price points. Today, not only can you have the sparkle, but you can feel good about wearing it too! All the while completely boycotting the idea of 'conflict gems' ;)
What About Price Comparisons?A Huge +1 for moissanite is it costs a fraction of diamonds that are of comparable size. Let's compare even lower quality diamonds like the ones sold at Kay.com. That Diamond from Kay is:
- 1.00 Carat Round Brilliant Cut
- I2 Clarity (2nd lowest clarity money can buy - not beautiful diamond at all IMO)
- I Color
Price of 1.00 Carat Diamond VS2, F Color, Very Good Cut - 14k Solitaire - Blue Nile
Price of 1.00 Carat Forever One Moissanite - 14k Solitaire
This Diamond Solitaire Found at BlueNile.com
14k White Gold
1.00 Carat Round Brilliant Cut
Very Good Cut
1.00 Carat Forever One Moissanite Solitaire
VS2 Clarity, D-E-F Color
Final Thoughts When it comes to comparing hardness, diamond takes the cake for sure. However, when comparing brilliance, color, clarity, conflict free assuredness and price, moissanite is the clear leader. Both stones have their own unique characteristics. Both diamond and moissanite will have their lovers and haters. Whether you opt to go for diamond or moissanite for your engagement ring, I hope that this info has helped to guide you along..