Moissanite is often used as a substitute for diamond in jewelry, and many people cannot readily tell the difference between these two stones. However, there are ways to tell them apart. Let’s see how you can distinguish between moissanite and diamond.
What Is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a form of silicon carbide that is relatively rare in nature. This material has hardness graded 9.5 on the Mohs scale – a rating that is very close to that of diamond, which is a 10 on the same scale. In addition, moissanite looks very similar to diamond and is often used as its imitation. Since naturally occurring moissanite is very rare, most of it is produced synthetically.
How Moissanite Is Different from Diamond
Although it resembles diamond, moissanite is actually very different in quite a few respects. Here are some of the most salient differences between these two stones:
Moissanite has more brilliance than diamond.
Moissanite is more brilliant and sparkly than a diamond with similar clarity, color, and cut. In addition, moissanite has the so-called “double refraction” property. This means that if you look through the top or the side of a polished round moissanite, the facets on the opposite side of the stone will appear doubled. In diamonds, you shouldn’t be able to see such an effect.
Moissanite has more “fire”.
The so-called “fire” effect is another name for dispersion, which refers to how a stone breaks down light into spectral colors. When light enters moissanite, the fire produced is more intense than that in diamond. So, if you hold a moissanite in front of your eye against a source of light, the flashes you will see should be bigger and more colorful than those you would observe in a diamond.
Moissanite weighs less than diamond.
Moissanite has lower density and specific gravity compared with pure diamond. What this means is that if you compare the weight of a moissanite and diamond of the same size, the moissanite will be lighter.
Moissanite is much cheaper than diamond.
Moissanite costs a fraction of the price asked for a real diamond. For example, a moissanite can sell at 10-15% of the price of a diamond with similar clarity, color, cut, and size. However, while a low price tag can indicate that the stone is not a diamond, do not assume that you are being offered the real thing just because it is expensive – there are sellers that would be happy to offer you a fake stone at the price of a genuine diamond.
Moissanite has higher clarity than diamond, on average.
Most of the moissanite sold these days is created in a lab under controlled conditions that minimize internal flaws, and that’s why this stone usually has higher clarity than most diamonds. While having few inclusions doesn’t necessarily mean that a stone is moissanite, if its price is unusually low to boot, this can at least be a signal that you are not looking at a real diamond.
The Best Way to Identify Moissanite
The best way to tell whether a stone is a diamond or moissanite is to use a diamond tester or a moissanite tester.
Diamond testers identify whether a stone is a real diamond by analyzing how the material conducts heat or electricity. You should keep in mind that devices that use heat won’t be able to distinguish moissanite since its heat conductivity is very close to that of diamond. Electronic diamond testers, on the other hand, will be able to tell the difference. However, such a device may only be able to show you that the stone is not diamond, but not whether it is moissanite. Many diamond testers come with the option of identifying moissanite as well, but if your tool doesn’t have this capability, you won’t be able to tell for sure.
Moissanite testers are specifically designed to identify whether a stone is moissanite. They operate on the same principle as electronic diamond testers do, i.e., by inducing electric current that passes through the stone and measuring how it conducts electricity.For more information on diamonds: Read our Diamond Cut Quality Guide.
Important: We recommend that you only buy diamonds that you have seen and examined in detail. Each diamond is unique, and a mere description of color, cut and clarity is not sufficient, as even stones of the same grades might look different.