Many people confuse moissanites with diamonds and don’t know that they are actually different minerals. It is true that moissanite is often considered an alternative to diamond, but are these two stones really that similar?
What Is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral that was first discovered more than 100 years ago. Although a lot of people think of it as a substitute for diamond, moissanite’s chemical composition is quite different. While diamond is made of carbon, moissanite is a form of silicon carbide.
Because natural moissanite is very rare, most of the moissanite sold on the market today is actually synthetic.
Moissanite Compared with Diamond
At first glance, moissanite looks very similar to diamond, and these two stones also seem to have similar physical properties. But let’s compare them and see how alike they really are:
Like diamond, moissanite is very hard. Its hardness is 9.5 on the Mohs scale, while diamond is 10. The durability of moissanite is one of the reasons it is likened to diamond.
Since today’s moissanite is mostly lab-created, it comes with very few imperfections. In this respect, it has clarity that is a lot higher than that of your average diamond, and moissanite is usually very slightly included.
Here, diamond is the clear winner. Whereas the highest quality diamonds are colorless, there are no moissanites that can live up to this standard. All moissanite available is colored in some way, no matter how slightly. The best moissanite color you will be able to find is white with visible yellow tints, but you won’t find pure white as in the best quality diamonds.
Brilliance and Sparkle
Moissanite has more brilliance than diamond, and if you look at a moissanite under good lighting, you will notice that this stone’s sparkle is a lot more colorful and intense than that of a diamond.
If you compare a diamond and a moissanite of similar size, you will notice that moissanite is lighter. This is because it has a lower density than diamond.
This is one of the top reasons that moissanite may be preferred – it is a lot cheaper and can cost about one tenth of the price of a comparable diamond.
Should You Buy Moissanite?
So why would you buy moissanite? First of all, if you cannot afford a real diamond, moissanite is so cheap in comparison that it would likely be within reach, and it comes quite close to diamond in terms of durability. In addition, this stone’s clarity is usually very high, and a diamond of a comparable grade will likely cost ten times as much. Moissanite has more brilliance, but just keep in mind that its highly intense sparkle makes it obvious that it is not a diamond (for those who can tell, at least).
However, the biggest downside to moissanite is that its color puts it in the same grade as lower quality diamonds that have a visible yellow tint. So, if you’ve decided to give moissanite a try anyway, just make sure you don’t have it set in a white setting. If you pick silver or white gold, for example, the yellowish tints will stand out even more. Instead, you can choose yellow gold, which will make moissanite’s not-so-perfect color less noticeable.For more information on diamonds: Read our Diamond Cut Quality Guide.