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What’s The Difference Between Diamond and Moissanite
This page will be continually expanding in order to include the latest information on moissanite in comparison to diamond.
It’s my aim to help each and everyone of you to find the answers and information that you seek.
If you have specific questions not covered here, or would like to see something else added to this resource, join in the discussion at the bottom of the page.
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Forever One Moissanite vs Diamond Price Comparison
Price in USD
Price in USD
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Moissanite vs Diamond Video Side by Side
Forever Brilliant Moissanite (left) and GIA Certified G Color SI2 Clarity Diamond
Moissanite Background and Introduction
When and Where Was Moissanite Discovered
In 1893, moissanite was discovered in the Canyon Diablo in Arizona. The discovery took place while rock samples were being examined at the meteor crash site. Imagine the feeling of examining these moissanite crystals at this meteor site, and for a good while the crystals were actually thought to be diamonds.
It wasn’t until 11 years after the discovery, in 1904, that the crystals were properly identified as moissanite.
Yep! Moissanite Originated from Out of This World
Image Credit: Ed Sweeney
Who Discovered Moissanite
The Nobel-prize recipient and chemist Dr. Henry Moissan discovered the natural form of crystal silicon carbide, which was later named Moissanite in honor of his last name.
How is Moissanite Made
All moissanite found in jewelry is synthesized and grown in a laboratory setting. In the late 1980’s, the process of growing pure SiC crystals in a lab was perfected.
Who Makes Moissanite
Originally produced by and sold exclusively by C3 Inc, now known as Charles & Colvard, who held a patent for producing moissanite up until 2015 which practically gave them a monopoly on the entire production and distribution of moissanite.
Synthetic lab grown moissanite has been around for almost 2 decades. What was exclusively produced and distributed under patent protection originally, is now available via other laboratories and manufacturers. Many are jumping on the opportunity to produce the gems in the past year which should prove healthy for supply and demand.
I’m a firm believer that competition is a great thing. Now that the monopoly style patent has expired, many producers are starting to reverse engineer the process and already entering the marketplace with competing products. This is great news for availability and supply of stones which was seriously being hindered by only having access to one producer of the gems.
Keep an eye out for more moissanite brands to start hitting the marketplace as time goes on.
Moissanite engagement rings production and requests will definitely be much easier to fill in the coming year, whereas in the past year it was difficult because of little supply and excess demand.
Is Moissanite a Diamond?
Over the years, I’ve often been asked for my opinion on moissanite diamonds.
“Hey Gerry, what do you think of moissanite diamonds?”
“Hey Gerry, can you get moissanite diamonds?”
Moissanite is not a diamond nor should the two be confused.
Both gems are completely different substances.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite is the crystal form of silicon carbide, a substance that is rarely found in nature.
What is Diamond?
Diamond is crystallized carbon/charcoal.
Investigative Reports Have Shown Jewelers Fooled by Moissanite
‘Fake Jewelers’ have a really hard time distinguishing moissanite from diamond.
I call ‘Fake Jewelers’ those who are jewelers that simply sell jewelry for a living. You know those clerks behind the jewelry counter, sales people without years of jeweler’s bench experience and no real training in the observation and inspection of gems.
Yep! Moissanite looks like a diamond to those people, but to those with true long term technical experience in the business… We need only 2 seconds to call moissanite, or any other gemstone, ‘Not a Diamond’.
That’s the truth.
To the untrained eye, it is very difficult to differentiate diamond from moissanite.
Diamond vs Moissanite: Hardness
Gemstone Hardness is measured on the Mohs scale of hardness which ranges from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest).
Moissanite, also known as Silicon Carbide or Carborundum, is a 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Diamond is a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
The Truth About Gem Hardness
Diamond is much harder than moissanite, as such diamond can cut into moissanite with little resistance.
Moissanite is amongst the hardest gems know to man.
It has a rating of 9.25 on the Mohs scale which makes moissanite very suitable to be worn as a jewelry item everyday.
Confusing Hardness with Toughness
Just because these gems are rated amongst the hardest surfaces known to man, this does not mean that they are the toughest structurally.
For example, diamond is harder than my steel hammer.
I can cut through my hammer with a diamond. However, I can smash the diamond with my hammer.
This is because of what’s known as ‘cleavability’.
The gemsociety.org website gives this example on hardness & toughness:
Did you know the particles of dust you see floating in the air and settling on tables are mostly silicon quartz? Their hardness on the Mohs scale is around 7 to 7.5. That means those particles can remove the finish from your car, the polish from your table, and actually cut glass. Dust and other everyday hazards make gemstone hardness an important consideration when designing and wearing jewelry.
You may know that diamond, with a hardness of 10, is the hardest material in the gem world. However, there’s an old saying among gemologists:
“If you hit a diamond with a hammer, it’ll shatter into a dozen pieces. If you hit a piece of quartz with a hammer, it’ll split in two. If you hit a piece of jade with a hammer, it’ll ring like a bell!”
How is that possible if diamond is the hardest gem?
What Does Gemstone Hardness Mean?
Gemstone hardness is a very misunderstood property. The word “hardness” has a very specific scientific meaning in gemology that differs considerably from its everyday usage. The scientific definition of hardness is the ability to resist scratching, nothing more.
Read full article: Source
The Truth About Toughness
Diamonds and moissanite, though very difficult to scratch or abraid, can be chipped and/or broken.
This breakage and chipping is not a common occurrence in set jewelry, but it’s definitely possible and I’ve witnessed this a number of times over the years.
Diamond vs Moissanite:
Brilliance - Refractive Index - Fire and Dispersion
Refractive Index (RI)
|Fire - Dispersion|
When comparing both moissanite and diamond on the refractometer, we can see that the refractive index of moissanite is greater than diamond.
Lowered sparkle and brilliance, to my understanding, is but a result of a lower refractive index (RI).
All stones get dirty and develop a layer of oils and dirts that stick to the underside of the gem.
The major difference is that the higher RI gems keep sparkling while lower RI gems will look dull under these conditions.
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)
The Truth About Brilliance:
Comparing the stones with gemological equipment clearly shows that moissanite is the winner in this arena. With a greater RI and great Fire and Dispersion – Moissanite wins this round.
Moissanite Color Grade Comparison
Forever One vs Forever One vs Forever Classic
Video: Forever One vs Forever Brilliant vs Forever Classic Side by Side
Diamond vs Moissanite: Color Grade
The Gemological Institute of America devised a certified color grading system for diamonds.
Equipped with a certified master set of color graded diamonds, a trained gemologist can compare any diamond against the master set in order to establish it’s color grade. More accurately, the gemologist can determine the presence of or lack of presence of yellow tint that is apparent in the crystal.
The favored 4H polytype crystal being used to produce Forever One Moissanite, NEO Moissanite, SuperNova Moissanite and other up and coming brands are producing color grades that are between D to H color.
The Truth About Color Grading Moissanite
Summary of Color Comparison:
In my opinion, this ends in a tie. D-E-F color grade of diamond is rivaled in appearance by the newer 4H polytype moissanite.
Conflict Free and Eco-Friendly Comparison
Conflict 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 ofboycotting 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
The Kimberley Process was initially established to stop the flow of ‘conflict diamonds’ from reaching the market via ‘stringent’ sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
The following is an excerpt taken from the BBC showcasing some of the shortcomings and criticisms of the Kimberley Process which has led to groups like Global Witness to leave the Kimberley Process:
“But Global Witness says the Kimberley Process has failed to break the link between diamond sales and violence.
In the late 1990s, the organization led a campaign to draw attention to the problem of conflict diamonds, and along with other NGOs was instrumental in setting up the Kimberley Process itself.
Now, however, it has become disillusioned with the system.
“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from,” Global Witness founding director Charmian Gooch told BBC World Service’s World Business Report.
With all of the above going on, and the negative impact of un-regulated corrupt mining can have on the environment as seen in the following video, it’s a wonder the diamond business continues on in the way that it does.
Diamond Mining Without Constraints & The Environment
Moissanite on the contrary, is grown in a controlled laboratory environment right in the good old USA with Charles & Colvard products, and overseas for most others.
The Truth About Conflict Free Gems
The truth is, in the case of mined products, we can be told that they are conflict free. But do we know for sure? The answer is no.
In the case of moissanite, it is 100% created in a lab. A big win for eco-friendly and conflict free assuredness.
Gerry’s Personal Thoughts on Moissanite
Why I Never Sold Moissanite
Year: 2001 – 2013
I didn’t actively promote moissanite as a diamond alternative until the recent improvements in it’s appearance.
I think that it looked sub-par at best, just my personal opinion.
Seriously, here’s a stone that was being sold as a diamond alternative and it looked like this:
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Yellow and green and everything in between. That is not a desirable look. Just my opinion.
Some people loved that classic moissanite appearance and I’m sure many people still do.
In those early days, moissanite 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 was being emitted from the stone. It just isn’t a desirable look to me, nor would I have offered it to my own clients as an option.
If I don’t wholeheartedly believe in the product, I’m not going to sell it. Period.
As a matter of fact, ask me to sell you a Classic moissanite…
I will still refuse to sell ‘classic’ moissanite to this day! First impressions are lasting impressions. Again, my opinion.
Introduction to Forever Brilliant Moissanite
In 2013, I was approached by a client who had a moissanite ring that she was very excited to show me.
So she lay her hand in front of me, and I was prepared to see the same old stuff as before.
I couldn’t believe it…
I was actually kind of impressed by it’s appearance.
I asked her where she got this?
‘It’s the newer Forever Brilliant Moissanite by Charles & Colvard, isn’t it pretty!’
For the first time in my life, I said ‘Yes’! It looks amazing, and it really did… Even by my fussy standard.
So impressed was I, that I finally started to offer Moissanite, of the Forever Brilliant variety, to my clientele as a viable center stone option for engagement rings.
Important Notes on Forever Brilliant Moissanite
Forever Brilliant brand of moissanite is touted to be in the near colorless range and often compared to H-I-J Color Grade of diamonds.
However, I’ve found this to only be partially true.
As you look at FB moissy’s that are 2 Carat or larger, the larger stones definitely appear to show more yellow than what is claimed. That is my own personal critique on this.
The feedback that I’ve gotten from clients who own larger stones, 2+ Carat, have confirmed this and told me that they ‘wished’ they’re stone didn’t look so yellow.
Forever One Moissanite Hits the Market
When Charles and Colvard finally rolled out their newest Forever One Moissanite in 2015, I was simultaneously leery and excited.
I became a little bit less skeptical once I saw this video comparing the three qualities of moissanite side-by-side:
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 is a stone that I can sell in absolute confidence because of it’s lack of color.
Moissanite vs Diamond – Gerry’s Personal Tests
I’ve never been one to take the word of science as the be all and end all. Even though my own tests confirm their findings, sometimes I just like to get confirmation for myself.
Also, this means I get to do what many guys enjoy doing:
- Playing with my shop tools
- Scratching things up with other things
- Smashing stuff
- Lighting things on fire with my torch
That’s right, I’m going to be cutting, smashing, burning and conducting my shop tests goldmith shop style on a real diamond and a real moissanite.
Test #1 – How Hard is SiC – AKA Moissanite
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.
Video – 20,000 rpm – Cutting a Gold Ring with SiC (aka moissanite)
Test #2 – Diamond vs Silicon Carbide AKA Moissanite
Can You Cut Diamonds with Silicon Carbide AKA – Moissanite?
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.
Video – 20,000 rpm – Can I Cut a Diamond in Half with SiC (aka moissanite)
Test #3 – Smashing a Moissanite with My Hammer
Test #4 – Smashing a Diamond with My Hammer
Test #5 Let’s Burn These Sparkling Gems with the Torch 🙂
If 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 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 Diamonds
A 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, these diamonds are becoming more readily available. They do however fetch a premium dollar.
The major plus, however, is that these created 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!
Moissanite, regardless of the manufacturer, is a fantastic alternative for many reasons.
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’ ?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Forever One Moissanite VS Other Brands
With Charles & Colvard’s patent now expired, other moissanite brands are beginning to make their mark in this rapidly expanding marketplace.
Here I’ll be comparing moissanite brands head to head as time and supply allows. If there’s a comparison that you would like to see, let me know and I’ll do my very best to include it.
Amora Gem VS Forever One Moissanite
In order that I may evaluate any competing gemstone accurately, I always attempt to setup an account with the supplier of the stones in order to get my hands on the supply for comparison.
After reaching out to the supplier of Amora Gem in order to do so, I was told:
“..due to extremely limited inventory currently we are not accepting new requests for Amora Gem resellers… At such time as we are able to accept new reseller accounts, we will get back to you.“
This is the second time in the last couple of years that I’ve attempted to setup an account with Amora Gem and have gotten the same reply. Time will tell whether or not I ever get to do a physical examination of these myself.
In the meantime, I’ve found this really nice video comparison of Forever One Moissanite and Amora Gem side by side. I’ve set the video to start at 4:00 minutes because this is exactly how I would examine the Color Grade of the 2 competing stones:
Video Credit: F&B on Youtube
The GIA Certified diamond appears on the left, followed by the Amora Gem in the center and the Forever One Moissanite on the right. Glancing back and forth from Amora to Forever One, the Forever One appears to be a higher on the color scale.
Both gems are touted as colorless when compared to the GIA Color Grading chart. The Amore – F Color, and the Forever One which is most often compared to D-E-F Color grades.
Having said that, and from my observation of this video specifically, Forever One is still a better choice for those of you seeking the highest color grade possible.
Until I’m shown otherwise, this is my current conclusion on this comparison.
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.
Moissanite Q&A with Gerry The Jeweler
Would you opt for moissanite instead of a diamond?
Why? Why not?
Do you already own a moissanite? What has been your personal experience?
Feel free to ask questions, and I’ll answer them 🙂
Join the Discussion!