The Differences Between Diamonds and Moissanites

At first glance, moissanites and diamonds seem to be quite closely related. Once you get to looking at them on a more in-depth level, they are extremely different. In this article, we are going to break down the differences between the two different stones. We are going to compare them by color, hardness, brilliance, and price.

What Exactly Is Moissanite?

Naturally occurring moissanite is extremely rare as the conditions to make it have to be perfect. The first one was found in 1893 by Henri Moissan and it was formed by a meteor that landed on earth. They are made of silicon carbide, which is one of the ways in which it differs from diamonds (as diamonds are made of pure carbon). Because of this rarity, the moissanite stones that you will find in jewelry today are going to be stones that were produced in a laboratory.

Their Color: Diamonds vs Moissanites

Diamonds are stones that are nearly colorless, and they are judged on a scale known as the GIQ scale. The grades span from D to Z and the best colored are going to rank from D to J on this scale. The highly rated diamonds (from D to J) are going to be nearly colorless and this is what gives them their brilliant ability to sparkle.
Moissanites, on the other hand, are not graded on color, but many of them would fall in the K range on the GIA scale. The difference is that in certain lighting, moissanite stones are going to have yellow, gray, or green tints to it. The larger the moissanite stone, the easier it is to see this coloring in the stone.

Their Hardness: Diamonds vs Moissanites

There is a special scale, known as the Mohs Scale, that grades a stone on its’ hardness. According to this scale, 10 is the hardest and 1 is the softest. Diamonds are known as the hardest mineral on the planet and they are given a 10 on the scale.
This durability is one of the reasons why diamonds are perfect for engagement rings and other jewelry that people will wear every day. It is a stone that will stand up to the abuse a ring or other jewelry will go through because of daily wear.
Amazingly, diamonds are more durable than such materials as steel, platinum, titanium, and even Tungsten carbide. Moissanites are closely ranked to diamonds on this scale, as they are given a 9.25 rating on the Mohs scale. Though it is a small difference, it is still a difference.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness

HardnessSubstance or mineral
>10Nanocrystalline diamond (hyperdiamond, ultrahard fullerite)
10Diamond
9.5–10Boron
9–9.5Moissanite
9Tungsten carbide
8.5Chromium
8Cubic zirconia
7.5–8Emerald
7Quartz
6–7Silicon
6Titanium
5.5Glass
5Apatite (tooth enamel)
4–4.5Steel
4Iron
3.5Platinum
3Copper
2.5–3Gold
2–2.5Halite (rock salt)
2Calcium
1.5Lead
1Talc
0.5–0.6Potassium
0.2–0.3Rubidium

Their Brilliance: Diamonds vs Moissanite

The brilliance of a stone is its’ ability to bend and refract light. When light hits the lower, angled areas of the stone (the pavilions), the light is bent up through the flat, top surface (the table) and is then caught by your eye. Diamonds have the ability to do this better than any other stone, which is why it sparkles the way that it does.
Moissanites are cut differently than diamonds and, thus, the light bends in a different way through a moissanite than it does through a diamond. They do have a sparkle to them, but nothing like a diamond.
Another part of this is what is known as fire. Fire is the way in which a stone refracts colored light (fire). Diamonds and moissanites both have the ability to refract colored light. There are certain times, under particular types of light, when moissanites do produce a spectacular colored light. This is the type of sparkle that most people are not looking for. The beauty of a diamond is because of the sparkle they produce when they refract white light.

Their Price: Diamonds vs Moissanites

**It is difficult to compare the pricing of these two stone types because their price is established in different ways. The price of a moissanite is based on the size of the stone (in millimeters) and diamonds are priced on their weight (in carats) and a few other factors (but the weight is the biggest factor).
Moissanites are, on average, 15% heavier than a diamond of the same size.
These two stones differ in their features and characteristics in many ways, as well. This is another one of the reasons why it is difficult to compare these two stones based on price. The price of a diamond is based on cut, clarity, color, as well as carats, while moissanites are based on size.
As an example, we will compare a one-carat diamond and a moissanite of a comparable size, which is 6.5 millimeters. A 1-carat diamond costs around $3,890 and a 6.5-millimeter moissanite stone costs around $850. This is a great example of the value that diamonds have throughout the market.

Size (in Carats)Diamond PriceSize (closest equivalent to Carats)Moissanite Price
0.50$1,0605mm$520
0.63$1,5205.5mm$610
0.75$2,2206mm$680
1.0$3,8906.5mm$850

Can A Moissanite Be Considered A Diamond?

The simple answer is no. Diamonds are a naturally occurring stone that is made of carbon and created through heat and pressure over thousands of years. Moissanites are stones that are created in a laboratory and are done so with silicon carbide. Though they make look similar, they are two very different things.

In Conclusion

If a diamond is what you want, a moissanite is not a substitute. A diamond is the type of stone that is always going to stand out in a sea of other gems. Moissanites are beautiful stones that are a great alternative if you are shopping on a budget or the type of stone is of no importance to you.
If you are on the market for a diamond, make sure that you are working with a real expert. They will be able to aid you in staying within your budget, while still being able to purchase a beautiful stone or piece of jewelry.