what is moissanite? What are lab grown diamonds? should i buy a natural diamond? Moissanite Vrs Diamond and diamond alternatives
Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered microscopic particles of the gem that would eventually bear his name in a crater created by a meteorite. He initially thought that he had discovered diamonds, but later determined that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide. Today however moissanite found in jewelry and rings is synthetic and grown in a laboratory. Moissanite is engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but is compositionally and visually different from a real diamond. The durability, brilliance, and color of the two gems is also distinctly different. Here at Velvet Box Society we are here to help and explain the differences.
Moissanite vs. Diamond
Gemstones are measured on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which assesses a gem’s ability to withstand surface scratching.
On the Mohs scale, moissanite is a 9.25 and this make it very suitable for everyday wear as an engagement ring or in jewelry. Diamonds however are the hardest known mineral and receive a 10 on the Mohs Scale. Because of this exceptional score, diamonds are very durable and ideal for everyday wear. This contributes to their popularity as engagement rings’ center gemstones making them a great choice for lifetime wear.
Brilliance refers to the appearance of light reflected from the interior of the gem and encompasses sparkle and scintillation.
Moissanite exhibits a different kind of brilliance. They emit fiery, rainbow flashes and create a “disco ball” effect which displays a very high fiery appearance. The larger the stone, the more likely it is that the difference will be noticeable and this is mainly because moissanite has a refractive index which is much higher than a diamond (from 2.65 – 2.69). White light reflected back to the eye is referred to as brilliance, while the rainbow colors refracted through a stone is referred to as dispersion. The surface sparkle to the eye is known as scintillation. The combination of these three gives diamonds their famous sparkle which is unlike any gem known to man.
While synthetic moissanite is generally labeled as “colorless”, many of them still project a yellow, greenish, or grayish hue. A colorless diamond, whether natural or lab created, has a natural body color that contains no traces of yellow, brown, or grey, resulting in a dazzling, bright white appearance. As natural diamonds move down the color spectrum they will being to exhibit more yellow, brown, or green body colors.
Moissanite is dramatically lower in pricing than diamonds. Moissanite does vary in price based on size and quality of manufacture. Natural diamonds and lab created diamond prices vary based on shape, carat, cut, color, and clarity. Lab created diamonds are less expensive than natural diamonds (assuming all statistics are the same) Because moissanite is grown in a laboratory the pricing is not as stable as diamond pricing. Meaning in time we have seen the price of moissanite become more and more affordable (just as we see in laboratory grown diamonds). This is important when you consider resale. If you ever are considering upgrading a piece you have we would suggest considering a natural diamond.
Considerations for Moissanite
While diamonds are graded on the 4 C’s scale (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat), moissanite is graded mainly color. The cut and clarity is similar across different qualities of moissanite. Premium moissanite are nearly colorless and can be compared to a D-F in color on the 4 C’s scale, other types of moissanite can fall below the premium range and are still a great quality at G-I in color. This is a very very small factor yet does effect the price.
Many people ask us here at Velvet Box Society if moissanite looks ok with diamond accents. Moissanite does have an nice appearance when set in rings or other jewelry that contain diamond accents. We always suggest going with a natural diamond however should you have interest in a moissanite ring we are happy to help and do carry them in stock! Additionally we are able to cut moissanite to any size or shape!
Other Affordable Diamond Alternatives
If you are considering a moissanite engagement ring, we are happy to help. If you’re attracted to the lower price point in comparison to diamonds but have concerns about the color or brilliance, you may want to consider other diamond options. Velvet Box Society has some of the top Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologists on staff.
For more information, help, or advice in selecting the right center stone for an engagement ring contact us