Have you heard of Moissanite?
If not, you’re probably conjuring up pictures of a plant, a metal, or maybe even a planet. Well, it’s none of those things. Moissanite is actually a mineral and a rare one at that. It looks astonishingly similar to a diamond.
Moissanite can be a fabulous alternative to the traditional diamond engagement ring or wedding band. However, there’s more to Moissanite than meets the eye in the differences between it and diamonds. We’ll get into all the details so you can make an informed choice.
Whether you’re not a fan of natural diamond prices or practices, here’s everything you need to know about its gorgeously similar twin, Moissanite!
What Is Moissanite?
Okay, before we get into what Moissanite is, let’s do a quick refresher on what diamonds are. This way, you’ll be able to compare the differences accurately.
A diamond starts as carbon, deep in the earth. Pressure and heat, applied over eons, gradually transform this unexciting element into one of the strongest and most brilliant objects on earth.
Because of their one hundred percent carbon composition, they’re fifty-eight times harder than the next strongest mineral on earth (corundum). The Moh’s hardness scale rates the toughness of minerals; on it, a diamond scores 10 out of 10 possible levels.
For decades diamonds have been used in jewelry, most commonly engagement rings and wedding sets. Before this, they were sought after for talismans to help protect wearers in battle and ward off evil.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be talking about the traditional diamond. There are different colored diamonds, but the most popular is the iconic, colorless kind. They’re known for their icy sparkle, brilliance, and scintillation.
Moissanite bears a strikingly similar appearance to diamonds and comes in at a 9.5 on the Moh’s scale. It’s also a mineral called silicon carbide. However, it isn’t as plentiful in nature as diamonds. In fact, not enough can even be sourced to cut a 1-carat stone of Moissanite.
In 1893, Henri Moissan (the namesake of the gem) discovered them in a crater from a meteorite. But discoveries like this have become increasingly rare, leading most Moissanite to be created in a lab.
The man who discovered Moissanite initially thought they were diamonds, and looking at the two stones side by side, it is easy to see why! However, there are a few differences.
Differences Between Diamonds and Moissanite
- Origin. Diamonds can be mined or created in a lab; most Moissanite is only lab-created
- Hardness. Diamonds score a 10 on the Moh’s scale, while Moissanite scores 9.5
- Price. Diamonds tend to be more expensive than Moissanite
- Color. Diamonds can be found in a variety of colors, while Moissanite typically only has green or yellow tones
- Brilliance. Diamonds have a white light reflection compared to Moissanite’s rainbow reflection. This is because Moissanite has a higher refractive index, which gives them more fire and sparkle
How Much Does Moissanite Cost?
Out of the differences listed above, price is usually the starkest dissimilarity. If you were to compare a natural diamond and Moissanite with equal characteristics, including quality and carat weight, the Moissanite would be around one-tenth the price of the diamond.
For example, a 1-carat Moissanite may cost only $500-$600 while a 1-carat near colorless diamond could set you back $5000.
This is why they make fantastic alternatives to diamonds: extremely fine-quality mined diamonds in large carats can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moissanite cost does increase with stone size, much like diamonds do.
A three-carat Moissanite will cost closer to $3000. But when you consider that an average nearly colorless three-carat diamond costs over $25,000, you can see that no matter the size, Moissanites are always cheaper than their diamond counterparts.
How Is the Cost of a Moissanite Stone Determined?
You’ll notice that we used terms like “fine quality” and “nearly colorless.” This is because a stone’s characteristics have a great deal to do with its value, whether it’s a diamond or a Moissanite.
Moissanite is graded on four factors, known as the 4 C’s. Diamonds are rated this way too. Depending on how fine a quality stone you have, the price can differ by thousands of dollars. The first of the 4 C’s is color.
The most desirable color of Moissanties is actually clear. Like diamonds, the greater the lack of color, the better. Some tones can have hues of yellow or green, making them less valuable than other sparkling white specimens. Colorless Moissanties (similar to diamonds) receive a higher grade.
There are twenty-three GIA diamond color grades, ranging from D to Z. The grades are grouped together into subcategories. Though there are differences between grades in each subcategory, it can be extremely hard to distinguish between a G and an H, for example.
An expert diamond grader can clearly tell the difference between the well-defined characteristics of each category. Although, most individuals will be able to tell the difference between a G and a Z.
Moissanite color grading is based on this scale. Because these stones are lab created and have less color variation, their grading scale isn’t as broad. Today, the following grades and subcategories are used to assess the color quality of a Moissanite.
- Colorless (D-E-F range)
- Near-colorless (G-H-I range)
- Faint hues of color (J-K range)
Stones in the colorless category, D, E, and F, will cost more than near-colorless of faintly hued gems. A one-carat loose Moissanite in color range GHI will cost a little less than $400, while the same stone in color grade DEF costs around $600.
Like fancy diamonds or other colorful gems, Moissanite is graded on cut and symmetry. The cut and symmetry refer to the facets that must be strategically placed and cut into the stone.
Facets, or the flat faces you can often see cut into a gem, help the stone to make the most use of light. The facets can enhance a stone’s brilliance, sparkle, and fire.
Based on its light performance, determined by the polish and symmetry of the cut facets, a Moissanite can receive one of the following grades:
- Very Good
An ideal gemstone will make the most use of light, reflecting and refracting it to create a beautiful stone that shines and sparkles with plenty of fire.
Lack of luster or fire isn’t usually a concern with Moissanites because they have such a high dispersion value. This means that they reflect a spectrum of colors and give off that desired rainbow appearance in the light.
Different cuts can affect the cost—a three-carat round in color grade DEF costs around $2,319. Alternatively, a stone with similar characteristics in an Asscher cut costs around $2,429, a cushion cut comes in a $2,779, and an emerald cut demands $2,739.
As with nearly everything in life, more of something equals a higher price tag. Carat weight refers to the weight of the Moissanite, which is different than its millimeter measurements.
Two Moissanites weighing the same number of carats can appear to be very different sizes. This is because the shape of the stone and the cut can affect how big or small it looks.
A Moissanite may carry the majority of its weight below its girdle or the lower portion of the stone below the flat surface on the top. Additionally, a baguette cut may appear slimmer than a round, or a cushion might appear bulkier than a trillion.
This is why it is essential to pay attention to the carat weight, exact measurement, and method of comparison, and not only the millimeter specifications. Remember, the higher the carat weight, the larger the stone, and therefore the bigger the price tag.
For example, a one-carat Moissanite in a round cut with excellent color and clarity will cost about $1,400. A two-carat stone of the same quality is $1,900, and a three-carat stone is $2,960.
Man-made Moissanites have the advantage of having excellent clarity. Unlike diamonds formed below ground and susceptible to inclusions and blemishes, created Moissanties tend to be very clear.
Inclusions and blemishes can appear not only in rod or tube-like structures in the stone but also decrease a gem’s shine, sparkle, and brilliance. However, only the largest inclusions tend to be visible to the naked eye.
Expert graders will often look at a stone under 10x magnification in order to assign a grade. Moissanite is graded like a gemstone and can be one of the following grades:
Rarely will Moissanites be graded on the diamond clarity scale, which includes the below ranges:
- FL, IF: Flawless and internally flawless
- VVS1, VVS2: Very, very slightly included
- VS1, VS2: Very slightly included
- SI1, SI2: Slightly included
- I1, I2, I3: Included
Green-hued Moissanites typically have small needle-like inclusions, more so than other Moissanites. Nevertheless, these stones are often eye-clean, meaning they aren’t visible without high-powered magnification and don’t generally affect the look of the gem.
As we get better at synthetically creating Moissanties, the yellow or green hues and the small inclusions become less concerned. Usually, you can find high-quality Moissanites that are colorless and clear.
These gorgeous stones will cost much less than diamonds, even if they’re larger than the natural diamond you’re comparing them to!
Where to Purchase a Moissanite Ring
There are various places you can purchase a Moissanite ring. In most cases, online, you’ll have a much wider selection of Moissanite, both loose stones and jewelry. Finding Moissanite in various shapes, cuts, and carats in physical stores can be difficult.
Quality online retailers will have excellent reputations, reviews, and return policies. Make sure you thoroughly vet any seller, whether it be online or in person. Before you commit to making a purchase, carefully review the specifications and images, ensuring that it is the perfect Moissanite for you!
One of the biggest producers of fine quality Moissanite is Charles and Colvard (C&C).
Types of Moissanite and Their Prices
When browsing Moissanites, you may encounter a few different types that will usually have varying prices especially if you’re viewing Charles and Colvard Moissanites. They break down their offerings into the following categories.
- Forever Classic. These lovely Moissanites are the least expensive. In terms of color, they’re in the faint category, usually scoring around a “K.” As they’re not truly colorless, you may be able to detect a slight amount of color. However, the setting you choose can make it less noticeable. You can find an enormous selection of size, cut, and shape in the Forever Classic designation.
- Forever Brilliant. Forever brilliant is the next step up, the “middle” option. It falls in the near-colorless range, coming in at an “H.” They’re often desired for their white yet natural appearance. This is about as close as you’ll get if you’re looking for a true diamond alternative. However, keep in mind there are often fewer shape, cut, and size options in the Forever Brilliant category.
- Forever One. The most expensive and top tier is Forever One. Their D-E rating means their considered colorless. In most cases, a Forever One Moissanite will look strikingly white. Their rare and very valuable, usually produced with a limited number of carat weights and shapes. A Forever One 1.00CT Moissanite in the color range of DEF generally costs around $600, while a slightly larger Forever One 3.01CT in the same color range has a price tag of $2,500. However, you can find loose Moissanite weighing as much as 12.5CT for around $11,700.
Which Moissanite you prefer depends on your taste, style, and budget! There is no right or wrong choice; it’s completely up to personal preference.
Does Moissanite Lose Its Sparkle?
We’ve talked a lot about how brilliant and sparkly Moissanites are. They’re pretty durable too. But many still wonder, will my Moissanite lose its sparkle?
The good news is, no! At least, not permanently. The only thing that could cause your stone to become dull is dirt and grime. Thankfully, these things qualities are reversible with a good cleaning.
Moissanite won’t lose its sparkle, change colors, or diminish in brilliance over time.
Is Moissanite Worth Buying?
The answer to this question truly depends on what you’re looking for. It’s durable, beautiful, and a fantastic look-alike to diamonds. Because it is man-made, its availability is great, and there are plenty of customization options.
However, this also means it isn’t as innately rare as natural diamonds. To some, this can make the stone less valuable. If you’re looking for an investment gem that you can pass down generations, a Moissanite may not be the best choice.
Alternatively, suppose you want something affordable that looks just as dazzling as a diamond and can withstand everyday wear. In that case, a Moissanite is something you definitely won’t want to pass up.
Maybe It’s Born With It, Maybe it’s Moissanite!
Is it a natural diamond born from the earth, or is it Moissanite? You’ll never have to tell, and most people won’t know the difference!
We love this diamond alternative for its budget-friendly price and beautiful appearance. However, just as when buying diamonds and other gemstones, be sure to carefully consider the 4 C’s before committing to your perfect Moissanite.