Many people confuse moissanites with diamonds and don’t realize that these two are actually different stones. Nowadays, moissanite is often considered a diamond alternative, but are these stones really that similar?
What Is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral that was first discovered in 1893 by a French scientist Dr Henri Moissan in Meteor Crater, Arizona.
He initially thought that he had discovered diamonds, but after inspecting the stones in the laboratory he found out that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide while diamonds are made up of 100% carbon.
Natural moissanites are extremely rare which is why moissanites sold on the market today are synthetic. These stones are engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but they are different both compositionally and visually.
Moissanite vs Diamond
At first glance, moissanite looks very similar to diamond, but let’s compare these two stones and see how alike they really are.
Like a diamond, moissanite is very hard. Moissanite is one of the hardest substances on earth and it’s very suitable for everyday wear. On the Mohs scale of Hardness, moissanite is rated 9.25, while diamond is 10. The durability is one of the main reasons why moissanite is linked to diamonds.
All moissanites available are coloured in some way. While moissanites are graded as “colourless”, they can still project yellow or greyish hue in certain lights. The larger the stone, the more noticeable the colour.
Here, diamond is the winner. A colourless diamond doesn’t contain yellow, grey or brown hues. If a diamond is graded colourless, you will find it in a dazzling, bright white appearance.
As mentioned before, today moissanites available on the market are mostly lab-created, and they come with very few imperfections. Their clarity is a lot higher than of average diamonds.
Brilliance and Sparkle
Moissanite and diamond brilliance is different.
Moissanite has a refractive index from 2.65 – 2.69, which is higher than a diamond. The rainbow flashes emitted by moissanites are beloved by many people, but others feel that moissanite’s colourful and intense brilliance is too much, especially in sunlight.
Diamond has a refractive index from 2.417 – 2.419 and it reflects light in three different ways. The white light reflected is referred to as brilliance. The colours refracted through the diamond are called dispersion. And the surface sparkle is known as scintillation. The combination of these three gives diamonds their dazzling sparkle.
Price is one of the top reasons that moissanite may be preferred. Moissanite is a lot cheaper and it costs about one-tenth of the price of similar a diamond.
Should You Buy Moissanites?
It all depends on your preferences and budget. If you can not afford a real diamond, then most likely moissanite will be within reach.
Just keep in mind that moissanite’s highly intense sparkle makes it obvious that it’s not a diamond, at least for those who can tell.