What is Moissanite?

Are you looking for an engagement ring? It's wise to browse all of your gemstone options before making a final decision. While diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, some prefer the fire and brilliance of moissanite.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a near-colorless gemstone that’s composed of silicon carbide. First discovered by Henri Moissan, a French scientist, moissanite was originally found in 1893 in a crater left behind by a fallen meteor. He mistakenly believed the crystals he found were diamonds.

Although they look similar at first glance, moissanite is very different from a diamond. Diamonds are made of carbon, whereas moissanites are made of pure silicon carbide — an extremely rare, naturally-occurring mineral.

The natural moissanite discovered by Moissan in 1893 is exceptionally rare, making it practically impossible to use natural moissanite for jewelry. As such, the moissanite sold today is produced by laboratories. It can take 2-3 months to create a single moissanite stone in a lab.

Diamond vs. Moissanite: Price

A diamond’s price and value is dependent on its 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat). These elements work together to form the beauty and brilliance of the stone. Because diamonds are mostly natural rather than artificial, they can vary hugely in price, value and quality.

On the other hand, most moissanites tend to cost the same price, except when two stones differ in size and type of moissanite material—enhanced or unenhanced.

While price differs between diamond and moissanite, it’s essential to realize that the features, quality and beauty of diamonds and moissanites differ significantly. Just because the price is lower, it does not mean you’re getting a better deal or a better value.

To outline the price difference of moissanite vs. diamond side by side, we’ve compiled the below chart. Although the prices differ, the lasting value and actual beauty of a moissanite vs. diamond is incomparable.

Note: Moissanite weighs approximately 15% less than diamonds. Therefore, an accurate comparison of price is not possible. Instead of using Carat weight, moissanites are priced on their size in millimeters. We have estimated a close comparison below.

Size (in Carats)

Diamond Price

Size (closest equivalent to Carats)

Moissanite Price

















The table above shows a comparison between diamonds in various carat weights and moissanite stones in roughly corresponding sizes.

At the low end, you can see that a half-carat diamond costs more or less twice as much as a similarly sized moissanite. And this price ratio increases with size too, with a 6.5mm moissanite stone costing around $850 which is 80% less than a 1ct diamond with a similar diameter.

Diamond vs. Moissanite: Color

Although moissanites and diamonds can look similar in color when seen from a distance or in poor lighting, there are significant color differences between them that are more obvious when the two are viewed up close.
Diamonds are graded on a GIA Color scale from D to Z, while moissanites are not categorized by their color. Moissanites are, however, not colorless and resemble the K grade on the GIA color scale used to grade the color of diamonds.

When under certain lights, yellow and green tints can be seen in moissanites. The larger the moissanite, the easier it is to notice yellow, gray or green tints. At large sizes, it’s generally easy to notice the stark difference from a diamond.
Nearly colorless diamonds, ranging from D to J on the GIA scale, will contain no hints of yellow or gray tinting. Color is one element that make diamonds sparkling white, and it is hard to mistake a moissanite for the clear, natural beauty of a diamond.

Diamond vs. Moissanite: Clarity

The clarity of a moissanite refers to the amount (or lack of ) blemishes and inclusions that are visible in the stone. Like diamonds, moissanites are generally imperfect, meaning they’ll often have small blemishes that are visible when they’re viewed under magnification.

Almost all moissanites sold are graded for clarity using a scale similar to that used by the GIA and other grading entities to assess the clarity of diamonds.
It’s important to note that the clarity grade for a moissanite isn’t given by the GIA, AGS or any other impartial gemological lab — instead, the clarity grade (and certificate, if the moissanite is sold with one) is often given with the stone by its manufacturer or seller.

Since moissanites are artificial, unlike natural diamonds, it’s very uncommon to see moissanites with a clarity grade below the VS level for sale. In general, the clarity of a moissanite is close to flawless almost all the time.

Diamond vs. Moissanite: Cut

Like diamonds, moissanites are available in a variety of different cuts. You can find round, oval, pear, cushion, princess and radiant cut moissanites. Some moissanites are even cut in antique cuts that were widely used for diamonds hundreds of years ago.

The most popular cut for moissanites is the round brilliant cut. There are several reasons for the round brilliant cut’s popularity:

  • Brilliance. Like with a diamond, the round brilliant cut offers the greatest brilliance and fire. This means that the stone will sparkle when it’s exposed to bright light, which enters into the stone and bounces off its facets in different directions.
  • Color. The round brilliant cut is the best cut for hiding color and making a stone appear nearly or completely colorless. This is an advantage for a moissanite, as it helps to hide the yellow and green tints that are typically visible in moissanites.
  • Versatility. The round brilliant cut is extremely versatile, with a design that looks great in modern and vintage engagement rings and other jewelry.
Generally, moissanites look the best in cuts that hide color and emphasize the stone’s brilliance, such as the princess cut (for moissanites, this shape is often referred to as the “square cut”), as well as the oval cut, radiant cut and marquise cut.

Diamond vs. Moissanite: Hardness

On the Mohs scale of hardness, a moissanite measures in at 9.25-9.5, while a diamond has a score of 10 — the maximum on the scale.

The Mohs scale is used to measure a gemstone’s hardness, or in other words, its durability. The scale ranges from 1 as the softest to 10 as the hardest. The Mohs scale shows one of the most obvious distinctions between a moissanite and a diamond.

As the hardest known mineral, diamonds are incredibly durable and resilient. This makes them perfect for everyday wear and engagement rings, as they’re able to resist scratches and other damage that could affect the appearance of softer stones.

To gain perspective on mineral hardness, we display the Mohs scale below. As the chart demonstrates, diamonds are harder than some very durable minerals such as steel and Tungsten carbide.

Now, does this mean that moissanites scratch? Not quite. Although moissanite is lower on the scale than a diamond at 9 to 9.5, moissanites are still durable. The only minerals that scratch a moissanite are those equal or higher on the scale — namely, diamonds and other moissanites.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness


Nanocrystalline diamond (hyperdiamond, ultrahard fullerite)








Tungsten carbide




Cubic zirconia












Apatite (tooth enamel)












Halite (rock salt)












Diamond vs. Moissanite: Brilliance

When you see a diamond sparkle, you’re experiencing its ability to bend and refract light. As light strikes the pavilions (the angled surfaces on the lower half of the diamond), it bounces and is refracted up through the diamond’s table (the top, flat surface) to your eye. When this occurs, it’s called brilliance—a remarkable quality of diamonds.

Moissanites, on the other hand, give off a different type of sparkle. Their facets are cut and formed differently, causing less white light refraction than a diamond. While moissanites do create sparkle, it is not as clear and vibrant as those of a diamond.

Interestingly, moissanites have a higher refractive index — a measure of the speed at which light travels through the material — than diamonds. The refractive index of moissanite is 2.65, versus 2.42 for diamonds. Overall, the refractive index of the two stones is very similar.

In addition to diamond’s signature brilliance, the gemstones also emit fire, which is the reflection of colored, or rainbow light. A moissanite also gives off a vibrant colored light reflection. In some cases and under certain light, the moissanite emits extensive color dazzling—which some people don’t prefer.

While relatively noticeable when looking at a moissanite vs. diamond side by side, the difference in brilliance and fire is increasingly obvious with larger sizes, especially when the gemstones are viewed up close in certain lighting conditions.

Can Moissanite Be Considered a Diamond?

By both experts and non-experts, moissanites should not be considered the same as a diamond. The two are entirely different gemstones for several reasons, from substance to brilliance to color.

Diamonds are naturally found, formed of the hardest material, and possess extraordinary beauty and value. Moissanites are almost always lab-created and made from silicon carbide. They also have numerous visual differences from diamonds, such as color and light performance.

While from a distance the diamond and moissanite might appear somewhat similar, they are noticeably distinct even to a non-expert’s eye.

Now, does this mean that a moissanite is better than a diamond, or worse? That’s ultimately a subjective question that no one can answer. A moissanite isn’t better or worse than a diamond (and vice-versa) — instead, they’re very different stones with different characteristics.

How to Tell the Difference Between Moissanite and Diamond

From a distance, moissanite and diamond can look quite similar, especially when each stone is inside an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry. With this said, there are several ways that you can tell moissanites and diamonds apart when they’re viewed up close:

  • Brilliance. Moissanite tends to refract light more than diamond, producing a stronger level of brilliance. In simplistic terms, this means that a moissanite will usually appear sparklier than a diamond of similar cut and size.
  • Fire. Moissanite usually has stronger fire — the breaking down of light into noticeable spectral colors — than diamond. If you place a diamond and a moissanite next to each other under strong lighting, the moissanite will likely produce stronger flashes of color.
  • Clarity. Because moissanites are made in a lab, the average clarity level is higher than that of naturally-produced diamonds. It’s common to see diamonds with blemishes and inclusions, whereas most moissanites have few obvious internal imperfections.
  • Color. As we mentioned above, moissanites aren’t completely colorless and often show noticeable yellow, green or gray tints when viewed under light. In comparison, diamonds come in a range of colors, from strongly tinted to entirely colorless.
  • Weight. A moissanites will weigh approximately 15% less than a diamond of the same size. While this isn’t perceptible when either stone is held in your hand, a high precision jewelry scale will easily show the difference in weight.
  • Value. Moissanite is significantly less expensive than diamond, meaning you can buy a larger stone for less money. It’s also far less valuable, meaning you’re ultimately buying a stone that’s worth very little over the long term by choosing a moissanite.
  • Electricity conduction. This isn’t something you can easily check by eye, but diamond and moissanite conduct heat and electricity differently. Some diamond testing tools use electricity to detect whether a stone is a real diamond or a different type of gemstone.

GIA, the world’s leading diamond grading laboratory published an article about how some people tend to cheat the system and sell moissanites as diamonds. Luckily for consumers, they usually get caught pretty quickly. JCK Online also reports of cases where fraudulent merchants were coating moissanites with a thin diamond film and claimed these were “challenging to identif.”

Advantages of Moissanite Over Diamonds

Moissanites offer several unique advantages over diamonds, although these may not be seen as advantages for everyone:

  • Price. Moissanite is significantly less expensive than diamond, meaning you’ll be able to purchase a larger stone at a lower price. This can be a significant advantage if you’re on a limited budget.
  • Clarity. Because moissanites are produced artificially, they’re generally not sold unless they have a high clarity grade. This means that it’s rare to find moissanites with obvious inclusions and blemishes.
  • Lab-Created. Although this is likely a downside for most, some people might appreciate the technology that goes into a moissanite. If you’re concerned about the ethical side of buying a diamond (a topic we’ve covered more here), this may also be an advantage for you.
  • Brilliance. Moissanites have a high refractive index and a strong level of brilliance, with a noticeable level of color. Although some people find them unnaturally sparkly, this can be an advantage if you’re looking for a very bright, eye-catching stone.

Disadvantages of Moissanite Over Diamonds

Despite their advantages, moissanites also have several unique disadvantages when compared to diamonds:

  • Different, artificial-looking brilliance. Diamonds are famous for their brilliance, with an eye-catching yet elegant white sparkle. On the other hand, many people think the highly intense and very strong white sparkle of a moissanite looks unnatural.

To the trained eye, the bright and powerful brilliance of moissanite can also be a clear giveaway that it’s not a diamond.

  • They’re not diamonds, at least from a cultural perspective. Diamonds are, for better or worse, culturally significant and strongly associated with engagement, marriage and romance.

While a moissanite might look nice, it doesn’t have the same association with love as a diamond. There’s also a risk that your partner and/or peers might view a moissanite as an inexpensive, “cheap” alternative to a diamond or other more traditional gemstone.

Of course, this varies from person to person. If you think your fiancé-to-be won’t mind a moissanite engagement ring instead of one with a diamond, don’t let cultural factors put you off choosing the gemstone you like the most.

So, which is better: moissanite or diamond?

It’s all about preference! Choose whichever stone feels right for you. Some people find the “disco-ball” effect that moissanite creates to be too much for them, while some people love the fire and price point of moissanite. Others love the romantic, classic appeal of diamonds and prefer the added assurance of hardness.