Moissanite is a popular and highly regarded stone choice for those looking for a diamond alternative. To many, moissanite is considered diamond-like in appearance and often mistaken for a diamond due to its spectacular brilliance and fire qualities. However, there are some distinct visual characteristics and compositional differences between these two stones. We have summarised the important details to allow you to make a more confident and educated decision on the perfect stone for your forever piece.
A Moissanite is a gemstone composed of silicon carbide, first discovered at the site of a meteor crater in 1893 by Scientist Henri Moissan. Naturally-occurring moissanite is an exceptionally rare occurrence, so today, moissanite gems are made in controlled laboratories.
Earth-mined diamonds are formed naturally over billions of years deep within the Earth’s crust. Intense heat and pressure cause carbon atoms to crystallise, forming diamonds brought only to the surface through volcanic eruptions. Natural diamonds are mined predominantly in Russia, Botswana, Canada, Angola, South Africa, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Australia (which closed in 2020).
Louise Jean exclusive range of moissanite, Astral Moissanite™, are graded ‘colourless’ (D/E). When comparing a colourless moissanite to a colourless diamond, there are noticeable differences that can be more predominant in certain lights. Particularly in larger sizes of moissanite, very soft hues of grey or yellow may be apparent, which can make the stone appear less vivid. Much like a diamond, a moissanite will appear brighter if smaller in size. On the other hand, a colourless graded diamond will be at a significantly higher price point in your desired carat range. In contrast, a Moissanite will not require a sacrifice in colour to achieve size.
As with diamonds, the clarity grade of a moissanite is influenced by the amount and type of imperfections it has. All Astral Moissanite™ has an equivalent diamond clarity grading of VVS2 or better, which is guaranteed free of inclusions to the naked eye.
Nearly all diamonds (excluding those with an Internally Flawless clarity grading) will contain some degree of inclusions, that may be visible to the eye or under magnification. Finding an eye-clean diamond without sacrificing the other C’s (such as carat and colour) may difficult and can greatly influence overall cost. See Diamond Education to reference the GIA diamond grading system.
BRILLIANCE AND FIRE
Brilliance refers to the ability of a gemstone to reflect and disperse light. On a physical scale, a moissanite has a marginally higher refractive index, technically making it more ‘brilliant’ when exposed to light. Compared side-by-side, you may notice brighter flashes of light and colour from the moissanite, particularly in larger stone sizes. This effect is commonly known as the fire, which can be quite noticeable for some. Refer to our comparison videos here.
When comparing the same size, a moissanite is a fraction of the cost of a diamond. Moissanites have a lower specific gravity (density) than diamonds, therefore you cannot make a comparison based on carat weight. The price of a moissanite only changes based on the size of the stone, while a diamond’s price varies based on many factors including carat, colour, clarity, and cut.
ETHICS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Sadly, ‘green-washing’ is very prevalent within the jewellery industry. Keywords with great intention, such as ethical and sustainable, are overused for the sake of a sale. As there is no legal weight to these terms, there can be misleading information as to what ethical actually means and how a brand uses it to support their product.
Intrinsically, fine precious jewellery such as an engagement ring or wedding band is made with the intention to keep forever. From a quality point of view, something that does not require replacement and will last generations to come is essentially sustainable. From an environmental point of view, sustainability refers to minimising or eradicating harmful impacts on the environment and its natural resources.
As moissanite is lab-created and requires no mining, it is an appealing option for those seeking an eco-conscious gemstone with minimum wastage of resources. On the contrary, natural diamond mining contributes significantly to the betterment of millions of people on the planet, many of whom have no other means to make a living.
Since 2002, the Kimberley Process (established by the United Nations) has been in place which provides assurance to buyers on the ethical origins of their diamond. This process also works to support the miners and protect those working within the industry, moving towards safety and new opportunities in health care and education.
Moissanites and diamonds exude incredible beauty and are excellent options for everyday wear. We love to help educate our clients to allow them to find the perfect stone for them, based on their personal preferences. If you have any questions, or would like any more information, we’re here to help you make the best decision for your lifestyle and budget.