Jewellery Guides

Moissanite vs Diamond Comparison Guide

Written by Eddi Norris
November 19th, 2020 • 5 min read
Moissanite engagement ring with six claws and gold band

Deciding between moissanite and diamonds often sparks an intriguing debate in the world of fine jewellery. Both possess unique characteristics that appeal to different preferences and budgets. In our article, we delve into the captivating differences between moissanite and diamonds, exploring their brilliance, durability, ethical considerations, and affordability.

Whether you're seeking an eco and ethically-conscious alternative or aiming to understand the subtle differences in sparkle and value, our guide will highlight the distinct features of moissanite and diamonds, aiding you in making an informed choice for your next exquisite piece of jewellery.

In this article

  • What is a moissanite diamond?

  • What is moissanite?

  • What is a diamond?

  • Can you tell diamonds and moissanites apart?

  • Moissanite vs diamond side-by-side comparison

  • Diamond alternative to moissanite

  • Summary

  • Moisanite vs Diamond FAQs

What is a moissanite diamond?

There’s no such thing as a moissanite diamond - moissanite and diamonds are two different gemstones, and while they have visual similarities, there are some major differences between the two.

While moissanite is a potential alternative to a traditional diamond, you’ll need to carefully consider its characteristics before making that choice.

What is moissanite?

Moissanites were first found in 1893 by a French scientist called Henri Moissan. Initially he mistakenly thought they were diamonds. On later inspection, the particles Moissan found from a meteorite crater in Arizona were in fact silicon carbide - which look similar to diamond, although most trained and untrained eyes could tell moissanite apart from diamond.

While moissanites can naturally occur, they are incredibly rare to come across, meaning almost all moissanite stones are created in a laboratory for low cost jewellery.

What is a diamond?

A diamond is a naturally occurring crystalline mineral composed primarily of carbon. It is renowned for its exceptional hardness, brilliance, and exceptional visual properties. These precious gemstones are mined from underground sources or extracted through diamond mining processes and are then cut and polished to enhance their brilliance.

Diamonds can also be grown in a lab to the exact same specifications as those found in nature.

Diamonds are highly valued (and popular) in jewellery for their rarity, long-lasting quality, and symbolic significance as a representation of love and commitment.

Is moissanite a diamond?

Despite natural moissanite now being lab-grown due to its rarity, it would not be classified as a diamond, but instead a “diamond simulant”. Simulated diamonds (or synthetic diamonds) are created to look similar to diamonds but do not have the same chemical and physical properties. Other examples of synthetic diamonds are Cubic Zirconia (CZ) and white gemstones such as Sapphire, Topaz and Quartz. Most people can tell a diamond simulant apart from a real diamond, because they emit a different sparkle and their facets look less crisp than diamonds.

Close up diamond showing the clear, bright facets and sparkle only diamonds posses


Close up of a moissanite showing the rainbow like sparkle and hazy looking facets

Moissanite (via

Can you tell diamonds and moissanites apart?

The best way to compare diamonds and moissanites is to compare them side by side. Looking closely, you’ll notice they each have a different brilliance or ‘sparkle’. Diamonds sparkle with a distinct brilliance of:

  • light reflection (how light bounces off the diamond)

  • colour refraction (the change in the direction of light when it passes through an object)

  • scintillation (the flash or sparkle of light)

Another way to tell moissanite from diamonds is that a real diamond will also feel cold to the touch, and won’t fog up easily when you breathe over it. Most people can tell the difference between moissanite and diamonds with the naked eye, but if you’re unsure, speak to a gemmologist for an expert view.

Moissanite, on the other hand, can look yellow or grey tinted under certain lights and has more colour and fire, flashing with vibrant rainbow hues when you rotate the stone around, showcasing a “disco ball effect” in sunlight.

However, more factors can be compared with the moissanite gemstone and diamonds. We discuss the comparisons of moissanite and diamonds in more detail below.

Moissanite vs diamond side-by-side comparison

Characteristics Diamonds Moissanites
The more colourless the stone, the more desirable
Colourless diamonds, graded D-F, appear bright and icy white under all lights. Diamonds with lower colour grades start to appear yellow tinted. Moissanites are graded on the same scale as diamonds, but tend to appear more grey, brown or yellow or even green tinted, particularly under certain lights. The bigger the moissanite, the more obvious the colour flaws.
A high clarity grade means there are no internal marks, or ‘inclusions’ visible to the naked eye
Diamonds range hugely in clarity, from totally flawless, to eye-clean, and noticeably included. Flawless diamonds come with a big price tag, but diamonds graded between VS2 to SI1 will appear clear to the eye without the hefty price. The lab creation of moissanites has been perfected, resulting in little to no inclusions. Finding a totally flawless moissanite will be easier than a flawless diamond; but characteristics more obvious to the naked eye, including colour and sparkle, are usually favoured.
Brilliance, Fire & Sparkle
Sparkle is made up of ‘brilliance’, white flashes of light, and ‘fire’, coloured flashes
Most would argue that diamonds have a remarkable combination of brilliance and fire, resulting in bright, white sparkle with more subtle flashes of coloured sparkle. No diamond simulant has the same signature sparkle as diamonds. Moissanites have greater fire, meaning their sparkle can appear ‘rainbow’ like, essentially equating to a very colourful sparkle. This can be pretty noticeable, particularly with larger moissanites, and a visual giveaway that it is not a real diamond.
Durability & Hardness
Gemstone hardness is measured on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, from 1 (soft) to 10 (hard)
Diamonds are the hardest material found in nature, measuring 10 on the Mohs scale. Moissanites ranks lower on the Mohs scale, making them slightly softer than diamonds, measuring 9.25 on the Mohs scale.
Price & Value Diamonds retail higher than moissanites, but also retain their value far greater. Lab diamonds are both identical to natural diamonds, and around 50 - 60% cheaper. Moissanites are very budget-friendly, but do not retain their value. As lab diamonds offer a visually identical but more economical alternative to mined diamonds, there is less and less demand for diamond simulants like moissanites.
Ethicality Thanks to the UN’s Kimberley Process, over 99% of the world’s mined diamonds are now conflict free. Lab grown diamonds offer a totally conflict-free, ethical route to buying a real diamond. Moissanites are created in a laboratory, so are conflict-free.

There is a difference between diamond and moissanite. Moissanite stone (now) lab-created, mimics a brilliance and fire somewhat similar to diamonds, but differs in chemical composition and origin. Most gem experts and jewellery buyers would agree that moissanites and diamonds look noticeably different. As mentioned earlier, moissanite also is graded differently on the GIA colour chart, often resembling a lower-grade diamond in colour.

Moissanite’s affordability and ethical sourcing will be attractive to some when contrasted with the traditional rarity and cost of diamonds. That said, lower-cost lab diamonds may seem like a more attractive option. While both gems share some similarities in appearance, durability, and sparkle, it is really a matter of individual preference.

What's an affordable diamond alternative instead of a moissanite?

Lab grown diamonds are the perfect way to achieve a 100% genuine diamond ring for a much more affordable price than mined diamonds, without having to compromise on the aesthetics of the stone by choosing a moissanite.

Queensmith vets all diamonds and gemstones meticulously. Our gemmologists are trained to spot and reject any diamond that doesn't meet our high standards and offer exceptional value for money.

Fellow Queensmith gemmologist and lab diamond expert, Joanna Wyganowska, explains, "Queensmith lab diamonds are grown and selected for top quality, at a great price. Lab diamond production is more efficient than diamond mining, which leads to a lower cost per carat - however, there are poor quality lab diamonds out there. To make sure your lab diamond jewellery looks as sensational as possible, we work with HPHT diamonds over CVD diamonds, which often need post-growth treatment to get them looking up to scratch. We go above and beyond looking at just the 4Cs, and check each diamond's polish, symmetry, fluorescence, as well as the placement and severity of any inclusions."

Under the magnifying glass: Queensmith’s lab-grown diamond vs competitor diamond

The left HPHT diamond has top cut, colour, clarity, polish and symmetry grades with no fluorescence. The diamond on the right has far lower grades, appearing dull, yellowish and clunky. Queensmith's gemmologists would reject the diamond on the right.

Lab diamonds vs moissanite

Moissanites can look starkly different to diamonds and therefore are often labelled as fake diamonds, or diamond simulants. On the contrary, lab diamonds are entirely real, and look identical to natural diamonds - but thanks to the efficiency of their production, they retail between 50% to 60% cheaper than mined diamonds. Lab diamond rings are a far better option than moissanite rings when it comes to a tighter budget.

Moissanite isn't specifically graded on the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) diamond colour chart, but it generally mirrors a GIA-certified K-colour diamond. Most people could tell the difference between a colourless D to F graded diamond and a K grade, which will appear yellow or greenish.

What's better, moissanite or a diamond?

Whether you choose moissanite or diamond, both gemstones offer unique advantages and appeal to different preferences. Moissanite appeals to affordability, brilliance, durability, and ethical considerations, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious and environmentally-conscious individuals.

Diamonds, on the other hand, are classic, rare and enduring symbolism, backed by their exceptional durability and resale value. Ultimately, the decision lies in aligning your personal priorities with the distinct qualities of each gemstone.


Choosing the perfect gemstone in Hatton Garden

At Queensmith, each of our consultants are trained gemmologists, with the expertise and passion to create the most exquisite engagement and wedding rings at the best value for money. If you’d like a little more information, know exactly what you want, or would like to hear from the experts, we’re here to help - just drop us a message.

Intrigued about our ring-making process? You are invited to explore our ring workshop to see the artistry behind every stunning piece of jewellery at Queensmith. Book an appointment to find out more.


Moissanite vs Diamond FAQs

How is moissanite made?

Moissanites are made from carbon and silicon. A tiny piece of silicon carbide is subject to high levels of heat and pressure, to encourage crystallisation. A moissanite stone grows during this period, and then the gem is cut and polished in a similar way to diamonds.

Is moissanite a lab grown diamond?

Moissanite isn’t a lab-grown diamond, instead a natural mineral formulated from silicon carbide and extremely rare in nature. However, most of the moissanite used in jewellery today is created in laboratories through a process that simulates the natural conditions under which moissanite forms.

Lab-created moissanite is produced to replicate the gem's natural characteristics, including its brilliance and durability, but it is distinct from lab-grown diamonds, which are manufactured versions of natural diamonds.

Is moissanite as good as a real diamond?

Most professional jewellers would agree that moissanites are not as good for fine jewellery as diamonds. They emit a colourful, rainbow-like sparkle which to many not appeal to some people which as it can look a little ‘inauthentic', and their facets do not appear shape. Whereas diamonds emit a bright, crisp sparkle and have very clear, sharp facets.

How do I clean a moissanite ring?

Over time, daily wear can dull the dazzle of your engagement ring stone due to oil, debris, and cosmetic residue. However, rejuvenating its shine is simple with the right tools and a few easy steps by:

  • Inspecting your ring’s condition

  • Using basic household items like warm water and washing-up liquid, and delicately brushing away dirt with a soft toothbrush

Learn more about preserving your ring's brilliance by visiting our blog.

Can you tell the difference between diamonds and moissanite?

Yes, the visual difference between moissanite and diamonds is quite obvious.

  • moissanites are typically tinted grey, brown or yellow

  • moissanites have a rainbow-like sparkle which looks very different to the sparkle of a diamond

  • the facets of a moissanite can appear less crisp and 'clean cut' than a diamond

Does moissanite get cloudy?

Moissanite doesn’t become cloudy over time, just like diamonds. If your moissanite or diamond looks cloudy, it probably just needs a clean!

What is the meaning behind moissanite?

Moissanites are known for strength, therefore symbolise steadfastness. You could project the meanings of a diamond onto the diamond simulant, like love, commitment and eternity.

What is the downside of moissanite?

Moissanite presents a few potential drawbacks despite its allure. While its fiery brilliance captivates many, some might find its intense rainbow flashes different from the classic sparkle of diamonds.

Additionally, although moissanite is durable, it ranks lower on the Mohs scale of hardness compared to diamonds, making it slightly more susceptible to scratches over time. These differences in appearance and hardness are key factors to consider when choosing between moissanite and diamonds for jewellery.

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