If you are thinking of buying an engagement ring or simply a beautiful gift for your partner and you have spent considerable time exploring your choices, chances are you have already heard of moissanite. While the diamond is an ever-popular classic mineral that tops most rings on the market, moissanite has become popular only recently. Moissanite is often referred to as a “diamond simulant”, but there is more to it than a simple alternative to the popular precious stone.
But what are the differences between the two exactly? Which one should you choose? Let’s look at the most important points.
What is Moissanite?
Everyone more or less knows what diamonds are, but unless you are a keen jewellery buyer or you have been faced with the need of choosing a mineral for a special occasion, it is quite possible you hear of moissanite for the first time.
Moissanite is, in fact, a mineral that resembles a diamond, but has some distinct features, such as colour, reflection and hardness. The mineral was discovered at the end of the 20th century and the person who discovered it did not initially realise he had discovered a new type of mineral. He believed he stumbled upon more diamonds.
A decade later, his discovery was distinguished from diamonds and given the name moissanite. Research also proved that the latter actually originated from space, the breaking of meteors that impact the earth.
Due to its cosmic origin, you can only buy moissanite produced in laboratories, but do not let this discourage you – lab grown moissanite is just as beautiful and real as the one that comes from space.
Price, Price, Price
While many may deny it, the first thing we look at when choosing a piece of jewellery is certainly its price. Unless you have wagons of cash sitting around, price is an important factor for you in making that final decision.
Here the moissanite definitely seems like a lucrative option. You can find moissanite jewellery three to four times cheaper than diamond jewellery. The reason for this is that virtually all moissanite is lab made, and that comes with a significant cost cut.
Another thing you should keep in mind when differentiating between moissanite and diamond, and also if you are choosing between the two for a ring, is the colour of the mineral’s reflection.
Diamonds have a distinguishable white-to-grey reflection that many people adore. This reflection colour is especially important on the inside of the diamond, and it is one of the telltale signs of an original diamond. If the reflection of the mineral on the inside reminds you of a rainbow, you are possibly looking at a forgery of a diamond. In contrast, the moissanite naturally emits a rainbow reflection.
As far as the colour of the mineral itself is concerned, diamonds have a whole array of possible colours: white, yellow, red, black, orange, and green – it all depends on the natural processes that shaped the diamond, particularly on temperature.
Lab grown diamonds can have their colour altered essentially based on the desire of the customer. This is owing to the fact that laboratories can simulate the external conditions that formed the diamonds and thanks to modern technology, these conditions can be finely tuned to meet specific needs.
If you choose moissanite to complement your rings, it will usually be in the yellow or green gamma.
The hardness of minerals is measured according to a special scale called the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, and it goes from 1 to 10.
It is widely known that diamonds are extremely hard and durable and unsurprisingly they score the maximum of 10 on this scale.
Moissanite is actually quite close, with 9.5 out of 10 which makes it less durable than the diamond, but still extremely hard compared to other minerals. In fact, moissanite is the second-hardest mineral based on the Mohs scale.
Just as an example, Quartz scores a 7, and Topaz scores an 8.
Ultimately, the difference in beauty is based on your personal preference, mainly because moissanite is rather similar to the diamond. The choice here is strictly personal and heavily dependent on the colour of the mineral and its reflection.
The beauty of a mineral attached to a ring or other jewellery also strongly depends on the craftsman’s expertise, and a good expert can make wonders with almost any mineral. As is often the case, it is possible that your choice will be based on all factors mentioned here rather than just on beauty.
Another noticeable difference between diamond and moissanite is the way the two minerals are actually produced. Please note that we are taking into account naturally mined diamonds for this comparison.
The latter are mined and shaped from special locations all over the world, and their production depends on whether the mineral was exposed to the right temperature and pressure in order to form diamonds. These conditions are very specific. Additionally, the mining process relies on excavation machines, hard labour and often long-range transport before it gets to the store.
Moissanite on the other hand is fully produced in laboratories. This means that experts can replicate the conditions needed for moissanite to form in nature and grow the mineral in a much shorter time frame. This process also excludes the need for heavy mining machinery and additional labour which makes it much cheaper. It is interesting to also point out that diamonds can be grown in laboratories, too. The qualities of lab grown diamonds are in no way inferior to those that were naturally mined.
That being said, diamonds are still much more accessible for customers just because they remain a classic choice for rings, especially engagement rings.
You may face some difficulties if you are looking for moissanite in physical stores in your city, but the truth is that this mineral is becoming all the more popular. Additionally, online stores make it much easier to buy a moissanite ring nowadays