by Suzanne Sachs • 5 min read
THE BASICS --
Moissanite and lab-grown diamonds can both be beautiful options for jewelry, but how do they truly compare? Understanding the differences between the two types of gems can help you better appreciate their distinct qualities to choose which one best fits your jewelry preferences.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW--
In this guide, we will explain the following:
- What is Moissanite?
- What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
- Comparing Moissanite and Lab Grown Diamonds
- Sparkle and Brilliance
- Hardness and Durability
- Warranty and Retailers
- Resale Market
- What are Old European Cut Diamonds?
- Which Stone is Better?
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite is natural silicone carbide, a very rare mineral first discovered in 1893. Nobel Prize-winning French chemist Henri Moissan discovered the mineral in a meteor crater in Arizona, but for years mistook it for diamonds because of its extreme similarity to that precious gem. It wasn’t until 1904 when he corrected his classification and the new mineral was officially confirmed. Later, it was named moissanite in his honor.
This mineral is hard to find but does occur naturally, often as inclusions in diamonds or found in the same types of deposits where diamonds are traditionally mined. In addition to Arizona, natural moissanite has been found in Wyoming as well as parts of Russia.
Moissanite can also be lab-grown, and in fact synthetic moissanite is much more widespread for jewelry than natural stones. Because of their similarities to diamonds, these gems are often favored for engagement rings and other fine pieces, and can be a beautiful option for discerning.
What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are synthetic stones with identical chemical and physical composition to natural diamonds. Also called artificial or cultured diamonds, these can be a more affordable option for jewelry, but with less long-lasting value.
The different processes to grow diamonds in a laboratory setting has been around for longer than many jewelry connoisseurs may realize, but it wasn’t until the 1940s and 1950s that the processes were perfected and became more widespread for gemstone manufacturing. Lab-grown diamonds can be produced by either high-pressure, high-temperature manufacturing or chemical vapor deposition, as well as other methods that are not as successful or widely used.
While lab-grown diamonds are free of blood conflicts, they still require tremendous resources and can be responsible for significant environmental destruction. Additionally, they lack the history and character that natural vintage stones exhibit. Because of this, there is far less resale value for lab-grown diamonds, making them less attractive to jewelry collectors and less of a sound investment for heirloom jewelry.
Comparing Moissanite and Lab-Grown Diamonds
Both moissanite and lab-grown diamonds can generate considerable interest for anyone looking for stunning jewelry. Understanding how the stones compare is the best way to make an informed decision for your jewelry purchases. While these two stones are very similar, they are not the same.
• Sparkle and Brilliance
Moissanite, for example, has a higher refractive index than diamond, even lab-grown diamonds, and exhibits nearly twice as much “fire” as a diamond. This is seen as a “disco ball” effect with rainbows bouncing through the stone, and can be a very attractive feature for someone who loves a lot of sparkle.
• Hardness and Durability
In terms of durability, lab-grown diamonds are a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, while moissanite is rated at 9.25. While this does mean that moissanite is softer than lab-grown diamonds, both stones are exceptionally durable and suitable for daily wear, such as for engagement rings or wedding rings.
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Lab-grown gems, are available in a wider range of colors, from colorless or faintly
yellow hues to brightly colored “fancy” shades of pink and blue. Moissanite has fewer color options but can be created with yellow, teal, gray, black, or greenish tones. Additional colors for both stones can be created with special treatments, though for both moissanite and lab-grown diamonds, colorless stones remain the top favorites.
Moissanite is a less expensive stone than lab-grown diamonds, which are more mid-range in price. Natural diamonds remain the highest price options for stones that are comparable in terms of carat weight, overall clarity, and color quality. An individual’s jewelry budget could be a factor in which stone they choose, depending on how they balance other characteristics against overall price.
• Warranty and Retailers
One thing jewelry buyers need to consider between moissanite and lab-grown diamonds is whether or not any warranties are offered on the stones they select. While jewelry retailers may offer warranties on the full jewelry piece for maintenance or repairs, the stones themselves may not be covered, depending on the manufacturing process and whether or not any potential resale value may apply to the stone. Moissanite may have a better warranty than lab-grown diamonds, if a warranty is indeed offered.
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• Resale Market
The resale market for lab-grown diamonds and moissanite is limited, and individuals with an affinity for vintage jewelry tend to favor natural diamonds or gemstones. This aspect should be taken into account by consumers when weighing the choice between natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and moissanite, especially if there's a possibility of resetting or reselling the stone down the road. It's important to note that moissanites and lab-grown diamonds are unlikely to experience the same level of value appreciation as natural antique stones, making them a less attractive investment within the jewelry market.
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What Are Old European Cut Diamonds?
An old European cut diamond is a vintage diamond cut known for its unique charm and historical appeal. With fewer facets than modern brilliant-cut diamonds, lab grown diamonds and mosissanite, OEC diamonds boast a distinctive play of light, giving them a romantic and nostalgic allure.
Choosing an OEC diamond for an engagement ring allows one to embrace individuality, as it departs from the more common modern cuts and offers a connection to a bygone era. Their warmth, character, and potential antique settings make OEC diamonds a symbol of enduring love and an ethical choice, as they repurpose existing gemstones without contributing to new diamond mining, making them a captivating and eco-friendly option for those seeking a distinctive, vintage aesthetic.
Which Stone Is Better?
Ultimately, both moissanite and lab-grown diamonds offer desirable characteristics for lovely stones, though they do not necessarily compare to natural vintage diamonds. Everyone has their own personal preferences for the characteristics they value most, and understanding the differences between moissanite and lab-grown diamonds can help them choose which stones best match their jewelry style and expectations. By researching each type of stone and making an informed decision, you can be sure to choose a gem you will love for many years.
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Find The Perfect Engagement Ring:
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