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What is the difference between a cultured diamond and Moissanite?

The mysterious moissanite is called the “little brother” of the diamond. What kind of stone is this, how to distinguish moissanite from a diamond and which of the insert options to prefer – we will look into this in our article.

Moissanite – what is it?

Moissanite is silicon carbide (carborundum), which was discovered in 1893 by the Frenchman Henri Moissan and was named after the scientist. Natural moissanite is rare on Earth and can be found in corundum deposits, kimberlite rock and some meteorites. The rarity of moissanite is due to the fact that its formation requires extremely high temperatures and such high pressure that these two factors coincide extremely rarely under terrestrial conditions. Due to its rarity and small size, natural moissanite has no jewelry value. But seeing the potential in this stone, scientists created an artificial one. Its production began in the late 2s of the 80th century, and starting from the 90s, artificial moissanite began to be used in the jewelry industry. It is even called an analogue of a diamond. But it is not so. Artificially grown moissanite is a transparent stone with a bright glassy sheen. Its refractive index is significantly higher than that of a diamond: 2,97 versus 2,42. The dispersion is also higher: 1,104 versus 0,044 for natural diamond. Moissanite can be colorless or have a greenish, yellowish or even black color that does not change depending on the light. The density of both stones differs slightly.

How to distinguish moissanite from diamond

Unfortunately for ordinary people, it is almost impossible to determine on your own which stone is in front of you.

Heat test – no longer working

On the Internet you can find information that moissanite changes color when heated: from transparent it becomes greenish. Alas, only the first artificial moissanites behaved this way. Gradually, their production technologies have been significantly improved, so at the moment heating will not lead to a visible reaction in the form of a color change.

Mohs hardness testing – no longer works

It is believed that if the stone is scratched with a diamond-tipped tool, a noticeable mark will remain on the moissanite. We hasten to debunk this myth: in 2016, the technology of coating moissanites with a super-thin diamond film (CVD technology) appeared. Thanks to this, traces do not always remain on the stone. Moreover, this same technology has “confused” even diamond testers (who determine the thermal conductivity of a stone): now they cannot distinguish moissanite from a diamond.

Conductivity test

Perhaps one of the most accurate methods is to test stones for electrical conductivity using a duotester. Moissanite conducts electricity, but diamond is a dielectric.

Optical test

  • The facets of moissanite have less cohesion: with the help of magnifying technology, doubling of the faces can be seen.
  • Moissanite has a brighter play of light compared to a diamond; a specialist can easily distinguish them.
  • Moissanite has growth tubes: small voids that occur as the crystal grows. They can be either inside the stone or like needles on the surface. It is possible to detect growth tubes at a magnification of 10-90 times.

5 reasons to choose a diamond over moissanite

Even though moissanites have taken their place in the jewelry market, most jewelry buyers still prefer diamonds. There are several reasons for this.

  • Traditions. Diamond is one of the most traditional stones in jewelry. This can be considered a centuries-old standard.
  • Natural origin. No matter how good the analogues are, natural stones are usually valued higher.
  • Status. Even if no one can guess a diamond in a setting or moissanite by its appearance, the owner of the jewelry will definitely be confident in the prestige and status of his product.
  • Value. Diamonds are more expensive and only increase in value over time, while moissanites become cheaper as technology develops.
  • Liquidity. Finally, diamonds are a good investment. If necessary, they can be easily sold.

To avoid making a mistake when purchasing a stone, we recommend purchasing diamonds only from trusted stores and be sure to request a certificate of conformity. It is important to know that diamonds are graded on a 4C scale, while moissanites are graded only by color.

All diamonds presented in our showroom are 100% natural and are certified by the independent gemological center of Moscow State University. The certificate must indicate all the data on the 4C scale: cut shape, carat weight, color group and clarity group. There is also a unique certificate number and a link to a testing laboratory report, which, if in doubt, will allow you to confirm the compliance of the diamond.

You can view the diamonds you are interested in in our catalog:

In 1893, French scientist Henri Moissan was the first to discover microscopic rock particles in Meteor Crater near Death Canyon in Arizona. At first he thought he had found diamonds, but later found out that the crystals were made of silicon carbide. In 1905, the mineral was named after the scientist, and in 1906 Moissan received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Natural moissanite is a rare stone, and only artificial specimens are currently on sale. The first batch appeared on the market in 1998. Artificial moissanite was created as a “double” of a diamond, but these stones differ in composition and appearance.

Diamond and moissanite. Source: Taylor and Hart

Comparison of moissanite and diamond

Moissanite and diamond can be compared according to 5 main criteria:

  • Hardness – the stone is so easy to split and scratch
  • Luster – how brightly a stone reflects light
  • Color – the change in color of a stone under different conditions and natural or physical characteristics
  • Price – is it profitable to invest in artificial stones? Can they increase in price?
  • Provenance – the sustainability of lab-grown stones versus the energy of natural diamonds

The hardness of a mineral is measured by how easily it can be scratched. The Mohs scale is used for measurements.

Hardness 9,25 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. Moissanite is only slightly inferior to diamond and is suitable for everyday wear in engagement rings.

With a hardness of 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, it is the highest of any known mineral. Diamonds are ideal for long-term wear. They are used to make center stones for engagement rings.

The strength of the brilliance depends on the reflection of light on the facets of the gemstone.

The properties of moissanites and diamonds differ, causing the stones to reflect light differently. Some people love the bright, iridescent flare of moissanite, while others have a disco-ball-like, intense sparkle, especially in sunlight. The larger the stone, the brighter the shine.

The unique diamond shine has 3 characteristics. The reflected white light is called gloss; rainbow of colors – dispersion; “sparks” on the surface – scintillation. Together they create a play of light that is unique to diamonds.

This is the natural color or lack of color within the gemstone.

Moissanites are considered “colorless” but can have a yellow or grayish tint under laboratory light. The larger the moissanite, the more noticeable the color.

A colorless diamond does not produce a yellow, brown or gray tint. In any light, a natural diamond does not change its hue. A natural diamond has more than 23 shades of white and more than 100 shades on the fancy scale – fancy colored diamonds.

Moissanites are cheaper than diamonds of the same size. The price depends on the size of the stone and category. The best are Premium and Super Premium.

The cost of a diamond depends on its shape, carat, cut, color and clarity. Natural diamonds are more expensive than artificial ones.

Moissanites are not mined, but created in a laboratory. By doing this, they attract buyers who are looking for an “eco-friendly” gemstone.

Diamond mining disrupts the natural environment. They try to reduce the harmful effects through strict international standards and the synthesis of artificial stones.

Origin of moissanites and diamonds

Jewelry market players track the origin of precious stones. Only those stones that are mined without the use of child labor, outside zones of armed conflict, and are not used to finance terrorists are sold legally.

Moissanites are grown in laboratories, so the origin of each stone is precisely known. Their production is less harmful to nature than the extraction of natural stones. If this is important to you, choose jewelry made from moissanite and recycled metals.

Characteristics of moissanite and diamond

Diamonds are graded on the 4C scale (cut, clarity, color, carat), while moissanites are graded only by color. Premium moissanites are almost colorless and fall in the G or H color range on the diamond color scale. Super Premium stones fall in the highest range of D-F.

Large moissanites are often combined with small diamonds. This is acceptable if the seller communicates this. Unscrupulous sellers may pass off moissanites as diamonds in order to make more money.


Ring with central moissanite and side natural diamonds. Source: Brilliant Earth

Conclusions

The market value of moissanites is overestimated. With the development of technology for growing artificial stones, moissanites will become cheaper. Explored diamond deposits will be depleted in 50–60 years. Natural diamonds will only become more expensive over time.

If you want to purchase a truly natural diamond, give preference to stones whose characteristics are confirmed by international certificates. For example, a diamond’s GIA lab certificate number is engraved on the diamond’s girdle and matches the record on gia.edu. It is the most respected laboratory in the world with the most stringent evaluation criteria. It does not issue reports on artificial diamonds and moissanites.

If you invest in precious stones, take diamonds, they are more reliable.

Subscribe, share and remember – there are no cheap diamonds, chances are it’s not a diamond.

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