When Does Moissanite Look Fake? | The 3 Main Giveaways

When Does Moissanite Look Fake? | The 3 Main Giveaways

Moissanite can be beautiful, and it’s FAR less expensive than diamond. If you’re wondering whether your ring will look fake to others though, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll cover the top clues that your Moissanite isn’t a diamond below.

When does Moissanite look fake? Moissanite may look fake if it’s too large. Don’t buy a 6 carat Moissanite if you can only afford a .5 carat diamond. The larger stones can also have a dark hue to them under certain lighting and from certain angles. If you want a real diamond look, it’s often best to stay under 1 carat (about 6mm).

In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll tell you how to avoid buying something that has the appearance of being a ‘fake diamond’. Ultimately, you should love your Moissanite ring … not be self-conscious while you’re wearing it!

Is Moissanite a Fake Diamond?

Moissanite (silicon carbide) is a real stone that just happens to look a lot like diamond. The history of Moissanite is fascinating. In 1893, a French chemist by the name of Henri Moissan was investigating the site of a meteor impact in Arizona, when he came across some tiny crystals that appeared to be diamond. He gathered the crystals and took them with him. For years, he believed the crystals to be diamond, but later (11 years later) discovered that they were something else, something new. The stone was later named Moissanite to honor the man that discovered it.

Moissanite has been found in small quantities many times since, but it’s almost always at the site of meteorite impacts. Very small quantities have also been found on the outer crust of rough diamonds. Natural Moissanite is far more rare than diamond, and probably all other gems used in jewelry. If natural Moissanite were our only option, very few would ever be able to own it because of the incredible price that its rarity would demand. Not only is it unbelievably rare to find, but securing gem quality natural Moissanite is nearly impossible (after all, the meteorite it’s attached to had a high-speed impact with earth).

Natural Moissanite crystals are typically VERY small and fragmented. Most crystals are 1.5mm (about .015 carats) or smaller. the largest natural Moissanite crystal ever found measured only 4.1mm (which translates to roughly .25 carats). Because supply is so limited, the Moissanite used in today’s jewelry is 100% lab created.

Lab created moissanite is made to have all the same qualities that it would in its natural form, but labs are able to grow stones that are much larger and better suited for jewelry.

Moissanite is a very hard stone that rates 9.25 on Mohs Scale of Hardness. Diamond, the hardest natural material that we know of is rated at 10. For comparison, Rubies and Sapphires are a 9 on Mohs Scale, meaning that Moissanite could scratch either of those stones, but they wouldn’t be hard enough to scratch a Moissanite. Visibly, Moissanite looks very similar to diamond, but it’s an amazing stone in its own right. It isn’t ONLY beautiful or desirable because it resembles a diamond.

The fact that Moissanite looks so similar to diamond doesn’t make it a ‘fake’ diamond. Two strangers that have no blood relationship can sometimes look very similar to each other—sometimes almost like twins. We call those pairs Doppelgangers. Two people can come from completely different families, and even different corners of the planet, yet their physical appearance might be very similar. If you look closely, you can see differences in their features, the match isn’t identical, but their similarities are still striking.

Moissanite and Diamond look almost identical

If you didn’t see them together, it would often be easy to mistake doppelgangers for each other. Even when they ARE together, people that don’t know them extremely well might have trouble telling who’s who. That phenomenon is very much like the relationship between Moissanite and diamond. They’re from different family pools (they’re made of different things), yet they resemble each other in remarkable ways. Moissanite has its own identity but looks so much like diamond, that most people have trouble telling them apart.

How Can You Tell Moissanite From Diamond?

There are a couple of common things that people might look for when they’re trying to gauge what your ring is made of (whether your stone is diamond or not).

  1. The size of the stone. Oversized Moissanite is the fastest giveaway.
  2. The amount of fire that the ring has.
  3. The tint of the ring in certain lighting.

We’ll explain more about each of these main differentiators below.

1. The Size of the Moissanite Stone

The easiest way for someone to become suspicious that your big beautiful stone isn’t diamond is to go too large with your Moissanite. How big is too big? The answer to that question is going to be a little different for everyone. Here’s why…a one-carat diamond ring with decent characteristics would likely run about $5,000. You could purchase a colorless Moissanite solitaire that equates to 6.13 carats for roughly the same amount ($4,669). Here’s the problem, a roughly equivalent diamond, in terms of size, would cost at least $98,000 (but could easily cost $200,000 if you try to get a similarly colorless gem). How many of your friends, family members, and coworkers are likely to believe that you dropped $100k – $200k on your ring? Probably not many, so they assume it’s some kind of simulant.

On the other hand, if you buy a Moissanite stone that’s within the range of what you could reasonably afford if you were buying a diamond, people are unlikely to ever question whether it’s diamond or not. In other words, If I could only afford a .5 carat diamond, then you might want to a buy a .5, .6, or .75 carat Moissanite stone for example. That’s a pretty believable range to be in, given the example. Here’s a really elegant ring I found, for illustration, that’s has a very respectable .75 carat center stone (and a 1.3 carat total weight). It’s a believable size, a beautiful ring, and a manageable price.

Here’s another simple guide …

A large-scale survey was done to determine the average engagement ring size for couples that were either engaged or recently married. They found that the average center stone was 1.2 carats. The typical ring had approximately .6 carats of smaller diamonds as embellishments, bringing the total carat weight for the ring to 1.8. As with any average, some respondents reported buying larger rings, and half said they purchased something smaller.

Based on the results of that large survey, your ring probably won’t stand out as being unusually large if it’s roughly 1.2 carats or smaller. A ring of that size is fairly ‘average’ according to the study. Here are some example rings for reference. This 1 carat (6.5 mm) Moissanite Solitaire is less than $100, perfect for those on a tight budget. If you have a little more cash available, you might consider something even fancier—like this 1.5 Carat Vintage Halo Style Moissanite ring. It’s a budget-friendly ring that looks like a major splurge!

As you look at the table that follows, notice how easy it would be to overdo the size of your Moissanite ring when you’re saving so much over the cost of diamond. Sure, you might be able to afford a 2 carat Moissanite instead of the .5 carat diamond, but are others likely to believe you purchased a 2-carat diamond for $20,000 or more? Probably not. Going too big is, hands down, the biggest give away that the beautiful rock on your finger has to be something other than actual diamond.

Moissanite vs. Diamond Cost Comparison

CaratsMoissaniteDiamond
(F, VS2, Excellent)
.25$129$550
.5$269$1,390
.75$459$3,000
1$599$5,900
1.25$789$9,040
1.5$1,049$11,810
1.75$1,349$17,990
2$1,609$24,400

Having said all that, you only need to be concerned with size if you want people to believe that your Moissanite is diamond. If you love Moissanite as Moissanite and are open about what your ring is made out of, then you can certainly buy whatever size makes you happy.

We often refer to Moissanite size in terms of carats (as you normally would with diamonds), but in reality, Moissanite is measured in millimeters (mm.) not carats. This difference in common unit of measurement exists because Moissanite is a heavier material than diamond. Since that’s the case, weight measurement can be misleading. A 5 carat (a weight measurement) Moissanite would be quite a bit smaller (in terms of mm measurement) than a diamond of comparable weight. In order to make the translation between mm and carats easy, we’ve provided a simple table below that shows the measurement conversion for the range of stone sizes that couples most commonly purchase.

MM (Millimeter) to Carats Conversion Chart

Measure in mm. (Moissanite)Weight in Carats
(Diamond)
Measure in mm. (Moissanite)Weight in Carats
(Diamond)
4 mm0.25 ct7.3 mm1.50 ct
4.25 mm0.28 ct7.5 mm1.67 ct
4.5 mm0.36 ct7.75 mm1.75 ct
4.75 mm0.44 ct8 mm2.00 ct
5.0 mm0.50 ct8.25 mm2.11 ct
5.25 mm0.56 ct8.5 mm2.43 ct
5.5 mm0.66 ct8.7 mm2.50 ct
5.75 mm0.75 ct9 mm2.75 ct
6 mm0.84 ct9.1 mm3.00 ct
6.25 mm0.93 ct9.5 mm3.35 ct
6.5 mm1.00 ct9.75 mm3.61 ct
6.8 mm1.25 ct10 mm3.87 ct
7 mm1.30 ct10.25 mm4.16 ct

2. The Sparkle Qualities of Moissanite vs Diamond

Have you ever looked at a diamond that’s being moved slowly under the light? If you have, you may have noticed white flashes of light being reflected back and colorful sparkles too. The colorful sparkles are the effect of white light being broken into all the colors of the color spectrum of light, the same way that a prism would, and then reflected back toward the eye. The process of breaking light down into separate colors is known as ‘dispersion.’

Jewelers and Gemologists refer to the colorful sparkles as ‘fire.’ A stone that has more colorful sparkles than average is sometimes described as being ‘fiery.’ Moissanite is naturally a more fiery stone than diamond. That means that more of the colorful sparkles are produced by Moissanite than a similar diamond would produce.

Some people love the fiery nature of Moissanite, and others don’t. When people don’t like it, it’s typically because they want others to believe their Moissanite is a diamond, and the amount of fiery sparkle could be an indicator that it’s not. Typically only a professional would be able to tell a Moissanite stone from a diamond based on subtle qualities like these, but it is a distinction.

Tip: If you wanted to tone down the fire coming off your Moissanite, you could clean it less regularly. Sounds a little gross, but as dirt and oils build up on the surface of your stone, it will start to mute the sparkle to some extent. Moissanite throws off sparkles pretty well even when it’s dirty, but it will tone down the sparkle a bit. If you love the fire and want as much of it as you can get (which is more common), keep your ring as clean as possible.

The following table outlines several differences (like dispersion and refraction) between these two common engagement ring options.

Visual Characteristics of Moissanite vs. Diamond

Characteristic
Moissanite
Diamond
Refractive Index (brilliance)
2.65 – 2.69
2.42
Dispursion (fire)
0.104
0.044
Luster Index
0.204
0.172

I wrote another article that you can review if you want a more detailed description of the terms ‘fire’ and ‘brilliance’. Luster has to do with the way that light interacts with the surface of the stone. Gems with a high luster have a radiance or gloss about them. The higher the luster rating, the more radiant the stone is.

3. The Lighting & Angles That Can Affect Moissanite Appearance

Moissanite can take on a slightly different hue under different types of lighting, and from certain angles. While my wife is driving on an overcast day, she’ll sometimes notice her Moissanite ring looking slightly green or grey. It’s really just a reflected overtone that it takes on for a moment. Once she goes inside or lighting conditions change outside, the stone loses the overtone. While this is something she notices on occasion, I’ve never seen her ring take on a hue. It’s nothing that would likely be noticeable to someone else.

Some people tell me that their rings take on a slightly pinkish tint, which they love, in certain lighting. Others have reported seeing a slightly ‘buttery’ (yellow) hue for brief moments. Diamonds and most other stones can appear a bit different under various lighting conditions, in fact, that’s why jewelers sometimes use very specific lighting setups in their stores. They can use bright lighting to help increase sparkle and hide flaws, they can also infuse colored lighting to enhance the look of their gems. You often have to take a ring outside to get an accurate impression of how it looks under natural lighting.

Moissanite does tend to be a little more reflective than most other gems though, which shows in the slight overtones that it infrequently (but occasionally) takes on as lighting conditions change. Many of the women we’ve heard from LOVE this occasional tendency of their Moissanite. The characteristic feels unique and intrigues them, gives their ring character, and can look really pretty when they catch it for a moment.

Tip: If you want to minimize this tendency in your Moissanite ring, don’t go to big with your stone. This phenomenon is more common in larger stones (over 6.5mm or 1 carat). The larger the ring, the more likely it is to occasionally, and very temporarily, take on a mild new hue as lighting changes.

In Summary

Of the 3 distinctions listed above, which could potentially indicate that your Moissanite ring isn’t a diamond, the size of your stone is both the easiest to control and the most certain giveaway. The other two are things that you may want to be aware of, but They’re things that would only occasionally be observable depending on lighting and angle, and which most people would probably never really notice or think twice about. Only jewelry professionals are likely to recognize these characteristics, if they’re observed, as distinguishing features of Moissanite.

If you’re exploring the possibility of Moissanite for your engagement ring or wedding ring, and want to see our very favorite provider click here. They have the best selection I’ve found—some really beautiful rings! It’s honestly the best quality in the industry, and they’re priced very fairly as well. These lovely rings can save you a bundle over the cost of diamonds.

Related Posts:

Which Moissanite Cut Sparkles the Most?

Is Moissanite Good for an Engagement Ring? | 8 Useful Facts

Lab Created Diamond vs Moissanite | Look, Durability, & Cost

Wearing Moissanite in the Pool, Hot Tub, or Shower

Wearing Moissanite in the Pool, Hot Tub, or Shower

Moissanite is a durable stone that resists scratching, but how does it hold up to water? Whether you’re jumping in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, playing in the ocean, taking a shower, or caught in a rainstorm, your ring is likely to occasionally come in contact with water. But is all that exposure safe?

Can Moissanite get wet? Water itself won’t harm Moissanite, however, the chemicals and elements in the water could affect the stone in various ways. Most of these impacts would be minor and temporary. Water that’s high in dissolved minerals could leave hard water spots that could dull sparkle, until cleaned, for example.

Water is often referred to as the ‘universal solvent’, in fact, it might just be the most destructive force on earth. Think about it, over time, water dissolved enough rock bit-by-bit, to form the Grand Canyon! In this article, I’ll help you understand where water can potentially damage your Moissanite ring.

Do People Really Remove Their Rings?

I wanted to find out how often rings are taken off before showering, swimming, or hot tubbing, so I polled over 102 women to find out. The results turned out a little different than I would have expected.

I found that 57% never remove their rings to shower. The remaining 43% do. I wanted to know more, so I asked WHY ring were, or weren’t, being removed. Many of those that remove their rings mentioned that they were concerned about damage to their rings from hard water, Chlorine, or soaps. Many others remove their ring primarily because they find it more comfortable, or because it gets caught or tangled in their hair as they wash it.

I found that there’s a close correlation between removing rings to shower and removing rings for things like handwashing and swimming. It seems that people are typically on one extreme or the other—taking precaution by removing rings frequently for activities where they might be harmed or never removing them.

The people that don’t remove their rings when they shower typically gave the following reasons:

  • Concern that the ring might slip down the drain if removed while in the shower
  • Afraid they’ll forget to put the ring back on before leaving the house
  • They don’t believe that showering can harm their ring
  • They’re afraid they’ll lose the ring

Many of those that don’t remove their ring can’t visibly see any damage, so they feel certain that their ring isn’t being harmed. If they’ve worn their ring in the shower for many years, they feel even more certain that it isn’t causing damage.

A few of those that now take their ring off for showers are converts to the practice that never used to remove their ring—until they had a problem that convinced them it’s a better practice.

To get another point of view, I also sought the opinion of professional jewelers (six in total). I found consensus from that group. In fact, 100% of those jewelers felt certain that rings should be removed before doing things like showering, or swimming. They’ve witnessed damage first hand (something you can typically only see with training and a powerful microscope). They’ve also had to repair prongs, replace lost gems, and clean many stones that have convinced them that removing rings before interacting with water in these ways is best.

Activity & Water Movement Could Loosen Your Moissanite

Imagine getting out of the pool, looking at your ring, and seeing an empty setting. You suddenly realize that your Moissanite stone is lost somewhere in the pool. As you walk the perimeter of the pool scanning the bottom for any sight of your stone, you realize just how hard it is to see a small, colorless stone in a pool full of water!

Sounds scary, right? It’s scary how often this situation plays out around the world every day!

As you swim, splash, and play in water, the rapid movement of the water past the ring, combined with occasional bumps into other people or objects, could lead to your stone coming loose—maybe even getting lost. In addition to the risk of having your stone dislodged from the setting, you could certainly have the whole ring slip off in the water too. Have you ever noticed that the diameter of your fingers tends to shrink up after soaking in a pool for a while? That could spell disaster for your ring—since it’s more likely to slip off your, temporarily smaller, fingers.

I know several people from Hawaii. They tell me that divers find lots of expensive rings that have slipped off fingers and instantly been carried off by the tide.

How Water Temperature Can Cause You to Lose Your Ring

Have you ever forced yourself into a painfully cold pool? I have. With movement, you will eventually get used to the water temperature. Your body does react to the temperature though. The diameter of your fingers often shrinks while you’re in the cold water. That can make it easier for the ring to accidentally slip off, unnoticed as you move about.

In a hot tub, your ring setting can expand in reaction to the hot water, again, making it easier for your ring to slip off and get left behind.

Mineral Deposits From Hard Water on Your Moissanite

Dissolved minerals in water often leave a thin film that forms a spot as the water dries. Repeated exposure to water that has a lot of dissolved mineral in it can cause these deposits to layer over time. You’ve probably noticed water fountains that have white or green chalky looking stuff around the hole that water shoots out of—that’s a mineral deposit that’s evidence of hard water. Hard water is extremely common. The water that you shower in and wash your hands with, will often be laden with dissolved minerals that can leave a residue.

Any mineral deposit, or hard water spots, that are left on the surface of your Moissanite stone can impact the way light enters and travels through the stone. Over time, those deposits can start to dull the appearance of the stone. As build up happens, you may notice that your stone doesn’t sparkle as much as it used to. This also might be something you don’t notice at all until you clean your ring. After the cleaning, the Moissanite may be shockingly clear and sparkly. It’s sometimes only then that you realize just how buildup was impacting it.

The Impact of Soaps and Lotions on Your Moissanite

Removing your rings for showering and handwashing isn’t just about limiting exposure to hard water. Soaps, conditioners, and lotions can all leave a film on your ring that often leaves it looking dull and lifeless over time. Here again, the impact isn’t instant. If you don’t remove your rings for these activities, you probably won’t notice any impact the first few times—In fact, the buildup process is often very gradual.

Some people also experience a rainbow effect, like an oil slick, that can come as the result of hard water or oils from soaps and lotions. All these problems can typically be addressed and corrected by a good cleaning, but precautions are often the better strategy.

Chlorine is a Chemical That Can Cause Issues

Chlorine is a chemical that causes a reaction with some materials commonly used for rings. It’s also very commonly used in water treatment and many household cleaners. Chlorine is added to the city drinking water to kill the little bugs that can make us sick. It serves the same purpose in most swimming pools and hot tubs.

I wouldn’t want to expose my Moissanite ring to heavily chlorinated water (better safe than sorry), but the main concern isn’t for the stone—it’s for the metal that the setting is made of. Diamond and Moissanite seem to not be directly impacted by Chlorine, however, many metals are. In fact, the metal that’s probably the most Chlorine sensitive of the commonly used materials is gold.

Gold used in jewelry is actually a mix of metals. For example, 18K gold contains about 75% gold and 25% metal allow. That alloy could contain a mix of metals like copper, nickel, zinc, or silver. Copper is an example of a metal that has a major reaction to Chlorine. If your gold ring has copper in it, then that portion of the alloy might be severely impacted, weakening the structure of the setting—even if that damage isn’t visible on the surface.

Chlorine affects gold most at its joints. Those pieces, like prongs, that are soldered onto the main body of the ring become weak and compromised with continued time and exposure. Eventually, prongs begin to break. Unfortunately, when a prong breaks, the stone that it helps to hold in place and easily slip out and get lost.

If you go swimming with your gold ring on, you won’t be able to visibly see the damage. It’s not superficial damage—it’s structural. In most cases, you won’t be able to see any visible evidence of the damage until the problem is incredibly advanced. You’ll probably have prongs break before you visibly notice erosion or some other indication of the destruction that’s taking place.

Sometimes damage done by regular, and prolonged, exposure to certain destructive elements in water can lead to prong failure at a later time. A friend of mine once found a diamond lying in the middle of a terminal floor as he was changing planes. There are many reasons that the setting could have failed as someone hurried through an airport terminal, but exposure damage from some of the elements discussed below could certainly be a real contributing factor.

It’s a really good idea to remove your ring before getting in a swimming pool if you can. That’s especially true if your setting is made of gold, but even if it’s not, your ring is certainly safer outside of Chlorine. Those that don’t want to remove their ring to swim should probably consider Platinum. While Platinum is a rather expensive option, it’s a durable metal that shouldn’t be affected by Chlorine exposure.

The Impact of Salt on Your Moissanite

Some swimming pools use Salt instead of Chlorine to keep the water safe for swimmers. Saltwater can be hard on many jewelry pieces too. Like Chlorine, saltwater can weaken the joints where soldering has been done. It can be hard on Copper and other alloy components that are mixed with gold for jewelry applications. The lower the grade of gold, the higher the percentage of the ring that is comprised of alloys. Because of that, lower-quality gold is often more susceptible.

Because the process is gradual, and the impact isn’t typically visible, you may think your ring isn’t being negatively impacted by the water, until you have prongs fail and lose your stone. It’s best to exercise caution by removing your ring before playing or relaxing in saltwater.

The Extra Vulnerability of Rose Gold, White Gold, & Other Plated Rings

Not all gold reacts to Chlorine and salt the same. Rose Gold is extremely popular. Many people love the copper-like tone. Rose gold actually has a lot more copper in it than other forms of gold. Because of that, it’s going to be even more vulnerable to elements like Chlorine and salt than yellow gold.

White Gold is typically Rhodium plated. Platings can wear through over time. How long they ultimately last really depends on what they’re plated with, how many layers of plating they received, and the thickness of each coating. Exposure to chlorine, salt, and various chemicals, can wear through plating, causing you to have to re-plate sooner.

My wife wore a plated ring that I bought to have her test. She wore it all day, every day. She wore it when showering, swimming, and washing hands. The plating on the ring was worn away all around the ring in just 30 days! I was actually shocked by how terrible it looked. The ring was apparently Rhodium plated. It looked really nice when it was new, apparently the coating was very thin. This just illustrates how vulnerable plated rings can be though. Even if you have thicker plating, I would strongly suggest that you remove your ring before cleaning, showering, or wading into a pool or hot tub to avoid the possibility of the rapid breakdown that we saw.

Drying and Cleaning Your Moissanite Ring Well

There are times that we just can’t keep our ring dry. You may forget that you’re wearing your ring and initially wear it into a pool, for example. When you catch yourself in a situation like this, you may want to take the following steps to avoid/minimize damage.

  1. Rinse your rings well under warm tap water.
  2. Dab it as dry as you can with a soft towel or paper towel
  3. If you have access to a hand dryer machine or a hairdryer, use it fully dry to ring

Those simple steps will help in the short term, but once you get home and have an opportunity, you’ll want to do a more complete cleaning. That cleaning could take any of the following forms.

  • Toothbrush Method: Fill a small bowl with warm water (tap water is fine). Get a soft-baby toothbrush (you should be able to pick one up from a dollar store). Use a mild dish detergent, like Dawn, and the toothbrush to gently remove any kind of built-up oils or dirt from the surface of the stone and setting. Rinse thoroughly when done, then dry the ring carefully using a hairdryer on a ‘cool’ setting, or by dab drying with a clean and soft towel.
  • Ultrasonic Cleaner: These machines take most of the time and effort out of cleaning your ring. This is the type of cleaning mechanism that many jewelers use. The cost of home units is now REALLY affordable. Amazon offers This really great Ultrasonic Cleaner for home use. They have a really great price on it. These machines are so convenient and do a fantastic job.

To keep your ring looking its best, I’d suggest that you clean it about once a month. This is where Ultrasonic cleaners are really convenient. You don’t have to sit down to soak and scrub your ring. Like you would with a dishwasher, you would just open it, fill it, run it, and then check back to remove your newly cleaned jewelry items once it’s done.

If you decide to wash your ring by hand, be careful not to use abrasive cleaners, any cleaners that might contain harsh chemicals, or cleaning agents that could leave a film or residue. It’s a good idea to be cautious with the way you handle and care for your Moissanite, but you also have to be careful not to damage your setting. The setting is generally much softer and more vulnerable to scratching and other damage.

When manually washing your ring, it’s also important that you only use a soft-bristled toothbrush and that you scrub lightly. Especially if you allow the ring to soak for a minute or two before you start to clean it, you shouldn’t need to apply much pressure in order to clean well. Some other types of brushes used cleaning vegetables or general household cleaning often have very stiff bristles that are less giving and gentle. Stiff bristled brushes don’t clean more effectively anyway when it comes to rings, and they’re potentially destructive. Again, it’s the setting that’s most vulnerable,

Finally, it’s best to use lukewarm water for manual cleaning. Extreme temperature can sometimes affect a ring. Moissanite is incredibly heat resistant, but your setting might not be. Scaling water would certainly loosen gunk buildup, but it could also burn your hands, and isn’t very gentle for your ring.

In Summary

In reality, the gems and stones used in engagement rings, wedding rings, or promise rings will develop a film, over time, that dulls them if they’re worn in the pool, shower, while cleaning, doing dishes, etc. Some stones will show the effects of that build up faster than others. White Sapphire gets dull and lifeless quickly as it collects buildup. Diamond and Moissanite, on the other hand, are so refractive and reflective, that they can look good longer in between cleanings. While they continue to sparkle, their appearance still becomes more muted as dirt and oils collect.

Swimming, showering, or hot tubbing with your Moissanite ring on once or twice probably won’t present any major threat to your ring, but long term exposure will take a toll. Professionals with a powerful microscope can see what someone examining a ring with their naked eye can’t—a damaged setting begins to look porous.

If you decide, like my wife has, that taking off the ring is difficult, dangerous, or inconvenient, then please consider getting a good insurance policy to cover your ring. That will help put your mind at ease regarding loss or damage. If a prong breaks and you lose your stone, you’ll get a check from your insurance company to replace or repair your ring. If you aren’t very familiar with the process of getting quality jewelry coverage, check out the post that I wrote about insuring your special rings.

If your reason for not wanting to remove your ring is that you just feel you should ALWAYS have your wedding ring on 24/7 (no matter what), I’d suggest that you get an inexpensive ring that you can wear when you’re playing, working, or traveling without fear of damage. Your alternate ring can still look nice, be comfortable, and act as a reminder of your commitment to your partner. You can get a really nice Cubic Zirconia ring, for example, for less than $100. We have a page that will direct you to some of our favorite inexpensive of CZ rings.

For all the reasons mentioned above, I strongly recommend that you remove your ring before you spend any significant time in water washing, soaking, swimming, or playing—or that you insure your ring well and get familiar with the exclusions (the things the policy WON’T pay for) outlined your policy.

If you’re considering Moissanite for your engagement ring, or wedding ring, and want to explore options from our very favorite manufacturer click here. They make some really beautiful rings! It’s honestly the best quality in the industry, and they’re sold at frugal prices, that can save you a bundle over the cost of diamonds.

Related Posts:

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The Cost of Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds

The Cost of Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds

When you’re shopping for a diamond engagement ring, cost is an important consideration. If you’re considering either lab created or earth created diamonds, we can help you figure out what your costs might be.

How Much Do Lab Grown Diamonds Cost? Diamond cost depends on size and quality, but generally speaking, you’ll spend $3,000 to $5,000 per carat for earth mined diamonds. Lab created diamonds are typically 30% to 50% less expensive than mined diamonds. that means that lab diamonds could cost as little as $1,500 per carat.

I’ll share side by side examples of specific diamonds (one lab-grown and one earth-grown), so you can see how the cost differs. I’ll also share information on other aspects of value that you’ll want to understand. Here we go…

Why Are Diamonds so Expensive?

Lab created diamonds cost quite a bit less than earth created diamonds, but both can be quite an investment for many couples. Why do these little gems cost so much? There’s really a different answer for both types of diamond.

You might expect that mined diamonds cost so much because they’re super rare—turns out they’re not all that rare. Next, you might guess that they’re expensive because the process of mining costs a lot—wrong again. Yes, mining is relatively expensive, but DeBeers has released public documents, for example, showing that their production costs (per carat) for mined diamonds hovers around $100. That means they’re being sold at retail for a 3,000% to 5,000% markup…not bad (for DeBeers)!

Why such huge markups on mined diamonds? Because the producers and retailers have been able to get away with it. Also, because the high price tag has a psychological effect that makes you desire the item you see as exclusive (a status symbol). You might chase it even harder than you would if it were more affordable. I recently wrote an article about this psychological pricing strategy for mined diamonds. Click here to read it. The high cost of mined diamonds is the main reason that lab-grown diamonds are exploding in popularity right now though.

Lab created diamonds carry their price tag for an entirely different reason. The technology used to produce them is still pretty new. Technological advances help lower costs, but in the meantime, the materials used to make the diamonds is expensive. Where mining can tap cheap unskilled labor in 3rd world countries, diamond-producing laboratories have to have a highly educated, specialized, experienced, and expensive workforce. Expensive equipment has to be replaced regularly as processes improve as well.

The cost of lab created diamonds isn’t static or increasing—it’s been decreasing. Bain & Company issued a report at the end of 2018 stating that the cost to produce a one-carat lab grown diamond through the CVD method in 2008 was $4,000, but ten years later (at the time of the report) has dropped to just $300 to $500. Those savings from technological advances are largely be passed on to consumers, so the price gap between lab-created diamonds and mined diamonds is likely to continue increasing!

The Cost of Lab Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds

It’s one thing to state that lab cultured diamonds are typically 40-60% less expensive than earth mined diamonds, but I wanted to show you real-life examples. I started by choosing ten 1 carat lab grown diamonds. I selected a variety of gems that offered different types of color and clarity. I then went to a favorite online diamond retailer and found mined diamonds that were exact matches in terms of size, color, clarity, and cut grade. The following table shows how the cost for each of the ten diamonds varies for earth grown and lab-grown diamonds.

Cost Comparison for Lab-Created Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds

Color GradeClarity GradeCut GradeLab Grown DiamondEarth Grown DiamondLab Grown Savings
JVS1Excellent$1,595$4,00060%
JVS1Very Good$1,595$3,87059%
IVS2Excellent$1,784$4,38059%
IVS1Excellent$1,838$4,74061%
HSI2Excellent$1,949$2,88032%
HVS2Excellent$2,432$5,55056%
FSI1Excellent$2,765$4,77042%
GVS1Excellent$2,898$5,83050%
ESI1Excellent$3,034$5,02040%
FVS1Excellent$3,468$6,30045%

As you can see, the laboratory diamonds are almost always at least 40% less expensive, but some can offer discounts of over 60%!

The Cost of Depreciation for Lab Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds

The initial loss of value could be viewed as a cost associated with buying a diamond—almost any diamond. Mined diamond resellers often mislead prospective buyers into believing that mined diamond hold their value after purchase, while lab-grown diamonds lose ALL value (100%) as soon as they’re purchased. Both of those beliefs couldn’t be more wrong.

You shouldn’t plan to resell the diamond from your engagement ring or wedding ring for a profit at some future point.

  1. You hope that your marriage is happy enough that you’d never want to part with the ring.
  2. You’ll get far less than you think, and will probably be disappointed.

Essentially, ALL diamonds lose value once you purchase them from a retail location. A slightly used diamond may look unworn, and come with its original box, warranty, and paperwork, but it’s still going to sell for 30% to 70% less than you paid for it as a used ring (or diamond) in most cases. Even if you hold the diamond for decades before reselling, your inflation-adjusted sale price will likely create a loss.

Diamonds are not an investment most of the time. Having said that, there are some very rare and exclusive diamonds that consistently appreciate, but that’s the exception, not the rule. Those are diamonds that cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and sell at high-end international auctions. The diamond that you buy from a typical jeweler is a consumable—don’t expect appreciation, and you won’t be disappointed.

Is it Better to Buy a Diamond Online?

If variety and price are important to you, then buying your lab created diamond online is going to be your best option. When you visit a local jeweler (even a large one) there are obvious restrictions to the number of rings and diamonds that they can have on display at any given time.

In addition, not all local jewelers carry lab grown diamonds yet. Those that do, may have a relatively small selection available. Those that they do have on hand may not have the size, color, clarity, or cut characteristics that you want—and they’re going to be a lot more expensive than those you find online. Local jewelers simply don’t have some of the cost benefits of scale that online retailer often have. There can also be more middlemen involved with the gems that your local jeweler displays, driving cost up.

Cost is a really important factor, but beyond cost, online retailers have massive selections, so you’re more likely to find the shape, size, color, clarity, and cut combination that’s the absolute perfect fit!

One other major benefit of buying online is the return policy that many online retailers offer. You have a considerable period of time to evaluate your purchase and return it for a full refund if you change your mind. That’s a very different policy than most local jewelry stores offer. When you buy an engagement ring from a local retailer, they frequently accept no returns. That means that if you later change your mind, or plans change, you’re stuck with a ring that you won’t be using.

In contrast, my favorite online retailer for lab-grown diamonds provides a 100-day return policy on all their gems. My favorite online retailer for mined diamonds offers a ‘no questions asked,’ 30-day money back guarantee. I certainly feel more comfortable making a big and important purchase when I know that it’s backed by a solid return policy.

What Should I Do if I Can’t Afford a Diamond Engagement Ring?

If even the lower costs associated with lab-grown diamonds can’t fit your budget, don’t get discouraged. There are some really great alternatives available at lower price points. They can either be used as a permanent solution or something more temporary—allowing you to swap out for a lab grown diamond or mined diamond several years down the road.

Moissanite is a diamond simulant that I would recommend investigating as a starting point. It’s a really scratch resistant and durable stone that can hold up to years of everyday wear. While Moissanite isn’t diamond, it probably is the non-diamond stone that looks (and acts) most like a diamond.

For information on how the cost of Moissanite measures up against the cost of lab-grown diamonds, click here and review the article where I recently wrote comparing the two.

Another option would be financing the purchase. Most online retailers offer financing through a third party financing company. I think it’s a better idea to get a ring that you can afford without financing—even if you have to get a smaller ring for now.

If you choose to finance, I’d definitely recommend that you stay as frugal as possible (don’t go overboard with the ring, simply because you don’t have to pay for it upfront). There’s sometimes a tendency to spend a lot more when purchasing on credit. You might normally be happy with a .75 carat lab diamond, but since you got approved for credit, you upgrade to the 2-carat diamond, for example. You’ll probably be much happier when you purchase something somewhat conservative that you love and can pay off quickly.

In Summary

Lab Diamonds are significantly less expensive than mined diamonds. There’s also really no downside to purchasing a lab created diamond over a mined diamond, since no one can visibly tell the difference, and they’re equally hard (scratch resistant) and durable. If you ultimately decide to purchase a lab created diamond, you might be able to use the money you save to cover other wedding expenses, upgrade your honeymoon, pay off debt, or save a little cash for future needs. The savings make a good thing even better!

Related Posts:

Pink Lab Grown Diamonds: What They Cost & How They’re Made

Why Lab Diamonds Are So Much Cheaper Than Mined Diamonds

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Fake?

The ‘Cons’ of Lab Grown Diamonds: The 7 BIG Lies We’re Told

The ‘Cons’ of Lab Grown Diamonds: The 7 BIG Lies We’re Told

There are MANY misconceptions that are intentionally (and sometimes ignorantly) being peddled and promoted online regarding lab grown diamonds. I call these the ‘cons’ of lab grown diamonds, because they’re positioned as cons (negatives or drawbacks to the gem), but in reality, they’re ‘cons’ (false information being positioned as fact).

In this article, we’ll cover 7 of the most common informational con jobs that are circling the web, being promoted through industry marketing campaigns, and being discussed in countless jewelry stores around the world when man-made diamonds are brought up

  • Lie #1: Laboratory Diamonds are ‘Synthetic’
  • Lie #2: Lab Created Diamonds are Tacky
  • Lie #3: Lab Diamonds Lose All Value the Moment You Buy Them
  • Lie #4: You Can’t Insure Lab Grown Diamonds
  • Lie #5: The ONLY Legitimate Use of Lab Diamonds is Small Gifts
  • Lie #6: Mined Diamonds are an Investment—Lab Diamonds Aren’t
  • Lie #7: Mined Diamonds Show That You Love Your Partner More

Let’s dive right in!

Lie #1: Laboratory Diamonds are ‘Synthetic’

The word ‘synthetic’ means fake or imitation to most people. The term ‘synthetic diamond’, for example, would immediately translate to ‘fake diamond’ in the minds of many. People might assume, for example, that a synthetic diamond is made out of some fancy plastic or resin, or some other material that’s different than what ‘real’ diamonds are made of.

Synthetic is a valid, and commonly used, term for gemologists, but it’s an awfully convenient word for marketers and jewelers with an agenda to use with non-gemologists that have a very different natural understanding of the word. Until the summer of 2018, ‘synthetic’ seemed to the term that was used most in the industry to describe man made diamonds. Some used it because it was a common and understood term, but others used it very intentionally as a way to shape opinions and impressions of the stone.

In mid-2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made it known that they don’t like the word ‘synthetic’ because they feel that it’s a misleading term. In their eyes, ‘synthetic’ denotes ‘fake’ for most people that hear it … and lab created diamonds are NOT fake diamonds—they are LITERALLY diamonds (just like those mined from the earth).

Why would the FTC care? Why would they bother to make such a statement? The FTC is the agency of the US Federal government that’s responsible for ensuring truth in advertising. If they observe marketing tactics that mislead (especially on a large scale), they try to step in and correct it. The term ‘synthetic’ was misleading, and they let the industry know that they viewed it that way—especially when labeling the products of another retailer using that kind of label or language.

The Reality, is that man-made diamonds are THE SAME as mined diamonds when it comes to look, durability, and function. In fact, they’re visibly indistinguishable. Even the most seasoned industry professionals aren’t able to distinguish a lab-cultured diamond from a ‘natural’ diamond. Lab created diamonds are just as hard as mined diamonds. They have the same fire, brilliance, and scintillation. If you’re unfamiliar with those terms, check out the article that I wrote about the Moissanite cuts that sparkle most. The information also applies to lab-created diamonds too, and fire, brilliance, and scintillation are explained there. They definitely DON’T carry the same price tag though. Lab created diamonds typically cost 40% to 50% less than mined diamonds. I wrote a whole post on why lab-grown diamonds are so much cheaper than mined diamonds. Click HERE if you’d like to read it.

Lie #2: Lab Created Diamonds are Tacky

How do you keep people buying a product that’s at least twice as expensive when the competing product looks identical and is just as durable? By shaming them. You have to make them feel that the other product just isn’t cool—in fact, it’s ‘tacky’. But how could something that’s so identical that a gemologist can’t even distinguish from a mined diamond, without sophisticated and specialized equipment, be tacky?

We are ALL extremely susceptible to conditioning from marketers. They’re masterful at what they do. In countless ways, they can condition us to feel that buying the drastically less expensive ‘synthetic’ version means something negative about us or our relationship. Too often, we accept their messaging and allow it to shape our beliefs and opinions.

There’s absolutely nothing tacky about saving 50% on a major purchase and ending up with a beautiful product that can’t be distinguished from the much more expensive version. It means that you can save a lot of money that could be put to better use elsewhere. It could also mean that you could afford to purchase a lab-diamond that’s twice as big as the mined diamond that you would have been able to purchase otherwise. What’s tacky about that?!

I wrote a post called Are Lab Grown Diamonds Bad? that addresses this issue in more depth. If you’d like to read it, click here.

Lie #3: Lab Diamonds Lose All Value the Moment You Buy Them

It’s literally said that the very moment you purchase a lab-created diamond, that it’s value drops to $0. That’s both a made up ‘fact’ and an ignorant statement.

Awareness of lab grown diamonds is growing fast! Acceptance and adoption are exploding! Lab-grown diamonds can, of course, be resold. You typically wouldn’t resell to a jeweler or pawn shop. They generally wouldn’t be a good option for reselling mined diamonds either. Your best bet would be selling private party. You could do that through local online classified ads. Sites like Craigslist.com, Kijiji.com, KSL.com, and many others allow you to create free ads for items that you’d like to sell.

Think about it, if someone is looking at potentially buying a lab-grown diamond ring anyway, why wouldn’t they be interested in buying a used one at a significant discount if the style was in line with what they were looking for anyway? Lab-grown diamonds resell this way all the time.

Some jewelers may not be interested in buying a used lab grown diamond, simply because they don’t sell lab-grown diamonds in their store—they’re trying not to detract from the mined diamonds they offer … but that doesn’t mean that no one will buy it. They absolutely will, and the kind of discount that you have to offer to a buyer of lab created diamond, is in line with the type of discount that you’d need to offer when reselling an earth-grown diamond.

Lie #4: You Can’t Insure Lab Grown Diamonds

The same people claiming that the value of lab created diamonds drops to zero the moment you buy them, often claim that you can’t insure these rings either. The implication is that even insurers know that they have no value, so they won’t even issue insurance on them. That logic doesn’t make sense on multiple levels.

Even if it was true (and it isn’t) that lab grown diamonds have no monetary value once they’re purchased…why would that stop insurers from issuing insurance on it? Replacing the lab diamond if it were lost or stolen would still cost whatever it originally retailed for when purchased new. It’s reasonable to insure against the risk of having to repurchase your ring. And since when are insurance companies not interested in collecting premiums … especially against items that won’t cost them much to replace.

This one is just complete and total garbage. It’s simply untrue. You can insure a lab grown diamond ring just as easily as a mined diamond ring. You can insure it as a rider to your homeowners/renters policy, as a separate policy through the same company that you get your homeowners/renters policy through, or as a separate policy from a company that has a specific focus on jewelry.

Lie #5: The ONLY Legitimate Use of Lab Diamonds is Small Gifts

Companies that are in the business of mining, marketing, or retailing earth-grown diamonds have to position lab-grown diamonds as inferior products, or second class citizens, in order to protect their market and margins.

Some groups offer BOTH mined diamonds and lab cultured diamonds. They have to find a way to serve both audiences while justifying the cost of their higher priced items. They can’t fully discredit lab diamonds if they’re selling them, but they don’t want people to abandon mined diamonds for their big purchases either.

They’ve decided to position lab diamonds as something that’s fine for something small like earrings, a necklace, or pendant, but not engagement rings or wedding rings. DeBeers seems to be leading this parade. Last year they shocked the industry by announcing that they were going to start producing lab-grown diamonds. They’ve since started selling those under a related brand for $800 per carat. They’ve been careful to distinguish that the lab stones are only for the smaller gifts and lighter moments. In fact, you can’t buy loose lab diamonds from them, and you can’t buy engagement or wedding rings from them. Since launching the new leg of their business, they’ve stuck to necklaces, pendants, and earrings.

I understand why using lab created diamonds only for smaller gifts like birthdays and graduations might be good for their business (it allows them to sell their higher margin mined diamonds for most wedding and anniversary-related needs, but how can it be viewed as a valid boundary? If the diamonds are made of the same element, look identical, and are equally durable—then WHY NOT use them for an engagement ring or wedding ring? Again, this is a con. We’re being conned into making purchase decisions that serve the needs and interests of companies like DeBeers, rather than make the most sense for our relationship and budgetary constraints.

Lie #6: Mined Diamonds are an Investment—Lab Diamonds Aren’t

The diamond industry, in general, tends to insinuate that mined diamonds hold their value and even appreciate in value. That expectation leads many people to buy diamonds that are much larger and more expensive than they could justify buying if they recognized the purchase more of a consumable item that would actually lose value.

Some diamonds do appreciate in value, but they aren’t your run-of-the-mill engagement ring diamond. They aren’t even the larger, nicer, fancier diamonds that some people place on their rings when they really splurge. The ones that appreciate are certain ultra rare fancy colored diamonds, or very large and rare colorless diamonds (the kinds that sell in the auctions of famous diamond auction houses like Christie’s. These rare and beautiful appreciating diamonds often cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. They’re the exceptions—not the norm.

Your grandparents may have a diamond ring that’s worth a lot more than they originally paid for it. Maybe they spent $150 on their ring in 1930, and today it’s worth $1,200. Isn’t that appreciation? It’s really just inflation. The cost of food, gas, cars, houses, movie tickets, candy bars, and just about everything else has also risen substantially over the years. Chances are, that the inflation-adjusted resale price of your ring will be a loss, regardless of when you sell it. They just aren’t true investments … and that’s honestly ok, as long as you don’t buy them as if they ARE investments.

The real lie here, is pretending that mined diamonds will protect the amount spent on them, or that they’ll somehow turn a profit. Hopefully, you never plan to sell your ring anyway! Regardless, NEITHER man made diamonds or earth made diamonds are investments that you should plan to see appreciation from. They’re treasures that are meant for you to enjoy for their beauty and sentimental value.

Lie #7: Mined Diamond Mean You Love Your Partner More

No one is overtly saying this, but it’s the implication of the talking points and marketing of the mined diamond industry. The gist is, “there’s something wrong with you, or your relationship if you don’t buy a ‘real’ diamond.”

According to a recent survey, the average engagement ring in the US runs nearly $6,000. The same study showed that in California, the average e-ring is more than $10,000! Since these are averages, we know that roughly half of the group spent more than these amounts, and half spent less. It’s interesting to also note that the divorce rate in the US currently sits at about 50%. If the mined diamond industry were to guess at causation for our current divorce rate, they might speculate that it’s the half of the population that spent less on there engage rings than the averages quoted above who are getting divorced. They might even guess it’s all the folks that bought lab-grown diamonds!

Again, in order to continue selling expensive mined diamonds in an era where lab created diamonds are identical in look, quality, and durability, but 40-50% less expensive, they have to masterfully market to create some sort of shame that comes with buying something else. As if you’re jinxing the prospects for your relationship if you don’t buy a mined diamond, or you’re publicly admitting that you don’t love your partner all that much if you aren’t willing to spring for an earth grown diamond. It’s manipulation at its finest, but it REALLY works!

Silly isn’t it?! If more costly diamonds made for more successful marriages, or symbolized deeper and truer love, then ‘A-list’ celebrity couples sporting giant diamond rings would tend to have the happiest and longest lasting marriages. Consciously we know that there’s no correlation, but marketers are much more effective targeting our subconscious thoughts and beliefs than making an appeal based on logic and reason. Consciously we know that diamond size has nothing to do with the quality of our love or relationship.

Contrary to the careful conditioning of marketers and society, studies show that more frugal couples actually have marriages that last longer. That’s the total opposite of what marketing messages lead us to believe. One study conducted by Emory University found that couples who spent less than $1,000 on their rings actually had marriages that lasted the longest. There was a clear pattern all the way through the results. The more that was spent on the wedding rings, the shorter the marriages lasted, on average. The same trend showed held for overall wedding expenses as well—the more frugal weddings lasted longer.

The study is inconvenient for the mined diamond industry. It doesn’t help their cause, but it’s based on objective research, and it teaches us some important things. Buying a frugal ring isn’t a sacrifice. The ring is a symbol of our love and relationship. It’s the relationship—not the ring that’s valuable. It’s the relationship that should appreciate and get even more valuable over time. Sometimes when we focus too much on the ring, and put too much weight in his value, we may unintentionally neglect the aspect of our marriage that should really be at the core of our thoughts and emotions. It’s not about the ring, it’s about the union.

These 7 Lies, or ‘cons,’ are designed to create fear, shame, and doubt around buying and presenting a lab created diamond. In reality, lab grown diamonds are rapidly being adopted by couples who want 100% certainty that their gems weren’t mined with human slavery. They also love being able to save 40% to 50% on the cost of a diamond that’s visibly identical to an earth grown diamond—and every bit as durable!

According to a 2018 study, about 70% of Millennials surveyed said that they would be open to purchasing an engagement ring that featured a lab-grown diamond. That was a startling jump from the results recorded for a similar survey done in prior years. Many predict that the market for lab cultured diamonds could be 1000% larger by 2020. With that kind of growth pattern anticipated and underway, expect more misinformation and confusion to be aggressively promoted by the mined diamond industry in an effort to protect their product.

Awareness of the facts and tactics that are commonly used makes you less susceptible to marketing ploys that continually attempt to steer you toward buying products that serve the retailer but aren’t in your best interest.

Related Posts:

Why Diamonds are Valuable & How Being Expensive Fuels Sales

Diamond Scams | How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When You Buy

Why Lab Diamonds Are So Much Cheaper Than Mined Diamonds

Lab Created Diamond vs Moissanite | Look, Durability, & Cost

Lab Created Diamond vs Moissanite | Look, Durability, & Cost

Lab Created Diamond and Moissanite are so similar, and yet, still quite different. We’ll zero in on both the similarities and differences in this article.

Which is better, a Lab Created Diamond or Moissanite? Moissanite is durable and looks very similar to diamond, so if money is really tight, Moissanite is probably your best option. Lab Grown Diamonds are harder, and therefore more durable than Moissanite, but they are also going to be a good deal more expensive, so they aren’t the right choice for everyone.

Both lab-grown diamond and Moissanite are great options for ‘forever’ stones, but which is best for you? We’ll provide all the information you need in order to make that important decision below.

The Origins of Lab Diamond vs The Origins of Moissanite

Both man-made diamonds and Moissanite are grown in a laboratory. This means that you can be certain that these stones are 100% ‘conflict’ free. The term ‘conflict’ or ‘blood diamond’ is used to denote diamonds that are mined from the earth through slave labor, or to fund the war efforts of violent militant groups.

Organizations have been trying to create quality lab created diamonds for many decades. General Electric (GE) made important contributions to the effort, along with many others. GE ran businesses that had to purchase diamonds for industrial application. Being able to create diamonds in a laboratory would mean big savings or them. Early successes in production provided a man made diamond that could be used in industrial application, but it’s only in very recent years that the technology has advanced to the point that jewelry quality diamonds can be produced.

What’s incredible, is that today’s cultured diamonds are visibly indistinguishable from earth mined diamonds. Large grading laboratories typically have to use highly specialized and incredibly expensive testing equipment in order to positively distinguish between a lab grown and an earth grown diamond. The market for lab-grown diamonds for engagement and wedding rings is taking off for the following reasons:

  • They’re typically 40% to 50% cheaper than mined diamonds
  • No one can visibly tell above ground diamonds from below ground diamonds (even professionals)
  • People feel better ethically about ‘conflict-free’ stones
  • Lab diamonds are less damaging to the environment
  • Fancy colored lab grown diamonds are MUCH more affordable

Moissanite is a man made version of a real stone that’s just unbelievably rare. A French scientist was investigating a meteor impact site in the late 1800s when he found a crystal that he believed to be diamond. Several years later, he discovered that it wasn’t diamond, but a new material, which was later named Moissanite. Tiny bits of this stone can still be found at the site of many meteor crashes, and a very few other locations around the globe. If all we had was the tiny amounts of natural Moissanite for jewelry application, it’s cost would make it unobtainable.

What’s special about Moissanite? While the stone is amazing in its own right, truthfully, most people love Moissanite because it looks so similar to diamond, but costs considerably less.

People commonly buy Moissanite for their engagement rings and wedding rings for the following reasons:

  • It’s typically 80-95% cheaper than a mined diamond, and at least 70% cheaper than a lab diamond
  • Few non-professionals can tell that it isn’t diamond, though there are indications if you know what to look for.
  • They’re all ‘conflict free’ stones
  • Their production is seen as less damaging to the environment than diamond mining
  • They want something that’s a little different than what everyone else is wearing
  • They’re incredibly hard and durable stones

Awareness, and acceptance, of Moissanite, seems to be exploding as well right now. Many people that can afford diamonds (and that already own diamonds) have fallen in love with Moissanite and love to wear it.

The look of Lab Grown Diamond vs The Look of Moissanite

Lab created diamonds look EXACTLY like earth-grown diamonds. They typically still have some inclusions and don’t always come out completely colorless. Man-made diamonds can be colorless, or they can have varying degrees of yellow or brown hue.

You could think of it as a diamond’s doppelganger. A doppelganger is someone that looks like they could be a twin (they look incredibly similar), but they aren’t actually related. Moissanite isn’t made of carbon, and definitely isn’t a diamond.

Two similMoissanite and Diamond look almost identical

Like diamonds, Moissanite can come in a variety of shades ranging from colorless to some shade of yellow hue. Those that like colorful sparkle, LOVE Moissanite. It’s a more fiery stone, because it breaks up the light that enters the top and sides of the stone into the spectrum of colors that the light is comprised of and then reflects those colorful sparkles back so much more efficiently than diamond does.

Moissanite vs Diamond Stats

AttributeMoissanite
Diamond
Price$300-500 (per carat)$3,000-10,000 (per carat)
Fire (Dispersion)0.1040.044
Brilliance (Reflective Index)2.652.42
Luster20.40%17.20%
Hardness9.2510
ToughnessExcellentGood

Moissanite has a unique quality to the way it looks in certain lighting, and from a particular angle. Larger Moissanite stones (especially those over 1 carat) tend to take on a colored overtone for brief moments. It’s only visible under certain lighting conditions and from a particular angle.

My wife wears a Moissanite ring. It would be extremely hard for most people to tell that the stones aren’t diamond. They look colorless and sparkle beautifully. When my wife is driving at times, she’ll glance at her ring, and it will have a greenish tone because of the light’s interaction with the ring and her viewing angle in that moment. A moment later, she won’t be able to see the green hue. I’ve never noticed that with her ring, but she’s seen it a number of times (always while driving). She loves the ring and doesn’t mind the perceived temporary color change. It’s actually a really cool and unique attribute of Moissanite.

The Durability of Man Made Diamond vs Moissanite

Durability is important because your engagement ring and wedding ring have so much sentimental value, because they’re going to work in some tough conditions at times, and because rings often require a pretty significant investment. Fortunately, both lab-grown diamonds and Moissanite are extremely scratch resistant and durable stones.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness is the way that scratch resistance is typically measured for gems and other similar materials. The numeric scale runs from 1 to 10. The higher the number assigned to a particular material, the harder it is. In its simplest form, you would know that something rated as a 7 on Mohs Scale could scratch something that’s rated a 5, simply because it’s harder. Something that’s a 4 couldn’t scratch something that’s rated a 6 because it’s softer. The scale is relative. The higher the number, the harder the material, but the numbers DON’T tell you HOW MUCH harder one material is that another. In other words, a 10 isn’t necessarily twice as hard as a 5. It might be 20 times as hard as a 5.

With that basic understanding in place, it might be interesting to know that Moissanite is rated a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. That means it’s harder (more scratch resistant) than any other rock or gem known to man—except diamond. Diamond is rated a 10. Again that means that Diamond is harder. A diamond could scratch a piece of Moissanite, but a piece of Moissanite couldn’t scratch a diamond.

Both stones are hard enough to endure daily wear. You should always be careful with your ring, but neither of these stones are particularly fragile. Yes, diamond is harder, but you pay a lot more for it. Is the extra money worth it? It really comes down to preference. Both are quality stones that can last a lifetime. One certainly costs less than the other, but the cost probably isn’t your ONLY consideration.

The Cost of Lab Created Diamond vs Moissanite

Speaking of cost, Here’s what you can expect to see for lab cultured diamonds and Moissanite of various sizes:

Pricing: Moissanite vs Lab Grown Diamond vs Mined Diamond

Size (in Carats)ColorClarityCost% Savings
(over mined diamond)
Cut
Moissanite0.33F-$169--
Lab Grown Diamond0.3FVS1$482-Excellent
Moissanite0.5F-$26980.65%-
Lab Grown Diamond0.5FVS2$95031.65%Ideal
Earth Grown Diamond0.5FVS2$1,390-Excellent
Moissanite0.8F-$45985.24%-
Lab Grown Diamond0.75EVS2$1,560
49.84%Very Good
Earth Grown Diamond0.75FVS2$3,110-Excellent
Moissanite1.0F-$59989.67%-
Lab Grown Diamond1.0FVS2$2,85050.86%-
Earth Grown Diamond1.0FVS2$5,800-Excellent

I hope that’s a helpful reference. There are various things that you can do to adjust your costs for each stone. By changing any of the characteristics addressed by the 4C’s (accepting a stone that’s less colorless, a smaller stone, more/different inclusions, or a lesser cut grade, you can decrease the costs represented in this table even further if needed.

Both lab-grown diamonds and Moissanite are excellent frugal ring options that allow you to have all the sparkle you could want for your special ring, while still saving significant money over the cost of buying an earth-grown diamond. Either lab created stone will also be a more environmentally friendly, and socially responsible, choice than mined diamonds. Don’t you love it when you get to pick between two good options—and basically can’t lose?!

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Can Moissanite Scratch, Break, Chip, or Crack? | Durability

How to Insure a Lab Grown Diamond Ring | The Cost & Process