Is Moissanite Considered Fake? | 3 Reasons Some Say It Is

Is Moissanite Considered Fake? | 3 Reasons Some Say It Is

Moissanite rings look very similar to diamond rings, but does that make them nothing more than diamond knockoffs?

Is Moissanite considered fake? Moissanite isn’t “fake.” It’s a real, naturally occurring, stone. Natural Moissanite is much rarer than Diamonds. Because of this, the Moissanite in all jewelry is lab-created. Moissanite looks very similar to diamond, but this doesn’t make Moissanite a fake diamond—or diamond a fake Moissanite.

Why do some people refer to Moissanite as fake? I’ll explain some of the more common reasons below.

Is Moissanite a Fake Diamond?

Diamonds peddlers (and sometimes those that paid way too much to purchase a diamond…and want to justify the decision) occasionally refer to Moissanite as fake (usually implying that it’s a ‘fake diamond’). The label “fake,” understandably, doesn’t sit well with many people that are shopping for a ring to mark an important occasion in their lives. Those that throw the term around recognize this, which is, of course, why they do it.

There are three very common reasons that critics of Moissanite often use to justify claims that it’s fake.

  1. Moissanite is made to look like diamonds
  2. Moissanite is a manufactured stone
  3. It isn’t always presented as Moissanite

I’ll provide more context for each of these claims and address them in the paragraphs that follow.

Moissanite is Made to Look Like Diamonds

Again, Moissanite is a naturally occurring stone, but it’s rare—far more rare than diamonds. Moissanite was originally discovered in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan. Henri was investigating the site of a meteor impact in the deserts of Arizona. During his exploration of the area, he found some small crystal fragments that he believed to be diamond. It wasn’t until several years later that he discovered that they were something entirely different than diamond. The stone was eventually named in his honor.

Interesting, right? Moissanite naturally resembles diamond. The fact that the two look so similar is no reason to refer to Moissanite as a fake version of the other. In reality, they’re just two distinct stone types that have some level of commonality in terms of look and durability (yet they’re very distinctive in other areas).

In another article, I referred to Moissanite and Diamond as doppelgangers (two people that almost look like identical twins, but who aren’t related to each other).

Alligators and Crocodiles look almost indistinguishable to those that haven’t learned the physical characteristics that distinguish them. Just because the two reptiles have a lot in common and look fairly similar doesn’t mean that a Crocodile is a fake Alligators, or that an Alligator is a fake Crocodile.

Is Moissanite Considered a Fake Diamond

This same scenario applies to Moissanite too. It does look similar to diamond, but that doesn’t make it fake. White Sapphire can also look similar to diamond, but here again, it’s a natural stone that happens to somewhat resemble diamond (the same way that alligators and crocodiles resemble each other without being identical).

Moissanite is a Manufactured Stone

I mentioned earlier that Moissanite is much rarer than Diamonds. We don’t find large deposits of Moissanite in pockets around the globe that we can continue mining for years (as we do with diamonds. In fact, Moissanite has primarily been found at the site of meteor impacts. The force of the impact typically ensures that only small fragments remain. In the extremely rare instance where naturally occurring Moissanite has been discovered on earth, it’s been found in very small sizes and quantities.

Because Moissanite is a fascinating, functional, and beautiful stone that’s so hard to find naturally, we’ve been creating it in labs for many years. We first started manufacturing it in 1903 so we could use the stone as an abrasive for manufacturing. Moissanite is incredibly hard and much less expensive than other alternatives at the time.

Today, many types of stones are created in labs around the globe. Diamond is another lab-created stone that’s growing in popularity today. The diamonds that are manufactured are made of carbon. They aren’t fake diamonds. They’re real diamonds (in every sense of the word), and have the exact same characteristics as diamonds that were formed in the earth.

As you can see, being lab created doesn’t make a given stone ‘fake.’ Moissanite wasn’t imagined and made up to look like diamonds—it’s a real stone with its own qualities, characteristics, and history.

It Isn’t Always Presented as Moissanite

Because Moissanite and Diamond look so similar, it’s definitely possible for someone to assume that the Moissanite ring you gave them is a diamond ring if you don’t inform them otherwise. Disclosure and honesty are especially important when you present a ring to someone you care about to mark a special moment in the relationship.

If you propose with a Moissanite ring, for example, you really SHOULD find an appropriate way to tell them. The fact that it’s a Moissanite ring doesn’t have to be said before opening the box, while you’re still on one knee, or before they answer your proposal, but you should be open and transparent with the information. Sooner is probably also better than later.

Please don’t get me wrong, this disclosure isn’t an apology. Moissanite is an interesting and impressive stone in its own right. There’s just no need to pretend that a Moissanite is anything other than what it is. Moissanite truly ISN’T a fake diamond. You can be open, honest, and proud of your ring for what it is.

While we’re on the subject of appropriate disclosures, I should mention that Moissanite isn’t intentionally sold by reputable jewelers as diamond—it’s sold as Moissanite. I say ‘intentionally’ just because it’s sometimes hard to tell the two apart without specific testing. I recently wrote an article describing the type of testing and instruments that can be used to distinguish diamonds from Moissanite.

It’s easier for dishonest people to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers on sites that connect private party buyers and sellers (online auction sites, for example). I would exercise real caution when purchasing ANY stone from an individual seller (even through online platforms that you’re familiar with) or online retailers that you’re unfamiliar with. The larger, more established, and more reputable a retailer is, the more certain you can be, that you’ll get what you paid for.

Yes, there may be some situations where Moissanite isn’t disclosed to be Moissanite. When that happens, people frequently believe the stone to be diamond. That clearly shouldn’t happen. When it does, it doesn’t mean that Moissanite is a ‘fake’ stone— it means that people are sometimes dishonest. Again, they may try doing the same thing with a stone like White Sapphire or a number of other similar stones.

How Does it Moissanite Compare to Diamond?

I’ve mentioned several times that Moissanite and Diamond have both common and distinctive characteristics. I thought it might be helpful to quickly highlight some of those issues so you can better understand the similarities and differences.

Moissanite vs Diamond: Hardness

Both Moissanite and Diamond are very hard stones, but they aren’t equally hard. Diamond rates at 10 (the highest score) on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, while Moissanite comes in at 9.25.

The numerical between those two seems small, but the actual difference in hardness is actually pretty significant. Diamond is much harder than Moissanite. That extreme hardness is both good and bad. On one hand, it means that diamonds are incredibly scratch resistant. On the other, it creates a major vulnerability that you’ll learn about in the next section.

Moissanite vs Diamond: Toughness

Hardness and toughness are not the same things. Hardness has to do with scratch resistance. Toughness essentially has to do with break resistance. The harder materials become, the more brittle they get. Diamonds are therefore very resistant to scratches, but also fairly susceptible to cracking or breaking.

My younger sister once had her diamond ring fall off a counter onto a tile floor. As she picked up the ring and examined it, she found that the stone had fractured all the way through.

Because Moissanite is less hard, it’s also less brittle. This makes Moissanite tougher than diamond (less likely to break as the result of an impact).

Moissanite vs Diamond: Durability

Hardness and toughness are both factors that play into durability. Because of that, it’s really hard to say whether diamond or Moissanite is the more durable stone overall. Fortunately, both stones are durable enough to be considered ‘forever’ stones, which means they are capable of being used as family heirlooms, that get passed down from generation-to-generation.

Moissanite vs Diamond: Sparkle

Moissanite is capable of displaying far more sparkle (particularly colorful sparkle—commonly referred to as ‘fire’) than diamond can. This is one of those characteristics that is naturally different between the two stones. Some absolutely LOVE all the additional sparkle. It makes the ring look so vibrant and tends to draw lots of compliments!

When it comes to sparkle, Moissanite is pretty low maintenance. Some stones start to look muted and dull pretty quickly as they collect dirt from daily wear. Moissanite surpasses diamond, and most other stones, in its ability to sparkle right on through some pretty substantial grime.

Moissanite vs Diamond: Cost

The cost difference between Diamond and Moissanite is significant. A 1-carat diamond will likely cost at least 10 times as much as a Moissanite stone of the same size.

A Moissanite stone of that size will cost $300 to $600. A 1-carat diamond of reasonable quality will typically cost $5,000 or more.

Moissanite vs Diamond: Insurability

Both stones are equally insurable. I wrote an article discussing the options and costs for insuring a lab-grown diamond ring. The same options and approximate costs would also be applicable to Moissanite rings, so that post may be worth reviewing if you’d like to understand your options a little better.

One of the benefits of purchasing a ring with a lower cost stone (like Moissanite), is that you may not need to purchase insurance coverage because the cost of replacing the stone may be low enough that you can essentially self-insure. That saves you money that you might otherwise have to pay every month to cover a more expensive ring.

Moissanite vs Diamond: Resale

All used rings are going to sell at a discount. No one wants to pay anything close to retail for a used right—even if it’s in ‘like new’ condition. The size of the discount that’s required to sell your ring will depend on many factors. There are a couple of important differences to keep in mind when comparing Moissanite and Diamond.

First, you risk a lot less when you buy a Moissanite stone. That reality certainly runs against the grain of the beliefs that advertisers have tried to instill in us over the years. We’re led to believe that the diamonds in our engagement rings and wedding rings are an investment of some sort—that hold their value and even appreciate. Unless you’re buying a truly rare diamond (sizes and colors that typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more) it’s all really fiction.

If you purchase a diamond for 6,000 and have to sell it used for a 50% discount, you’ve lost $3,000. If you purchase a Moissanite stone for $600 and have to sell it for a 70% discount, you would only lose $420 in total. That’s why I say you risk a lot less when you purchase Moissanite. You could essentially toss your Moissanite stone in the garbage and lose A LOT less money than you would after SELLING your diamond ring.

I mention that just to highlight the issue, but in reality, there’s no reason that you wouldn’t be able to sell your Moissanite at a discount that’s similar (and most likely even less) than the discount you would have to offer in order to sell a diamond.

I evaluated a number of used diamond rings and moissanite rings that were being offered for sale in my area to figure out the average discount that was being offered on each. I outlined the results in an article titled Will Moissanite Go Up in Value? Sellers are, naturally, only going to discount as much as they need to in order to draw buyers to purchase their ring instead of a new one, so it’s interesting to get some insight into how low they need to go to accomplish that.

In Summary

Moissanite is not a ‘fake’ stone—and certainly isn’t a fake diamond. It’s a naturally occurring stone that’s been reproduced in laboratories since the late 1800s. Natural Moissanite is rare on earth, but it also exists in space and has often been found at meteor impact sites (which is where Moissanite was first discovered).

Moissanite does happen to look very similar to diamond. While it isn’t quite as hard as diamonds, it is tougher. Moissanite is a durable “forever” stone that’s capable of lasting for generations. Couples that can’t, or don’t want to, spend the kind of money that diamonds demand, often save 90% on the cost of their stone by choosing Moissanite! Years later, many tell me that they couldn’t be happier and would make the same decision all over again!

Related Posts:

How Much are Moissanite Rings? | Finding Inexpensive Options

Will Moissanite Pass a Diamond Tester? | Best Test Options

Will Moissanite Last Forever? | Frugal Family Heirloom Rings

Is Moissanite Better Than CZ? The 5 Facts You Need to Know!

Is Moissanite Better Than CZ? The 5 Facts You Need to Know!

Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia are both diamond alternatives that can look gorgeous and cost significantly less than a similar-sized diamond would. Even though Moissanite and CZ have those things in common, they certainly aren’t the same in many other areas.

Is Moissanite better than CZ? Moissanite is definitely the better option if your primary concern is durability. Moissanite is significantly harder than CZ. That hardness means added scratch resistance. If your primary concern is cost, then Cubic Zirconia may be the better choice because it’s significantly less expensive. 

More than likely, you’re not shopping with just one characteristic in mind. You probably want the most durable ring you can get at the best price you can find. In the remainder of this article, I’ll share information that will help you determine whether Moissanite or CZ is the best fit for you, based on your unique needs.

Moissanite vs CZ: Scratch Resistance

Mohs Scale of Hardness is a relative scale that illustrates which stones are harder or softer than other stones. It essentially ranks stones from hardest to softest and applies a numerical rank that helps you to understand where they fall in the hardness ‘pecking order’.

Diamond is the hardest stone known to man, so it has the highest rating on the scale (10). Talc is the softest stone on the scale, with a rating of just 1. Other stones fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Moissanite is definitely considered a hard stone. It has a score of 9.25 to 9.5, making it one of the hardest stones available for rings. At a score of 8 to 8.5, Cubic Zirconia isn’t in the same league as Moissanite when it comes to durability. CZ is far from the softest stone that’s used as a diamond alternative, but it’s not nearly as durable as Moissanite.

The numerical difference between 8 and 9.25 may not seem like much, but the difference in their actual hardness IS significant! Remember, that The Mohs Scale of Hardness is a RELATIVE SCALE. This means that the only thing the numbers clearly communicate is WHETHER a particular stone is harder or softer than another stone. The numbers can’t convey HOW MUCH harder or softer the other stone is. Even jumping from an 8 to 8.5, for example, could represent a HUGE difference in the actual hardness between two given stones.

With that context in mind, the actual difference in hardness between Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia is significant when it comes to the longevity of your ring. Hardness directly equates to scratch resistance. The harder your stone is, the less likely it is to scratch when your hand comes in contact with other objects and surfaces in your everyday environment. By contrast, the softer your stone is, the MORE likely it is to scratch!

This means that it’s much easier to maintain the beauty of your Moissanite stones, over time, than it would be with CZ stones in comparable pieces of jewelry. If durability is one of your primary concerns, but you don’t want to splurge on a much more costly diamond, you may want to stick with something like Moissanite!

Fact 1: Moissanite is significantly harder than CZ, which means it’s going to scratch far less easily.

Moissanite vs CZ: Sparkle

Both Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia are known to throw off a lot of sparklebut which is BETTER? If you’re the type that just can’t get enough sparkle, Moissanite is your best bet!

The two primary elements of the sparkle effect are fire (colorful flashes of light) and brilliance (flashes of white light). Moissanite outperforms CZ in both areas (it even outperforms diamonds in this area).

Comparing Components of Sparkle

Type of Stone
Brilliance
Fire
Moissanite:
2.65
.104
Cubic Zirconia:
2.17
.060

One other important consideration of sparkle, is how well a stone tends to sparkle through dirt and grime. Some stones get muted and dull-looking very quickly. CZ tends to be affected by buildup from dirt and oils much faster than Moissanite. While it’s a good idea to keep your Moissanite clean, it’s known to be a low maintenance ring that continues to sparkle like crazy, even through the kind build-up that dulls other rings!

Those that own Moissanite rings will often tell you that they can’t keep their eyes off all the flashing white and colorful bursts of sparkle they constantly see as they move their ring under light.

Fact #2: Whether both are clean or dirty, Moissanite out performs CZ in sparkle.

Moissanite vs CZ: Retaining Facet Shape

Center Stones are carefully cut with very precisely positioned surfaces. Both the flat surfaces (Facets) and the ridges in between those facets help to create the sparkle effect. If the facets, or ridges in between facets, are damaged, it could seriously inhibit the stone’s ability to sparkle.

Unfortunately, CZ isn’t hard enough to hold it’s shaping indefinitely. As rings are worn daily, they come in contact with various things that can wear down softer stones—like Cubic Zirconia. This means that over the years, the ridges in between facets can start to become rounded instead of having crisp and defined edges. When you compare a new CZ stone against a new Moissanite stone side-by-side, the cuts all look similar. It’s hard to imagine that the two stones could wear so differently over time—but they do.

Ridges wear down on Cubic Zirconia

That change has a major impact on the look of the stone. The stone that once dances with sparkle starts to look dull and lifeless. Moissanite is hard enough to hold its angles and edges despite years of abuse from daily wear.

Fact #3: The ridges between facets will wear down and round over time on CZ. Because Moissanite is significantly harder, it retains its original shape over time.

Moissanite vs CZ: Anticipated Life Span

Because of the difference in hardness between these stones, their anticipated useful lifespan is quite different. A Cubic Zirconia will typically last 3 to 10 years before needing to be replaced—depending on how frequently it’s worn and how carefully it’s protected. Of course your CZ stone won’t turn to powder, or fall off your finger, if you wear it longer than the approximate useful life mentioned above—but after years of wear, the stone often looks dull and tired. It doesn’t sparkle like it once did, and surface scratches may be visible.

A Moissanite stone, on the other hand, should be able to last for many decades. Like diamonds, Moissanite is considered a ‘forever stone’. That essentially means that it’s durable enough to be an heirloom piece that’s handed down to future generations.

Being a ‘forever stone’ doesn’t mean it’s indestructible—just that it’s destruction resistant. Diamonds are the hardest stone on earth, but they can still crack, break, shatter, or even scratch, given the right circumstances. Moissanite is similar. You don’t have to baby it as much as softer stones, but you need to exercise some reasonable caution. If you go white water rafting, for example, it would be a good idea to remove your ring, whether it’s Moissanite, Diamond, or CZ.

Fact #4: The typical useful life of CZ is 3 to 10 years, while Moissanite can last through multiple generations.

Moissanite vs CZ: Resale Value

When you sell a used ring, expect to take a loss. That’s going to be the case whether you’re selling a diamond, a Moissanite, or a CZ ring. If your buyer wanted to pay retail, they would probably prefer to purchase a new ring from a jeweler. Used ring buyers are looking for a deal (savings).

Having said that, CZ is typically inexpensive to purchase new, so it’s essentially valueless on the used market. People can afford to purchase a new CZ, so selling a Cubic Zirconia used is hardly worth anyone’s time in most cases.

Moissanite is more expensive. A one carat Moissanite stone typically costs $300 to $600 depending on the color and where you purchase it. I did some research for a recent article, comparing the resale value of Moissanite to the resale value of used diamonds. I compared real second-hand rings that were being offered for sale in my area to compile that data. You can review my findings HERE.

Fact #5: Moissanite resells for more, but also costs much more to purchase new. CZ costs very little and isn’t as durable, so it can sometimes be harder to resell. 

Summary

Moissanite is certainly the far more durable stone that can symbolize permanence for engagement rings, wedding rings, and anniversary bands. It’s the better choice if you’re looking for something that’s as diamond-like as possible without having to cover the hefty cost of diamonds.

CZ can be beautiful in rings. While it isn’t as scratch-resistant or long-lasting as Moissanite, it’s still the right choice for some couples. Cubic Zirconia can allow couples with extremely tight budgets to get a ring that should last, and look beautiful, for several years without incurring ring debt. Several years later, once the couple is better prepared for the expense, they can upgrade to something like Moissanite or a diamond if they want to. Another affordable option, is to simply replace the CZ stone with a new CZ stone when the stone starts looking too worn. There’s nothing really wrong with that approach either.

For couples that can afford just a little more, Moissanite offers incredible value. It can provide you with a forever stone, and lots of beautiful sparkle, at a frugal price.

Related Posts:

When Does Moissanite Look Fake? | The 3 Main Giveaways

Why Buy Cubic Zirconia Engagement Rings?

Which is Better Moissanite or Cubic Zirconia?