Moissanite is one of the top diamond alternatives available currently. It comes closer than any other stone to the most desirable qualities of diamonds yet costs significantly less! Savings certainly aren’t the only important factor to consider when planning an engagement ring, wedding ring, or anniversary band. In this post, we’ll look into the differences in appearance and sparkle (any compromises) that may accompany the big gap in cost.
Does Moissanite sparkle like a diamond? Both Moissanite and Diamond are sparkly, but they aren’t identical. Moissanite processes light differently. It has a higher refractive index, which causes it to throw off more sparkles as colorful flashes than diamonds can. They look very similar, but there are a few distinguishing characteristics.
In preparing to compare the sparkle of Moissanite and diamond, it’s helpful to understand that the two stones are different in some important areas. They’re cut differently, formed differently, and handle light in very different ways. We’ll explain more below.
Can You Tell a Difference Between Moissanite and Diamond?
Moissanite looks very similar to diamond, but they aren’t identical. My kids have some friends in our neighborhood that are considered identical twins. My children can tell them apart pretty well after spending lots of time with them, but I still can’t. Even ‘identical’ twins aren’t actually identical. In reality, their physical similarities are significant, and any distinguishing physical characteristics are minor enough that they’re hard to notice and remember (unless you spend enough time with them comparing and contrasting to notice subtle differences).
Moissanite and Diamonds have a similar relationship, they look almost identical to an untrained eye, but they aren’t. Moissanite has more sparkle than diamond because It’s naturally double refractive. Because of this, Moissanite is cut differently than diamonds are, to work with the natural characteristics of the stone.
Part of the reason for Moissanite’s increased sparkle has to do with its dispersion properties. Moissanite has twice as much dispersion as diamonds. Dispersion relates to the way that light enters a ring, is bent, broken up, and reflected back toward the eye. Dispersion presents itself as colorful light flashes (commonly referred to as ‘fire’) that dance across the surface of the stone as it’s moved around under direct light.
All the extra Fire becomes far more distinctive, and apparent, in larger Moissanite stones. If you’re wearing a 1 carat (6.5 mm) Moissanite stone, for example, the difference in fire won’t be nearly as noticeable as it might be if you’re wearing a 3 carat (9 mm) stone. If you’re thinking of purchasing a Moissanite ring, you may want to give some thought to size. After hearing questions like, ‘Do moissanite rings look fake?’ repeatedly over time, I wrote an article titled, When Does Moissanite Look Fake? that might be worth reviewing as you decide on the right stone size for your ring.
The rainbow-like effect of light that Moissanite delivers in abundance sets it apart from diamonds—which reflect less color, but larger amounts of white light. Because more white light is refracted in a diamond, the resulting sparkle is somewhat different. These sparkle tendencies are further enhanced by the different ways that Moissanite is cut (the facet pattern).
The refraction index refers to the speed at which light can travel through the material. Moissanite’s refraction index reading is 2.65, while diamonds have a refraction index of just 2.42. It’s because of this distinction that Diamonds tend to have lower levels of rainbow color refraction and higher white light refraction.
Diamonds reflect light in three different ways—through brilliance, dispersion (the rainbow colors), and scintillation (the surface sparkle).
Will Moissanite Pass a Diamond Tester
I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when I was around the twins I mentioned earlier and their parents. Their father bent down slightly to take a close look at one of them. He then hesitantly said, you’re Landon, right? His son confirmed his identity (like that’s not an unusual exchange).
I was a little shocked because I had always assumed that the parents of identical twins would be able to tell them apart instantly and effortlessly. I learned that isn’t always the case. The same is true with Diamond rings and Moissanite rings. Sometimes even the jewelry professionals that study these materials and know them best, can’t tell them apart by sight. Because the two stones are so similar in appearance. Because of this reality, sophisticated electronics (Diamond testers and Moissanite testers) have been created to reveal what the trained eye sometimes can’t discern.
A quality Diamond tester will be able to tell its operator that a Moissanite engagement ring isn’t a diamond engagement ring, for example, but it won’t reveal the identity of the non-diamond stone. Diamond testers typically just answer that one question for their handler, “is this stone a diamond?” After finding out that a particular stone isn’t a diamond, a Moissanite tester could be used to either identify the stone as Moissanite, or rule that possibility out as well. There are testing units available that combine a Diamond and Moissanite tester in one unit.
Does Moissanite Lose its Sparkle?
Diamonds are considered an heirloom stone, because, with proper care, they should last forever and maintain their original beauty as they’re handed down from generation to generation. Maintaining sparkle is an important part of that enduring beauty.
Fortunately, Moissanite is also an incredibly hard stone that could certainly be considered a forever stone if cared for. Moissanite and Diamond can both lose their sparkle if oils and dirt collect on their surface and block light from entering and exiting the stone. Any muting that’s caused by this type of buildup is temporary. Once the ring is cleaned, it should sparkle just like new again!
Which Moissanite Shape Looks Most Like a Diamond?
Round-cut Moissanite tends to look most similar to diamonds. As mentioned earlier, size is also an important consideration if you want your Moissanite to be able to look as similar to a diamond as possible. Size matters both because wearing a center stone that’s way oversized for your income is a quick giveaway that your stone isn’t diamond, but also because distinctions in sparkle qualities are more apparent in larger Moissanite stones.
The Color of Moissanite vs the color of Diamonds
Even though Moissanite is lab-created, it still comes in a variety of shades. A grading scale is used to communicate the color qualities of individual stones. That scale uses a range that runs from ‘D’ to ‘Z’. Perfectly colorless stones are assigned a ‘D’ grade, while on the other end of the spectrum, stones with a yellow hue might end up graded as a ‘Z’.
Diamonds also come in a wide range of shades. Those containing some amount of yellow or brown shading are most common, while completely colorless diamonds are much more rare and expensive! The same ‘D’ to ‘Z’ color scale mentioned above is also used to communicate Diamond color.
Moissanite and Diamonds are incredibly similar on the surface, but they aren’t the same. A trained eye can distinguish the two stones based on sparkle. Today’s electronic gadgetry can certainly distinguish the two stones when subtle visible qualities alone aren’t enough.
Moissanite’s lively colorful sparkle, incredible durability, and reasonable cost have made it a popular choice for engagement rings, wedding rings, and more casual jewelry pieces.