When it comes to choosing a diamond substitute, moissanite is a popular choice. But how does it compare? Is Moissanite more sparkly than diamonds?
Moissanite does sparkle more actively than diamonds because of the unique properties of the stone. Light is bent, divided, and reflected back in a spectrum of white flashes and rainbow colors. The quantity of colorful light flashes is an identifying characteristic of Moissanite.
Let’s take a closer look at these two engagement ring favorites, to see how they’re similar, where they’re different, and which one might ultimately be the best option for your next ring.
What Causes Sparkle?
The beauty of gemstones comes from their luster, brilliance, dispersion, refraction and scintillation. These words describe how light interacts with the gemstone to create the dazzling display that we see.
Professional jewelers rarely speak about gemstones as “sparkly”. Instead, they refer to the brilliance of a cut gemstone. Brilliance is a measure of how much light a stone reflects and refracts from its surface. In other words, how much it sparkles.
A stone’s sparkle has to do with the way it allows light to penetrate and then channels, bends, splits, and reflects light. Because of this, the quality of the cut is a critical factor in creating a diamond’s brilliance. Every diamond is cut with dozens, or even hundreds, of tiny flat surfaces, called facets. The cutter must angle the facets so that they reflect light back out of the top of the stone. The angle and shape of each facet affects how light interacts with the diamond and influences its sparkle. If the facets are not cut properly, the light will escape out of the sides or bottom of the diamond, causing it to lose its sparkle and appear more lifeless.
Why Does Moissanite Sparkle More than Other Gems?
Moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamonds. The refractive index is a way of measuring how much a stone is able to bend the light that enters it. Diamond’s refractive index is 2.42 – the second-highest value for any material. The only thing with a higher refractive index is moissanite, with 2.65. Stones with lower refractive indices allow more light to simply pass through the stone without being reflected back, which limits their ability to sparkle.
One of the reasons Moissanite sparkles more than other stones is because of its dispersion properties. Dispersion refers to a stone’s ability to separate the various colors that make up white light more significantly as that light travels through the stone. Moissanite’s dispersion rating is 0.104, whereas diamonds have a dispersion rating of just 0.044. Stones that separate the spectrum of colors further apart have potential to reflect more of that as dazzling flashes of colored light, or “fire.”
Moissanite is so sparkly that Moissanite owners often don’t realize when their ring has gotten dirty because their stone is still sparkling brightly through the buildup. After giving their ring a good cleaning, they’re often amazed at how much brighter it looks!
Which Moissanite Cut Sparkles the Most?
If you’re looking for a moissanite stone that will sparkle as much as possible, you’ll likely be happiest with a round brilliant cut. This is because the cut of the stone is designed to reflect maximum light back through the stone’s table and toward your eye, resulting in a steady and intense sparkle. Additionally, round brilliant-cut moissanite stones have 58 facets, which also helps to maximize the sparkle.
How Can Inclusions Impact Sparkle?
Inclusions in diamonds and Moissanite are tiny imperfections that can be found inside a stone. They are typically small crystals of other minerals that were present when the stone was formed. Inclusions can affect the way light travels through the stone, which in turn affects its sparkle.
The size, number, and location of inclusions can all impact sparkle. If an inclusion is large or located near the surface of the stone, it can cause light to leak out, resulting in a duller appearance. A stone with few or no inclusions will allow light to pass through more easily, resulting in greater sparkle.
Inclusions can also affect the clarity grade. The fewer and smaller the inclusions, the higher the clarity grade will be. However, even stones with many inclusions can still have good sparkle, depending on size and location.
Inclusions are more likely to interfere with sparkle for diamonds than Moissanite. The inclusions in moissanite are invisible to the naked eye, and typically don’t reduce the clarity of the stone because they’re so small. You would have to look at Moissanite under a 10x magnification microscope to see the tiny inclusions.
What is Moissanite Fire?
Moissanite has twice as much dispersion as diamonds. Dispersion refers to the way that light bends as it travels through a stone. As it enters Moissanite, light is bent, split into a spectrum of separate colors, and then reflected back through the stone’s table and toward the eye. Dispersion manifests itself as vibrant light flashes (also referred to as “fire”) that glimmer in a full spectrum of rainbow colors.
Moissanite’s refractive index is 2.65, meaning that it disperses light better than any other gemstone. This creates a stone that is unrivaled in its fire and brilliance.
Can People Typically Tell Moissanite From Diamond?
It’s difficult for friends, family, and coworkers to visually distinguish moissanite from diamond. A gemologist or industry professional may be able to distinguish the stones visibly, but even they often have to rely on specialized testing devices for identification.
Jewelers advise against trying to pass off moissanite as diamond. You should not think of moissanite as a cheaper alternative to diamond – that is what cubic zirconia is.
If you pretend your moissanite stone is a diamond, then you will always think of your engagement ring as a second-rate, cheaper alternative.
Instead, wear your moissanite with pride. Choose moissanite for what it is – a more sparkly, fiery, and sustainable stone that just so happens to look very similar to diamond.
What’s the Cost Difference Between Moissanite and Diamonds?
Moissanite offers major cost advantages. For well under $1,000, you can get a rather large Moissanite stone (the equivalent of 1 carat or larger). That’s much less than what a comparable diamond would cost.
A 1-carat diamond of “I” color and VS2 clarity would cost in the region of $4,000 – $5,000. A similar Moissanite stone would cost about $600. Man-made diamonds can often be 70% – 85% less expensive than mined diamonds. If you like the idea of getting a diamond, but you want to save as much as possible, a man made diamond might be the perfect solution!
You can shop beautiful Moissanite stones in a variety of shapes and sizes here to explore pricing further. After selecting a stone, you can then choose the settings that you’d like to pair it with. Pricing for lab grown diamonds (either loose stones or complete rings), Can be viewed here. Exploring pricing and options for earth-mined diamonds >can be done here.
What is Diamond Equivalent Weight?
It’s important to recognize that diamonds are measured in “carats” (a measurement of weight), but Moissanite isn’t. Moissanite weighs about 10% less than diamonds, so comparing both types of stones using the same unit of measure would work well.
Moissanite is instead measured in millimeters (MM). When shopping for moissanite, you may see references to the stone’s size in, millimeters and also the equivalent weight in carats, for a diamond of the same size. This equivalency is referred to as the “diamond equivalent weight” (or DEW).
The DEW is a measure of a stone’s size, that takes into account its width, depth, and other factors. It provides a more accurate representation of a diamond’s physical dimensions than carat weight alone.
MM (Millimeter) to Carats Conversion Chart
|Measure in mm. (Moissanite)
|Weight in Carats
|Measure in mm. (Moissanite)
|Weight in Carats
Moissanite vs Lab Grown Diamond
Lab Grown Diamonds are manufactured in a controlled setting, but they are still diamonds. They have the exact same appearance and durability as mined diamonds.
Moissanite isn’t quite as hard, and therefore doesn’t have as much scratch resistance as lab-grown diamonds. Being a slightly softer material does have upsides. While Moissanite has fantastic scratch resistance, it’s also less brittle than diamonds. The extreme hardness of diamonds makes them more susceptible to cracking, breaking, and chipping.
One of the major distinctions between moissanite and synthetic diamonds is the price. A 1-carat lab diamond is about six times the cost of moissanite. A 1.9-carat lab diamond is roughly four times the price of moissanite of the same size.
Both Lab Grown Diamonds and Moissanite offer significant savings over the cost of mined diamonds. Both are beautiful and durable enough, that you can take advantage of those savings without feeling like you’re actually sacrificing.
Is Moissanite OK for an Engagement Ring?
Many couples today are choosing moissanite engagement rings over diamond rings for a variety of reasons. Some couples feel that diamonds are too expensive, while others believe that moissanite is a more ethical choice since it is not mined. Whatever the reason, couples should not base their decision on what others might think of their engagement ring choice. While some uninformed people may look down on those who choose something other than a diamond ring, it’s ultimately your choice. After weighing the pros and cons, be at peace with your decision, and be proud of your beautiful ring!
Here are just a few reasons that Moissanite might be the right stone for your engagement ring:
- Moissanite is more affordable than diamonds.
- Moissanite is just as sparkly and beautiful as diamonds.
- Moissanite is very durable and will last a lifetime.
Saving on your stone can enable you to spend a little more on your setting, purchase a second ring, or enjoy an even better honeymoon!
Pros and Cons of Diamonds
Diamonds are remarkably hard, and that means that they have incredible scratch resistance. In fact, they’re the hardest natural material known to man! Their hardness and scratch resistance mean they’re a durable stone that can easily last through multiple generations.
On the other hand, diamonds are quite expensive and difficult to procure in a socially acceptable or environmentally sustainable way.
Pros and Cons of Moissanite
Moissanite is far more affordable than diamonds. It’s also extremely durable, ranking second only to diamonds on the hardness scale.
On the downside, moissanite can sometimes begin to gather a multi-colored haze that’s often referred to as an “oil slick.” It’s believed, that the buildup is often triggered by contact with the oils in things like lotions or contact with chemicals. The oil slick effect can be cleaned off the surface of the ring, but it takes some effort.
Finally, Moissanite can appear to change color temporarily in certain lighting conditions. This is simply a reflection of the lighting and environment. It’s not a major cause of concern for most moissanite owners (in fact many love it when their moissanite gets “moody,” changing its appearance slightly for a moment before returning to normal). It’s not the type of thing that most are concerned about, but you should certainly be aware.
Will Moissanite or Diamond Get Cloudy or Dull?
Although some might worry about moissanite getting cloudy, it actually doesn’t become permanently cloudy or turn yellow as it ages. In fact, moissanite is a highly scratch-resistant and sparkly stone that shouldn’t discolor or become dull over time.
It is not recommended to wear your ring on when you shower, wash your hands, swim, or soak in a hot tub. Chlorine can damage the metal of your ring and cause it to fade or discolor. Dissolved minerals in water can also leave layers of sediment on the surface of your stone that can begin to mute its sparkle over time. Any sentiment (hard water) can be washed away with a good cleaning.
How to Clean Diamond and Moissanite Rings
Cleaning can be simple and expensive. Fill a bowl with warm water and some mild dish soap. Let your ring soak for 20 minutes or so to begin loosening up any grime that might be on the surface of your ring. After soaking your ring, gently scrub it with a soft-bristled toothbrush (an infant toothbrush is a great choice if you have one available). Rinse the ring well and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth. Another good method for either type of ring is an ultrasonic cleaner. These machines can be purchased fairly inexpensively online. Users really love this machine. I’ve heard good things about the unit from jewelers as well. At less than $40, it could be a great option for regular maintenance cleanings.
Moissanite is more sparkly than diamond. You’ll need to decide if you like wearing a ring that is as eye-catching and lively as Moissanite, or if you’d prefer the white flash and contrasting scintillation of the diamond more. The two stones certainly appear very similar but their style of sparkle and their cost differential are two factors worth considering. Your personal preferences and budget will ultimately determine what works best for you. Either way, you’re sure to end up with a beautiful ring that’s durable enough to last a lifetime!