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.
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
|Price||$300-500 (per carat)||$3,000-10,000 (per carat)|
|Brilliance (Reflective Index)||2.65||2.42|
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)||Color||Clarity||Cost||% Savings |
(over mined diamond)
|Lab Grown Diamond||0.3||F||VS1||$482||-||Excellent|
|Lab Grown Diamond||0.5||F||VS2||$950||31.65%||Ideal|
|Earth Grown Diamond||0.5||F||VS2||$1,390||-||Excellent|
|Lab Grown Diamond||0.75||E||VS2||$1,560||49.84%||Very Good|
|Earth Grown Diamond||0.75||F||VS2||$3,110||-||Excellent|
|Lab Grown Diamond||1.0||F||VS2||$2,850||50.86%||-|
|Earth Grown Diamond||1.0||F||VS2||$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?!