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.
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).
- The size of the stone. Oversized Moissanite is the fastest giveaway.
- The amount of fire that the ring has.
- 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
(F, VS2, Excellent)
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|
|Measure in mm. (Moissanite)||Weight in Carats|
|4 mm||0.25 ct||7.3 mm||1.50 ct|
|4.25 mm||0.28 ct||7.5 mm||1.67 ct|
|4.5 mm||0.36 ct||7.75 mm||1.75 ct|
|4.75 mm||0.44 ct||8 mm||2.00 ct|
|5.0 mm||0.50 ct||8.25 mm||2.11 ct|
|5.25 mm||0.56 ct||8.5 mm||2.43 ct|
|5.5 mm||0.66 ct||8.7 mm||2.50 ct|
|5.75 mm||0.75 ct||9 mm||2.75 ct|
|6 mm||0.84 ct||9.1 mm||3.00 ct|
|6.25 mm||0.93 ct||9.5 mm||3.35 ct|
|6.5 mm||1.00 ct||9.75 mm||3.61 ct|
|6.8 mm||1.25 ct||10 mm||3.87 ct|
|7 mm||1.30 ct||10.25 mm||4.16 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
|Refractive Index (brilliance)|
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.
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.
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