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What is Moissanite?

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a diamond simulant made of silicon carbide. A diamond simulant is a stone that has a similar appearance to a diamond, but is not a real diamond. It is very difficult to tell apart a diamond & moissanite, making moissanite a common diamond alternative. 

Pear shaped moissanite engagement ring


Moissanite was originally discovered in a meteor crater in 1893 by scientist Henri Moissan. He mistakenly believed the crystals he found were diamonds. Naturally occurring moissanite is extremely rare. Because of this, most of the moissanite on the market is lab grown. It can take 2-3 months to create a single moissanite stone in a lab.

Can you tell the difference between moissanite and diamond?

See if you can tell which engagement ring has a moissanite center stone and which engagement ring has a diamond center stone.

 cushion cut moissanite ring cushion cut diamond ring




The ring on the left is moissanite and the ring on the right is a diamond!

Most people cannot tell the difference between moissanite and diamonds. The GIA has even stated that moissanite is “much closer to diamond in overall appearance and heft than any previous diamond imitation.”

One way to tell apart moissanite from diamond is to examine the stone’s brilliance and fire. Moissanite has more fire and brilliance than diamond – it isn’t as noticeable in smaller stones, but in stones over 5mm, it’s much more noticeable. Moissanite is known for its “disco-ball” effect because rainbow light quickly flashes around the gem. However, looking at a stone’s fire and brilliance isn’t always a reliable way to differentiate the two because an expertly cut diamond will also have lots of fire and brilliance. 

Moissanite vs. Diamond

While moissanite has a very similar appearance to diamonds, they have many key differences. Moissanite weighs much less than diamonds – 15% lighter, to be exact. Because of this, moissanite is usually sold by length and width in millimeters rather than carat weight. A moissanite stone that is visually equivalent in size to a 1 carat diamond will not actually weigh 1 carat. Moissanite is also sold based on different standards than diamonds. Moissanite is sold based on size and color (colorless or near colorless) while diamonds are priced based on their 4 C’s as well as many other factors.

Diamonds are slightly harder than moissanite. Moissanite ranks 9.25 on the Mohs scale, while diamonds rank 10 on the Mohs scale. While diamonds are slightly harder, moissanite has more fire and brilliance. Moissanite has a refractive index of 2.65-2.69, while diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42. The refractive index is the stone’s ability to bend light. Moissanite’s fire is rated at 0.104, while the fire of a diamond is rated at 0.044.

Moissanite is much less expensive than diamonds. Moissanite can be about $400 to $600 per carat while a one carat diamond can be anywhere between $2,000 to $20,000.

So, which is better: moissanite or diamond?

It’s all about preference! Choose whichever stone feels right for you. Some people find the “disco-ball” effect that moissanite creates to be too much for them, while some people love the fire and price point of moissanite. Others love the romantic, classic appeal of diamonds and prefer the added assurance of hardness. 

If you prefer the price point of moissanite but still want a diamond, there are lots of “hacks” to make your diamond less expensive. Contact customer service at 1-888-9RITANI and we can help you find a beautiful diamond within your price range. Financing is also available.


Does moissanite test as a real diamond?
There are diamond testers that rely on thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. Because diamonds and moissanite conduct heat in a similar manner, it is possible for moissanite to read as a diamond on a diamond tester that relies on thermal conductivity. A diamond tester that tests stones on electrical conductivity shouldn’t confuse diamonds and moissanite because they conduct electricity differently.

Is moissanite a precious stone?
Moissanite is not a precious stone. The only precious stones are diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. There is no scientific reason why some stones are considered precious and others are semiprecious; it is just a categorization.

Does moissanite get cloudy?
Like diamonds, moissanite stones will not get cloudy over time.