What is Moissanite? And Is it Better Than Diamond?

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You may have heard that moissanite is the better diamond alternative. It combines beauty and brilliance without breaking the bank… or so we’ve heard. Its unique properties make it mysterious and captivating – after all, it comes from space! But does it really live up to its name? In this post, we’ll explore what is moissanite and is it really better than diamond?

Note: In this post, we’ll compare moissanite to both lab created diamonds and mined diamonds

FeaturesMoissaniteLab Created DiamondEarth Diamond
OriginInitially discovered in a meteor crater. Made in a lab nowadaysMade in a labMined from within the Earth’s surface
CompositionSynthetic silicon carbideCarbonCarbon
Color2 Options: Premium (slight yellow tint) & Super Premium (colorless)Color-grade spectrum ranging from D (colorless) to Z (yellowish & brown tint)Color-grade spectrum ranging from D (colorless) to Z (yellowish & brown tint)
PriceThe most affordable option of the threeThe second most affordable option of the threeThe most expensive option of the three
Hardness9.25 on the Mohs scale10 on the Mohs scale10 on the Mohs scale
BrillianceMore brilliance than diamonds | 2.65 – 2.69 on the refractive indexLess brilliance than moissanite | 2.417 on the refractive indexLess brilliance than moissanite | 2.417 on the refractive index

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide…

Table of Contents
What is Moissanite?
Benefits of Moissanite
Color Comparison
Price Comparison
Hardness Comparison
Brilliance Comparison
Where to buy Moissanite
Bottom Line Recommendation
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is popularly known as a diamond stimulant – a material that closely resembles a diamond but is actually made of different materials.


The history of how moissanite came to be is actually quite interesting.

In 1893, a man named Henri Moissan was examining a meteor crater with remnants from space and the samples of rock in it.

Henri Moissan
Henri Moissan

He came across a crystalline structure which looked a lot like a diamond but he wasn’t too sure. This new discovery looked exactly like a diamond and was nearly as hard as a diamond… But it didn’t quite have the same material as a diamond. Diamonds are made of carbon whereas this shiny rock he discovered was actually made of silicon carbide.

So what could it have been?

Little did he know he discovered an entirely new form of diamonds!


Since moissanite stones were discovered from a meteor crater that came from outer space, this made natural moissanite extremely rare.

Because of its rarity, scientists and gemologists had to get creative. Nowadays they have been able to recreate synthetic versions of moissanite gems in a lab using the same silicon carbide structure.

In fact, almost all moissanite jewelry on the market today is made in a lab.

Now that we know what moissanite is and where it came from, let’s find out what makes it so great.

Benefits of Moissanite

Even though moissanite isn’t exactly a diamond, many people view them as a great diamond alternative with many benefits.

For couples on a budget, a moissanite ring is an excellent choice for an engagement ring. Unlike mined and lab created diamonds that are priced based on the 4 C’s, a moissanite stone is priced based only on its size and color.


And unlike a lab or natural diamond that has a color spectrum from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown), a moissanite diamond has only two options – Premium (slight yellow tint) and Super Premium (colorless).

This makes it ideal for a novice engagement ring shopper that might not have a strong understanding of how the color scale works for regular diamonds. With two simple color options for moissanite rings, you really can’t go wrong!


This also means an 8mm round moissanite diamond (comparable to a 2 carat regular diamond) would cost less than $2000 (we’ll dive more into this later in our Price Comparison section).

Now that we know the benefits of moissanite, let’s find out how it compares to natural diamonds and lab created diamonds in terms of color.

Color comparison

As mentioned before, a real diamond (lab created or natural) has a color grading system that ranges from D (colorless diamond) all the way down to Z (light yellow or brown tint). In fact, most retailers don’t go below M since no one ever really wants a Z-colored diamond anyways.


On the other hand, moissanite gems only have two options – Premium (slight yellow tint) or Super Premium (colorless).

So how does this moissanite diamond simulant compare to real diamonds?

When shopping for moissanite engagement rings, a Premium-colored moissanite gem is nearly colorless and resembles a G-H color grade on the 4 C’s scale.

On the flip side, a Super Premium moissanite is completely colorless and is comparable to D-F on the color grade scale.


This is a great feature for first-time shoppers that might not completely understand the 4 C’s and how the color grade of a diamond can affect price. For moissanite engagement rings, it’s as simple as picking between Premium or Super Premium colors.

Price Comparison

Unlike lab created and mined diamonds that are priced based on the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat), moissanite is priced based on size and color alone.


Since we’ve already covered how color works on moissanite in the previous section, we’ll briefly touch on how sizing works to better understand pricing for moissanite.

Quick Note on Sizing

The unit to measure size (or weight) of a regular diamond is carat. But moissanite uses millimetres (mm). These millimetres have a Diamond Equivalent Weight (DEW) assigned to them which helps people to convert the millimetres of moissanite to the carat weight of a regular diamond.

For example, a 6.50mm moissanite has a DEW of approximately 1.00 carat.

Note: We say “approximately” because it’s very hard to compare moissanite DEW to carat weight perfectly since diamonds and moissanite are very similar in sizing, but moissanite is marginally lighter than diamond.

Example: A 6.50mm diamond will have 1.00 carat weight. But a 6.50mm moissanite will have a 0.88 carat weight.

Chart courtesy: EcoMoissanite

You may have to refer to a moissanite sizing chart when shopping around but most vendors will have one anyways.

Now back to pricing…

Pricing Comparison

Since naturally occurring moissanite is no longer a thing, all moissanite is made of synthetic silicon carbide in a lab. That makes moissanite a lot closer to lab created diamonds as opposed to naturally mined diamonds in terms of pricing.


And since we also know that lab created diamonds are cheaper than earth diamonds, how does moissanite compare?

For the same size, moissanite is a lot more affordable compared to both lab created and earth diamonds.

Here are a few examples…

Brilliant Earth Moissanite

8mm Moissanite Four Prong Super Premium Colorless Round Solitaire from Brilliant Earth – $1,580

James Allen lab created diamond

And here’s an equivalent lab created 2.00 carat Solitaire Diamond Ring with colorless D-grade color and an SI1 clarity grade from James Allen – $3,935

James Allen earth diamond

And here’s an equivalent earth diamond with 2.00 carat Round Solitaire Diamond with an E-color grade and SI1 clarity grade from James Allen – $18,565

Related: The Truth Behind James Allen: Know This Before You Buy

As we can see in the examples above, moissanite is extremely affordable compared to mined diamonds. We even took it a step further for the last diamond and reduced the color grade from D down to E… and even then it was still very expensive.

All three engagement rings are very closely identical in appearance, yet all three rings have largely varying prices. This makes moissanite a very attractive option for couples on a budget.

And because moissanite is created in a lab, it is also better for the environment compared to earth diamonds – making it an appealing option for environmentally-conscious folks.

Hardness comparison

So we know moissanite is more affordable than lab created and earth diamonds, and we also know that moissanite tends to be ever so slightly lighter than diamonds for the same size. But how does it compare in terms of hardness?


Note: Hardness of diamonds and gemstones is measured by a unit called Mohs on a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the hardest

A diamond (both lab created and mined) sit at 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it the hardest known mineral.

On the other hand, moissanite sits at 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it extremely durable and ideal for everyday wear.

But still not as durable as a diamond.

Brilliance Comparison

In this section, we’ll compare moissanite vs diamond when it comes to their brilliance.

Brilliance refers to how well a diamond or gemstone reflects light — in other words, how much the diamond or gemstone sparkles.

diamond vs moissanite

Moissanite is very different in terms of brilliance compared to diamonds.

For starters, the pattern on the surface of a moissanite is much different than a diamond. As a result, you’ll see what some people call “rainbow flashes”. This unique appearance creates a disco ball effect in the sunlight.


Some love it, some don’t. It’s entirely up to your personal preference. But the visual effect will be a lot more noticeable in larger moissanites.

But will a moissanite engagement ring sparkle more than a diamond engagement ring?

The short answer is yes – moissanite sparkles more than a diamond.

The long answer? Brilliance (or sparkle) is measured using a refractive index. This measures how much light is bent in degrees as it passes through. A higher number on a refractive index means more bending of light which also means a more “firey” appearance.


Moissanites refractive index is typically between 2.65 – 2.69 which is higher than a diamonds’ at 2.417.

Simply put, moissanite has a greater brilliance than diamonds.

Where to buy Moissanite Engagement Rings

If you’re in the market for a moissanite ring, there are two main fine jewelry vendors that sell moissanite: Brilliant Earth and MoissaniteCo.

Although we’ve never personally purchased any moissanite from them, we’ve heard some positive reviews from a few of our readers over the years.

A bit of a deeper look shows us that both retailers offer an online shopping experience that caters to affordability and convenience.

Bottom line recommendation

Let’s recap what we know about moissanite so far:

  • It’s easier to choose between their two color options: Premium and Super Premium

  • Moissanite is a lot more affordable than lab created diamonds and even more affordable than earth diamonds

  • Moissanite is marginally lighter than a diamond of the same size

  • Moissanite is slightly less harder than a diamond

  • Light bends more through moissanite which makes it appear more brilliant

With all these points in mind, moissanite is not for everyone.


Moissanite is often seen as a more affordable alternative to diamond, so couples are choosing unique cuts and shapes to set their moissanite stones apart.

Especially as more folks become socially and environmentally responsible, moissanite will continue to explode in popularity as they’re created with minimal environmental impact.

So if environmental impact and ethical sourcing is a priority for you, moissanite is a great option.

In relation to appearance and quality, moissanite will always be a diamond simulant to most couples. But it’s definitely gaining ground as a genuine alternative to diamonds in recent years.

However for many couples, a naturally mined diamond is a 1-of-1 and the beauty behind that exclusivity is what gives many diamond rings their appeal.

In addition, many couples prefer to have more options for choosing the color grade on their diamond which gives them plenty of flexibility… as opposed to the two color options for moissanite.

Our final word of advice is that the world doesn’t need to be so black and white! Many couples are doing a blend of moissanite and natural diamonds on their rings. An engagement ring design with a Moissanite center stone and surrounding earth diamond accents are a great look if you want to find some middle ground.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is moissanite a precious stone?

No, moissanite is not a precious stone. It’s known as a diamond simulant instead – a gemstone/material that visually resembles closely to a diamond but is not a diamond. Moissanite is not a naturally occurring mineral anyways. Most (if not all) moissanite today is made in a lab.

Where does moissanite come from?

Originally, moissanite was found in a meteor crater by Henri Moissan in 1893. Since moissanite is not a naturally occurring mineral on earth, moissanite today is made in a lab with synthetic silicon carbide.

Can moissanite be GIA certified?

Yes, moissanite can be GIA certified. Originally, this wasn’t the case. The original GIA grading scale didn’t allow for moissanite to be graded by the same standards as a diamond. But nowadays, you’ll find many moissanites certified by the GIA

Does Moissanite lose its sparkle over time?

No, moissanite maintains its sparkle over time. It has a high refractive index which gives it a high degree of brilliance.

Can you tell a moissanite apart from a diamond?

With the naked eye, it’s very difficult to tell moissanite apart from a diamond. In many cases, you’ll need special tools (typically used by a professional jeweller) like a loupe to look for “double-refraction”, or a thermal conductivity test can be done to tell moissanite apart from a diamond.

Photo of author
John Anderson
With over two decades of wedding experience, John Anderson is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor at Life Line Wedding. He writes a variety of articles spanning over multiple areas of expertise including engagement rings, diamonds, wedding jewelry, and wedding planning. John's mission is to help soon-to-be-married couples make educated and well-informed decisions. He now spends his time writing articles to help couples on Lifelinewedding.com. John is based in Brooklyn, NY.