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Moissanite vs Lab Diamond Engagement Rings

by Clean Origin
Last updated on November 17, 2022
Diamond Solitaire Rings

If you’re searching for a mined diamond alternative, you’ve likely heard of both lab grown diamonds and moissanite. However, when you think about “moissanite vs lab diamond,” the first question that comes to mind is likely: What’s the difference between the two?

Both lab diamonds and moissanite are great options if you compare them to a mined stone. But you should still understand the differences and similarities between them. This way, you can make an informed decision about which gemstone is right for the ring you choose.

Read on for a closer look at moissanite vs lab grown diamonds.

Are Lab Created Diamonds and Moissanite the Same?

No. One of the biggest differences between the two is that lab diamonds (like mined diamonds) are pure carbon. Moissanite is something altogether different.  

Moissanite vs Lab Diamond: How Does Moissanite Differ?

Silicon Carbide Mineral

What Is Moissanite Made Of?

Unlike lab grown diamonds, moissanite is 100% silicon carbide. It is a common diamond alternative used in jewelry thanks to its high shine, durability, and lower price tag. And the history behind this mineral is fascinating.

The History of Moissanite

In 1893, French scientist Henri Moissan discovered moissanite while examining samples of rock from a meteor crater. At first, he believed the crystals in the rock were diamonds. Considering the similar hardness level of moissanite and diamonds, this observation wasn’t far off.

However, in 1904, Moissan realized the crystals were in fact made of silicon carbide–not carbon. Later in his career, Moissan won a Nobel Peace Prize for “his work in isolating fluorine from its compounds.” The mineral version of silicon carbide was eventually named after him.

How Is Moissanite Made Today?

Unfortunately, silicon carbide is very rare. In fact, moissanite is so rare that it’s only available in a few select environments.

These environments include meteors, the Green River Formation in Wyoming, and sometimes as inclusions inside diamonds.

Since naturally occurring silicon carbide is rare, all products made from it today are formed using a lab created synthetic version.

Benefits of Moissanite vs Lab Diamond Engagement Rings

Although moissanite gemstones are not diamonds, they do have their own benefits. These benefits make them the diamond alternative of choice for many people.

Affordability

In general, moissanite’s price depends on its size. But its price also depends on whether it is Premium or Super Premium (the latter appearing more colorless, rather than yellow). For reference, an average round 8mm (about the size of 2 carats) moissanite costs under $2,000.

For cost-conscious couples, moissanite is a good choice for a forever ring. Moissanite can even serve as a temporary stone in an engagement ring.

Durability

Moissanite has a high rating on the Mohs scale of hardness.

At just 0.75 below a diamond in hardness, this gemstone is quite durable. It’s a nice option for someone who does a lot of work with their hands. It is also a good option for someone who doesn’t remove their ring for activities like working out.

However, moissanite is not quite at the same level as diamonds.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Clean Origin Princess Lab Created Diamond, Moissanite vs Lab Diamond.

lab grown diamond is a mined diamond alternative; it is produced in a lab using cutting-edge technology. But from a chemical, physical, and optical standpoint, a lab created diamond is the same as a natural diamond.

These are real diamonds with the same range of cut, clarity, color, and carat weight you’d find among mined diamonds. In fact, the only difference between them is how they formed.

What Is a Lab Grown Diamond Made Of?

A lab grown diamond is pure carbon, just like a mined diamond.

The History of Lab Diamonds

In 1954, GE created the first lab diamonds using a method called High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT).

HPHT mimics the way natural diamonds form. Deep in the earth and under extreme heat and pressure, carbon melts and bonds together. The carbon then crystalizes and forms a diamond.

How Do We Make Lab Diamonds Today?

The first diamonds GE produced were too small to use as gemstones. But it was still a breakthrough accomplishment.

That achievement led to the more efficient method of creating diamonds in a lab that is now the standard: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

CVD starts with a very thin diamond seed. Then, using high temperatures, carbon-rich gas is heated until it turns into plasma. The plasma attaches to the diamond seed in “layers” until it produces a diamond.

Benefits of a Lab Diamond vs Moissanite

Lab Grown Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings, moissanite vs lab diamond.
Lab Grown Diamond Rings

Other than their origin, lab grown diamonds have a few more positive distinctions from mined diamonds:

Responsibly Sourced

To start, lab diamonds are the only way to ensure a 100% ethically sourced diamond.

Even with the rules put in place to help deter the negative practices of the mining industry, there is still no way to be sure your mined diamond was sourced as advertised.

Environmentally-Friendly

Lab grown diamonds are also a great step in the “green” direction.

On one hand, when compared to mined diamonds, lab grown stones are the more environmentally friendly option. For reference, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan, 1 carat of mined diamonds creates nearly 100 square feet of disturbed land. It also creates almost 6000 pounds of mineral waste.

On the other hand, lab grown diamonds result in just 0.07 square feet of disturbed land and only 1 pound of mineral waste for the same carat size.

Affordable

Finally, man-made diamonds are 20-40% less expensive than mined diamonds. For couples who want a more affordable diamond option, this is the best choice.

Moissanite vs Lab Diamond: Let’s Compare the Differences

Lab Diamond Wedding Sets, moissanite vs lab diamond.
Lab Diamond Wedding Sets

Although they make look the same at first glance, there are distinct differences between moissanite and a lab diamond. Let’s take a look at a few:

Dispersion: Moissanite Sparkles More Brilliantly

One of the biggest differences between moissanite and lab diamonds is how much they sparkle.

Sparkle is the result of “dispersion,” and dispersion occurs when white light enters a gemstone. When white light enters, all the colors it contains travel through the stone at different speeds. The colors then exit the stone at different times causing rainbow colored flashes–or what we call sparkle.

When compared side-by-side, moissanite has a 0.104 dispersion; a diamond’s dispersion (both lab and mined diamond) is 0.044. Therefore, moissanite sparkles more brilliantly than diamonds.

Refractive Index: How Moissanite and Diamonds Bend Light

The refractive index of a gemstone refers to how it breaks up and bends the light that passes through it. Moissanite has a higher refractive index than a lab grown diamond. In fact, moissanite is doubly refractive. This means its facets are going to appear doubled–kind of blurry, like you can’t focus your eyes.

Compared to moissanite, lab grown diamonds are singly refractive. If someone comes to you with what they claim is a “doubly refractive diamond,” you can be sure it’s not a diamond.

Moissanite vs Lab Diamond Color Range

For the most part, moissanite is naturally colorless or near-colorless. However, it also comes in slight gray to yellowish green shades. Thanks to advances in technology (HTHP and CVD), fancy-colored moissanite is available in a rainbow of colors.

Lab diamonds occur in almost any color you can imagine. Like moissanite, they can be colorless and near-colorless. But they can also be red, pink, blue, black, yellow, brown, and much more!

Mohs Scale Ratings: Moissanite vs Lab Diamond

A diamond is one of the hardest naturally-occurring substances on earth. On the Mohs hardness scale of 1-10 (1 being the softest, 10 being the hardest), diamond scores a 10.

Moissanite, on the other hand, is softer. But not by much. It scores a 9.25 on the Mohs scale.

Price

A lab grown diamond is about 20-40% less expensive than a mined diamond. And moissanite costs much less than diamonds–even lab diamonds.

Moissanite vs Lab Diamond Engagement Rings: Which Is Best for You?

Round Solitaire With Stacked Diamond Wedding Bands
Solitaire Ring With Stacked Bands

Choose a Moissanite Engagement Ring if You:

  • Want a non-traditional diamond for your center stone.
  • Prefer something with a bit more sparkle.
  • Work with your hands and need a durable stone for your engagement ring.
  • Want to pay less but still want a beautiful stone.

Choose a Lab Diamond Engagement Ring if You:

  • Want the most durable stone possible for your engagement ring.
  • Want a diamond but prefer an ethical option to a mined diamond.
  • Like the idea of owning a diamond.

Clean Origin Can Help You Find the Perfect Lab Diamond

No matter how you look at a moissanite vs lab diamond, you should always choose the best possible gemstone for you, your preferences, and your budget.

We don’t offer moissanite jewelry, but we do have many beautiful lab created diamonds for you to consider. Our conflict free diamonds come with a 100 day return policy. We also offer free, secure shipping with every purchase.

Want to purchase a diamond engagement ring for your partner but don’t know their size? We offer free ring resizing–that way, all you have to do is focus on finding the perfect ring.