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Diamond vs Moissanite: A Simple Comparison

June 2, 2017, Author: The Posh Packer

In 1893, Henri Moissan, a French scientist, studied the microscopic particles naturally occurring in a gem. The gem came from the crater of a meteorite that fell in Arizona. The crystals looked like diamonds, and that is what Moissan thought at first.

Later, however, he found out that the crystals were of silicon carbide. But you may discover several differences when comparing diamond vs moissanite. Moissan won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He had found the gem later named after him, the moissanite.

The moissanite we see today is not the same moissanite from meteorites, however, as that is a rare find. Many manufacture moissanite today in laboratories. It took years to synthesize and produce the gemstone in a laboratory setting, but now moissanite is one of the most popular gemstones for jewelry.

How Does It Compare with a Diamond?

To the untrained eye, a moissanite gemstone may appear exactly like a diamond. Here are some of the most important differences between the two:

  • Durability. The basis for a gem’s durability is the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This measures the gem’s capacity to resist surface scratching. Diamonds are the hardest mineral known to man. They score a 10. Moissanite comes close with a 9.25.
  • Brilliance. Moissanite and diamond do not have the same kind of brilliance, which is how experts easily tell them apart. Moissanite has rainbow flashes of brilliance. Diamonds have three ways of reflecting light: brilliance, which is light reflected back; dispersion, the refracted rainbow colors; and scintillation, which is the sparkle on the surface.
  • Color. Moissanite that looks colorless may change under certain lighting. It may project a grayish or yellow tinge. Diamonds maintain that white sparkle without any other traces of different hues.

Moissanite is typically more affordable (though not cheap) compared to a diamond of the same size. This makes moissanite one of the most popular alternatives to diamonds, particularly when choosing an engagement ring.