Bottom Line Recommendations:
- Moissanite and a lab-created diamond look very similar. It is even hard to tell the two apart. The great thing with choosing moissanite is that they are relatively cheap and can be up to 70% cheaper than a diamond.
- Both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite are a good option when you are concerned about the origins. They are guaranteed to be conflict-free as they are made in a lab.
- While lab-grown diamonds are hard, moissanite is the second hardest material known to man. This means that they are also highly durable.
- Moissanites have more fire, brilliance and more scintillation than a diamond. They can also be enhanced to be super clear and be whiter than a lab-created diamond. Their aesthetics has made them a popular choice even with diamond owners.
- When deciding between moissanite or lab-grown diamond, the best choice for you will depend on your personal preference. Some people will prefer lab-grown diamonds because they understand that they are not diamond imitations but are real diamonds while also wanting to remain secure in the fact that they are conflict-free. Other people will choose moissanite because of its aesthetic value.
- When searching for the perfect place to buy a diamond, we recommend James Allen and Whiteflash. They offer the best deals and buyers also have access to 360-degree videos of the diamonds helping you make the best evaluation.
Lab-created diamonds and moissanite look very much alike and in fact, it is quite hard to tell them apart. But which of the two should you go for?
If you are on a budget and you still want something with amazing brilliance and sparkle, then moissanite is your best bet. It is highly affordable compared to a lab diamond and even while it is not as hard, it can still stand up to the rigors of everyday life.
Lab-grown diamonds are harder than moissanite which means they are even more durable. They cost a lot more and are a better choice for someone who is not constrained by the budget.
If you are wondering which to choose between a moissanite and a lab-grown diamond, it is important to first take the time and understand the properties of each of these stones.
Many people might consider lab-grown diamonds are fakes. The truth is that for something to be fake, it needs to be an imitation of the original and made from a different material.
Lab-grown diamonds are made from carbon atoms just as earth mined diamonds. They are just as hard and score a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. While there are some slight differences in their chemical makeup, they are essentially the same.
The beauty of lab-grown diamonds is identical to that of natural earth mined diamonds.
Moissanite vs lab-grown diamonds – origins
Both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite are grown in a lab. This makes them guaranteed to be conflict-free. Compare this to natural diamonds where some of them may be obtained from regions that use the proceeds to fund wars and conflict and are mined through slave labor.
Companies have been using diamonds for industrial processes for a long time. In the early days, it meant buying diamonds for use. To be able to create their diamonds meant significant savings on costs. This is something that companies like GE were able to do. However, it wasn’t until much recently that gem-quality diamonds entered the jewelry market.
What’s more, is that lab-grown diamonds are hard to tell from natural diamonds. Grading labs such as the GIA have to use highly sophisticated equipment to be able to distinguish them. The market for lab-grown diamonds continues to rise owing mainly to the following reasons:
First is that the prices of lab-grown diamonds are more than 50% that of earth-mined diamonds. They are also guaranteed to be conflict-free. Even the fancy colored lab-grown diamonds are much cheaper than natural fancy colored diamonds and let’s not forget that the naked eye can’t tell the difference between below ground and above-ground diamonds.
Moissanite is also a lab-created version of natural stone. Back in the 1870s, a French scientist was investigating a meteor crash at Arizona and found crystals which he thought at the time were diamonds. After careful examination, he discovered that they were a completely different type of stone.
Moissanite is a stone from outer space and can only be found in tiny crystals at crash sites around the world. However, they are extremely rare to use natural moissanite for jewelry would be highly expensive and unobtainable.
Many people love moissanite because of several reasons. First is that it is cheap and costs up to 90% less than a diamond.
It is also extremely hard to tell moissanite apart from a lab-grown diamond. Even while not being as hard as a lab-grown diamond, moissanite is still very durable and is guaranteed to be conflict-free.
Some people also prefer moissanite as it is different from what many people are wearing. Some of the buyers of moissanite already own diamonds but like the difference and uniqueness of moissanite.
How lab-grown diamonds are made
Natural diamonds can take millions or even billions of years to form. However, with lab-grown diamonds, it can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
There are two main processes used to make lab-grown diamonds, the High-Pressure High-temperature method, and the Carbon Vapor Disposition method. Both methods require carbon gas to be pumped into a chamber where the carbon atoms attached to the diamond seed one layer at a time until the diamond rough forms.
Let’s take a look at the carbon vapor disposition method.
To understand the carbon vapor disposition method, diamond seeds which can number between 15 and 30 are placed inside a growth chamber. The diamond seeds are simply small pieces of diamonds.
The next step is to create a plasma ball of gas that is superheated inside the chamber. The heat is brought up to between 900 and 1200 degrees Celsius.
The gases used are methane and nitrogen. The bonds holding the molecules disintegrate causing the carbon molecules to stick to the diamond seeds. The diamond starts to form as a carbon atom attaches to the seed. This growth process takes between 3 and 4 weeks.
As the diamond is forming, lab technicians will keep an eye on the growth process and take out the diamonds at the right time. This helps to maximize its characteristics.
Diamonds that are grown using the carbon vapor disposition method come out with a cubic shape. They will then be sent to expert diamond cutters to be cut and polished to their final diamond shape.
How lab grown moissanite is made
Lab-grown moissanite takes much longer to form than lab-grown diamonds. This is because creating silicon carbide crystals is a complicated process.
When Henry Moissan first discovered the gem, he spent the Majorite of his life trying to create it. It wasn’t until 1988 when the company Charles and Colvard were able to successfully recreate the silicon carbide crystals and introduce them into the jewelry industry.
For moissanite to be produced, it all starts with silicon carbide crystals. The next process becomes cutting down the crystals into smaller sizes called preforms.
The preforms will them be shipped to vendors who perform high volume faceting and polishing. The aim is to provide as much fire and brilliance to the preforms.
The preforms are cut using a tool called a dop. This helps in the grinding process.
On the other hand, the moissanite jewels will be shaped using a faceting machine. It looks like an old record player with a rotating part made from aluminum or steel. This part is also diamonds that perform the grinding process. After all, diamonds are much harder than moissanite.
During the entire process, the gemstones will be rotated to give it an even form.
Moissanite vs Lab made diamonds – durability
When buying your engagement ring, you want to make sure that the stone is durable and will stand the test of time. After all, it is supposed to signify your love for each other and since it will be worn every day, it may be subjected to some tough conditions.
The great thing is that moissanite and lab-grown diamonds are both hard stones and are scratch-resistant.
The hardness of a stone and its scratch resistance is measured using the Mohs Scale of hardness. The scale ranges from 1 to 10. The lower the number, the softer the material. This also means that a stone with a grade of 6 will be able to scratch a stone with a grade of 4.
Note however that the Mohs scale will not tell you just how much harder one stone is over another. This is to say that a stone with a grade of 8 is not twice as hard as a stone with a grade of 4. It could be 4 times as hard or more.
The moissanite has a grade of 9.25 on the Mohs scale. It is the hardest gem known to man and the only stone that is harder is a diamond which has a grade of 10. This also means that a diamond can scratch moissanite but moissanite cannot scratch a diamond.
Both the moissanite and the lab-created diamond are durable stones that will last you a lifetime. One of these is a lot cheaper which can cause you to wonder whether paying extra for the diamond is worth it. However, it is important to note that other factors need to be considered and not just hardness.
Moissanite vs Lab grown diamonds – properties
Lab-grown diamonds are created using methods that mimics the natural processes found in the earth’s crust. This also makes them prone to getting a yellow hue as well as having inclusions. However, lab-grown diamonds can also come out completely colorless.
Moissanite can also come out colorless or with a yellow hue. It gives off more colorful flashes as a result of light entering the table as well as the sides being dispersed into the seven colors of the spectrum. And it disperses light much more than a diamond does.
Simply put, the dispersion in moissanite is at 1.04 while that in a diamond is at 0.044.
The reflective index which causes the brilliance of moissanite is at 2.65 while that in a diamond is at 2.42.
Moissanite also has more luster at 20.40% while in a diamond has 17.20%
The hardness in moissanite is at 9.25 while that in a diamond is at 10 on the Mohs scale.