Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Moissanite: A Closer Look

Are you getting ready to pop the question to someone special? Or, are you looking for a spectacular gift that’s sure to make any occasion unforgettable?

While a gorgeous diamond ring is an obvious choice, it’s not your only one. 

Today, many kinds of gemstones mimic the look and feel of a natural diamond at a fraction of the cost. This means they’re just as brilliant and radiant, but they won’t burn a hole in your pocket. This includes lab grown diamonds and moissanite. 

While these two stones look very similar, they aren’t the same. Today, we’re sharing the key differences between a lab grown diamond and moissanite, along with the key features of each, to help you make an informed buying decision. 

What Is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a natural mineral made of silicon carbide. It gets its name from the person who first discovered it, Nobel-Prize-winning chemist Henri Moissan. In 1893, Moissan was analyzing a meteorite from Arizona’s Canyon Diablo when he first discovered these brilliant crystals.

At first, he assumed they were a collection of diamonds. He continued with this belief until 1904, when he eventually realized that what he was looking at wasn’t a natural diamond, but something very similar — a crystalized form of silicon carbide. From that point onward, moissanite has been casually referred to as the gemstone from the stars!

It would be more than 50 years before someone discovered moissanite apart from meteorites.

Then, geologists began making more discoveries. In 1958, one group of Americans found these gems in a thick layer of rock near Wyoming. In 1959, another group from Russia identified moissanite as rock inclusions.

While it exists in nature, it’s very rare and only available in small portions. In fact, even the largest piece of natural moissanite isn’t substantial enough to create even a one-carat gemstone. Therefore, to produce sizeable gems big enough for their pieces, jewelry manufacturers must re-create moissanite in a laboratory setting.  

Does this mean that moissanite and lab diamonds are the exact same? Not quite. Let’s take a look at some key differences. 

Moissanite vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds: Main Distinctions

There are several features that can help you recognize moissanite from a lab diamond. Let’s take a look.


First, let’s talk about that signature sparkle.

The telltale glean is why many people choose lab diamond engagement rings when it’s time to take that big step. While both moissanite and lab diamonds will give off an impressive glimmer, you’ll actually get a little more shimmer with moissanite. 

This is because, in addition to containing more than two times the amount of fire (spectral color display), moissanite also possesses slightly more brilliance than a lab-grown diamond. Plus, because this gem is double refractive, manufacturers use a special design when cutting it, which helps to enhance the sparkle. 

That high amount of fire is what gives moissanite its rainbow effect when the light hits it just right. Conversely, diamonds give off more of a white sheen. The rainbow effect is especially pronounced in gems over one carat.

For numerical comparison, the refractive index of moissanite is 2.64 to 2.69, while lab diamonds have a refractive index of 2.417 to 2.419.

Strength and Durability

When you invest in a moissanite or lab grown diamond in Toronto, you naturally want that jewelry to last as long as possible. This is why shoppers should also consider durability when making their selections.

Most people already know that diamonds are prized for their unique strength and ruggedness. Have you ever heard someone explain that a diamond is the only thing that can truly scratch a diamond? 

As the hardest naturally occurring substances found on Earth, diamonds can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. The scale used to rank the hardness of gemstones is called the Mohs hardness scale, and diamonds come in at an impressive 10 — the highest ranking available. 

While it doesn’t quite rank at a 10, moissanite doesn’t fall too far behind. On the Mohs hardness scale, this gem comes in at around 9.25 to 9.5, which makes it a very close second. As long as you don’t plan to do anything extreme with your diamond on, like go rock climbing on a boulder, it should be perfectly suitable for everyday wear!


When speaking of gemstones, color refers to the presence or absence of color visible within the stone. Most people who prefer an absolutely colorless gemstone may choose a lab diamond ring over a moissanite ring. That’s because the aforementioned fire that moissanite possesses naturally tends to give it a yellowish or greenish tint.

However, laboratories are making strides in this department. Today, you can find some moissanite that’s colorless or nearly colorless, helping it look even more like a lab-grown diamond than before. Of course, people who prefer a little colorful personality with their jewelry will be pleased to know that moissanite is still available in the fun and funky colors they love!

You can find moissanite jewelry in various, eye-catching shades including gray, green, teal, black, and yellow! Similarly, lab-grown diamonds are also available in a variety of vivid colors. These are easier to find than naturally colored diamonds, which tend to be very rare and expensive.

Diamond colors are ranked on a scale that starts at D (colorless). From there, the gems gradually increase in yellowish tint all the way to Z. While you can find thoroughly colorless lab diamonds, these are also pricey and hard to find.

You’ll pay more for a gem that’s devoid of any color whatsoever, though they do occur. To the naked eye, slight differences in color from one grade to another aren’t highly visible. If you want to be certain of your diamond’s color grade, you can request a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). 

Price Point

According to one survey, nearly 40% of people say that buying an engagement ring is the biggest purchase in their lives, apart from purchasing a home or vehicle. If you’re on the hunt for a moissanite or lab grown diamond in Canada, you want to make sure you’re making a smart investment. 

Price point is one of the top reasons why people prefer moissanite engagement rings! While these look very similar to lab diamond engagement rings, they only come with a fraction of the sticker shock. Comparatively, you can expect to spend around one-tenth of the amount of money on a moissanite ring that you’d pay for a mined diamond of the same size, scale, and quality. 

Naturally, larger-carat moissanite stones will cost more. However, you can get a much more sizeable ring for your money if you go this route. If you’re looking for the closest match to a lab created diamond, opt for a white or colorless moissanite. The factors that will affect your bottom-line price include:

  • Gem size
  • Gem shape
  • Gem color 

If you have your heart set on a diamond, lab-grown varieties will be less expensive than natural ones. Both lab and natural varieties are priced based on their shapes, as well as the four “Cs” which include:

  • Cut
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Carat

Whether you’re buying jewelry for yourself or a special someone, it helps to stick to a buying budget you can afford!

Sourcing Technique

It’s important to know where your gemstones come from. Moissanite jewelry is created in a lab, where the gems are grown in controlled environments supervised by geological professionals. When they’re fully formed, experts will cut them, polish them, and prepare them for settings. 

The same process occurs for lab diamonds. These gems are also professionally grown in controlled laboratories, and then cut and polished once they’re grown. The only outliers would be natural diamonds, which form deep in the middle of the Earth before they’re mined, cut, and polished. 

Comparing These Gems by Sight

Without all of these qualifiers in front of you, how can you tell a moissanite from a diamond? Unless you’re a trained expert, this step can be fairly difficult! As we’ve covered, these gems have very similar characteristics.

The best way to compare them is to line them up side-by-side. The moissanite should create bolder flashes of rainbow-colored light than the diamond. This creates a disco ball effect, which is most noticeable in larger-carat stones. 

Apart from this visual test, you can also take your stone to a professional jeweler. These experts will know the technical features to look for to determine if you’re stone is a diamond or moissanite. 

Shop Our Collection of Moissanite and Lab Grown Diamonds

As you can see, there’s no clear winner in the debate of moissanite vs diamond. These are both stunning, head-turning gemstones that you’ll love to wear for the rest of your life. That said, there are some details that set one gem apart from the other. 

Moissanite tends to be more brilliant and colorful, while lab grown diamonds are slightly more durable and colorless. If price is your main concern, then moissanite will typically come out on top. 

At Jacob Mercari, we offer beautiful collections of diamond engagement rings and wedding bands. We can customize your piece of jewelry to match your exact specifications. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or send us a message!

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