Moissanite has been debated to the moon and back, and still there is so much more we can still discuss about this gemstone. Most of the time the discussion is about whether it’s a good diamond simulant, and all the worries that stem from that. today we’re discussing just how fake or realistic moissanite can look. We’ll also talk about how to keep your moissanite from looking gaudy or too much like costume jewelry, and whether it’s a good idea for engagement rings or not.
Does moissanite look fake ?
Moissanite does not look fake, unless it’s a large stone and you try to pass it off as a diamond. In which case it will look gaudy and everyone will know it’s not a diamond. But a small moissanite (like 1 carat) will look just as realistic as a diamond, since they have similar properties when it comes to light performance. They are different, but still similar enough to be easily confused.
So in short your moissanite will only look fake if you’re going for something too over-the-top or expensive looking, compared to your usual lifestyle. Are you the type of person who can afford a 4 carat pristine diamond without too much issue ? No ? Then a large moissanite will scream ‘fake’.
Are you wearing a smaller moissanite, like a 0.7ct solitaire ? A 1.20ct halo ring ? Totally believable, and you might not even get too many questions, just compliments. To understand why moissanite is such a sensitive topic and why size matters here, we need to establish what moissanite actually is.
What is moissanite ?
Moissanite is a lab-grown gemstone, the artificial version of natural moissanite. Natural moissanite is extraordinarily rare, rarer than diamonds, and the lab version is the only one on the market. Moissanite is actually silicone carbide, while diamonds are pure carbon. SO while they are related (vaguely), they are still very different things.
Moissanite is a gemstone in its own right. But, due to its optical properties it’s used as a diamond simulant quite often, and has been used this way for several decades now. Enough to have people immediately equate moissanite=cheap, fake, without stopping to think if the label is true or not.
Read also: Diamond VS Moissanite
There are many things that make moissanite a really good option, compared to diamonds, and most of them have to do with availability and eventually value for money spent. Moissanites are a fraction of the cost of diamonds, about 10% or less, depending on where you buy your moissanite from and its cut quality.
Will anyone know it’s moissanite and not diamond ?
Assuming you’re not wearing a very large moissanite, no one will immediately notice it’s a moissanite and not a diamond. Moissanite will look all-white in cloudy weather, just like diamond. It will also sparkle like mad in direct sunlight and mall lighting, just like a diamond. It can get a bit cloudy but can be easily cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush, just like a diamond.
For someone to immediately notice you’re wearing moissanite, they need some really sharp eyes. They’d have to look closely at your moissanite in direct sunlight to see that it’s throwing more fire (rainbow light) than brilliance (white light).
Then they’d need to take a good, hard look at the gem’s body color. Most people with a diamond have a near colorless diamond, which will look a bit warm compared to most moissanites. This is because moissanite can easily be made top-notch (so D-F colors are common), while true colorless diamonds are very, very expensive. Even then, whoever’s looking at your moissanite has to compare it directly to a diamond. So, not subtle.
So don’t worry about anyone knowing what you’re wearing. They won’t, unless you tell them. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your moissanite, you can either upgrade in the following years, or learn to love it in time.
Let’s discuss the key differences between diamonds and moissanites, and how they play into moissanites sometimes looking fake. Maybe reading through these will help ease your worries.
Moissanite has more fire than brilliance
We all love a diamond, some for its sparkle, some for its clarity, some for the mirror within the mirror, some for the rarity aspect, and some just love it just because. One thing we can all agree on is that diamonds have the most balanced sparkle of all the gemstones out there. A diamond’s scintillation is the interplay of brilliance (white light) and fire (rainbow light). In a diamond, these two are quite well balanced and there isn’t too much of either.
In a moissanite, there is more fire than brilliance. Some love this, some don’t, but when you compare a moissanite and diamond of similar specs (color grade, clarity, size, cut style, cut quality) you notice more of a rainbow sparkle in the moissanite. This can be a tip-off for someone with a keen eye for detail.
Keep moissanite under 2 carats to look realistic
You’d think that a very affordable gemstone like moissanite warrants a large carat size, right ? Well, not exactly. There’s something to be said about diamonds and how classy they are, but in small amounts.
A large moissanite will look gaudy because a large diamond is too expensive for most people. And if you’re like most people, you likely can’t easily afford a 3.7 ct diamond without some serious financial help from parents, or possibly a bank loan.
So even if you can easily afford a 3.7ct moissanite, it’s best not to wear one if you don’t want people to immediately assume your ring is fake. Perhaps you just like moissanite and want to wear it for the way it sparkle, not because you’re pretending you have a diamond. But people will assume you’re pretending to have a diamond, and doing a poor job of it to boot.
Best to keep your moissanite on the smaller, more believable side.
Moissanite works better in brilliant cuts
Due to the way a moissanite bends light, it will work better with brilliant cuts than step cuts. The difference is small, but step cuts rely heavily on a diamond’s refraction index to provide the perfect, crisp lines needed for that stairwell effect.
A moissanite in a brilliant cut will dazzle you with all the sparkle, all the rainbow, and some white light. It will be mesmerizing and easy to fall in love with. Sure it may look a bit fuzzy or like there’s a bit much going on inside the gem, but it will still look good.
Get the same stone in a step cut, say an emerald cut, and you’ve got yourself a possible fail. Moissanite has a slight image doubling, which looks worse in a step cut than it does in a brilliant cut, because step cuts have very few facets and they need to look clean, clear, crisp, perfect. No blurry edges. So a step cut moissanite may have facets that look like they’re overlapping. This effect is less noticeable in brilliant cuts.
Is moissanite a good option for engagement rings ?
Yes, moissanite is a great option for engagement rings. This gem is affordable, very durable, easy to replace if needed, and comes in very high quality grades (for color and clarity). Cut quality may be an issue, but this can be circumvented by getting your moissanite from a reputable vendor, or inspecting the stone in person. This is something you should do even if you buy diamonds instead of moissanite.
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.