Moissanite and lab grown diamonds are the two favorites for those who would love a diamond but cannot get one, for various reasons. But which of these two is most like a diamond ? Is there really a difference between them, and is it noticeable ? Let’s discuss this in more detail because it’s a common topic in the bridal space and we all want to know the pros and cons of lab diamond vs moissanite.
Moissanite vs lab diamond
Lab diamonds are more expensive than moissanite, and also tougher. Moissanites have more fire then lab diamonds and they are a bit softer as gemstones but both can safely be worn in any setting or situation.
Both lab diamonds and moissanites are grown in a lab, so they are created gemstones. They can easily be found at most jewelers and retailers and come at far lower prices than natural diamonds.
What is moissanite ?
Moissanite is a lab-grown gemstone that is meant to be a replica of the real moissanite (silicone carbide). Real, genuine moissanite is rare, extremely rare, more than a clear diamond. But there is so much lab-grown moissanite that the price has dropped dramatically. You’ll usually see moissanite marketed as a diamond simulant, but this gemstone is a beauty in its own right.
Moissanites are typically clear and follow the same color grading system as diamonds, they have the same clarity levels, and come in any size and cut you like.
What are lab grown diamonds ?
Lab diamonds are just what they sound like, diamonds (carbon) that have been created in a lab, just like moissanite. But they are created in a matter of weeks, compared to natural diamonds which take thousands of years.
Lab diamonds are virtually the exact same thing as a natural diamond in terms of color, clarity, carat size and cut style. But they come at half the price, which makes them a great deal.
Now let’s take a closer look at the key differences between lab grown diamonds and moissanites, so you have a better idea of how different but similar they are.
Moissanite is much more affordable than lab grown diamonds
Perhaps the first thing you will notice about moissanites is that they are far cheaper than lab grown diamonds, even if both are created in a lab. This price difference stems from the premium of wearing diamonds.
That means that lab grown diamonds will always be more expensive than moissanite simply because diamonds are a premium item, and even lab-grown diamonds will be more expensive. Moissanites are now viewed as premium, so they will be cheaper. If you’re someone who doesn’t care about premium items but loves the look of something sparkly then moissanite is absolutely great, and budget-friendly.
The usual price difference between moissanite and lab grown diamonds is 80%, meaning moissanites are barely 20% pf the price of a lab grown diamond of the exact same grade. The final price depends on the seller so you can definitely find cheaper moissanite.
Don’t expect moissanite to be as cheap as cubic zirconia though. The usual price for a 6.5 mm moissanite is around $400, while a same size cubic zirconia is about $20.
Lab grown diamonds are actual diamonds, moissanites are not
This needs repeating but moissanites are not diamonds. They are marketed as diamond simulants, but are not diamonds and do not perform in the same way a diamond would. A lab grown diamond does perform exactly like a natural diamond does; with the same clarity, color, and cut style you won’t tell the difference between a natural and a lab grown one.
A moissanite will fool you as well unless you look very closely, but it’s a disservice to their own beauty. Moissanites are beautiful gemstones in their own way, and perhaps it’s time to talk about them as actual gems, not diamond simulants.
Moissanites have higher fire and image doubling, lab diamonds are regular
Let us explain those differences that will make telling a moissanite from a lab diamond easier (with a loupe). A lab grown diamond behaves just like a natural diamond would, same fire and brilliance, same clarity, same light performance, etc. Cut a lab grown diamond in the exact same way you did a natural diamond and it will look flawless.
But cut a moissanite in the same way as the other two, and you will notice a few differences when you look very closely. First there is the extra fire but no extra brilliance. A gemstone’s fire is its colored light return, that rainbow sparkle. Diamonds (natural and lab) have a good balance between rainbow (fire) and white light (brilliance). Moissanites have more fire than brilliance. So when you set a natural diamond, a lab diamond, and a moissanite next to each other you will notice the difference.
Second, moissanites have a slight refraction doubling, meaning the image is doubled when you look into the gem at some specific angles. Take a loupe and look at the cut moissanite in all angles you can. In some of them you will notice the facets appear like that have an extra edge, like there are two facets layered on top of each other but they’re misaligned. This can make the whole moissanite look a bit fuzzy or like it has extra facets.
Lab diamonds are tougher than moissanites
Lab grown diamonds are diamonds in the end, so they have the same Mohs hardness rating as natural diamonds: a perfect 10/10, the toughest gemstone out there. Moissanites are a little softer, scoring a 9.25 on that same scale but they’re still pretty tough on their own, don’t underestimate them.
Any gemstone over 7 on the Mohs scale is good for everyday wear, but those at 9 and above can safely and confidently be worn in any situation.
So in this regard both moissanite and lab grown diamonds are excellent as engagement ring stones, because they both can take a lot of hits. But if you want to play it extra safe then lab grown diamonds are the way to go.
Both moissanite and lab diamonds are lab grown gemstones
No matter the other differences between lab grown diamonds and moissanites, one thing remains the same: they are both lab created gemstones. And for some this can mean a world of a difference. If you or your loved one like the idea of something natural then no lab grated gem will be as good as the real thing.
And if you are okay with lab created gemstones then there isn’t much of a discussion as to whether moissanite or lab diamonds are better. Both are lab grown so might as well go with the best value one, namely moissanite.
That being said, both gems are easy to find, are carried by most jewelers, and some even specialize in lab diamonds or moissanites so be sure to check those. And always go see a few gems in person. Online is one thing, but seeing those lab diamonds and moissanites sparkle in person is another. Most of the time they will let you try them on, and seeing them on your finger will help you reach a decision much easier.
Can anyone tell the difference between lab diamond and moissanite ?
No one will be able to tell the difference between a lab grown diamond ring and a moissanite ring unless you tell them, or unless they are trained professionals and have a jeweler’s loupe with them. Your friends, colleagues, and family may look at the gem but won’t easily notice which is which.
So if you’re worried about someone noticing you’re not wearing natural diamonds, don’t be. Don’t be worried because some people can’t even tell the difference between CZ and a natural diamond, let alone something as similar as moissanite and lab diamonds.
And in the end, it’s only you who knows what you’re wearing.
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.