If you're in the market for a sparkling new piece of jewelry, you've probably come across the term "moissanite" in your search. But what exactly is moissanite, and how does it compare to diamonds? In this post, we'll take a closer look at moissanite and explore the differences between it and diamonds in terms of price, durability, brilliance, and color.
Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral known as silicon carbide, but the moissanite used in jewelry is lab-created. Dr. Henri Moissan, a French chemist, discovered small amounts of the mineral in a meteor crater in Arizona in the late 1800s. He initially thought the crystals were diamonds, but later determined that they were made of silicon carbide.
The process of creating moissanite in a lab involves breaking down the mineral into tiny particles and then using heat and pressure to form it into large crystals. These crystals are then cut and polished into the beautiful, sparkly stones that are used in moissanite jewelry. This process has been improved over the years which made it possible to create high-quality, colorless moissanite that is virtually indistinguishable from diamond with the naked eye.
The price difference between moissanite and diamond can vary depending on the size and quality of the stone, but in general, moissanite is much less expensive than diamond. For example, a one-carat, round-cut moissanite can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, while a one-carat, a round-cut diamond can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $12,000 or more depending on the quality of the diamond.
The difference in price between moissanite and diamond is primarily due to the fact that moissanite is a lab-created material, whereas diamonds are mined from the earth. The process of creating moissanite in a lab is less costly than the process of mining diamonds, which involves excavating large amounts of earth and rock. Additionally, the supply of moissanite is not limited by the availability of natural deposits, as it is created in a laboratory setting, which helps keep the price down.
Moissanite is a durable and hard mineral, but it's not as hard as diamond. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a measure of a material's resistance to scratching, with a rating of 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. Moissanite has a rating of 9.25 on the Mohs scale, making it a hard and durable mineral that is resistant to scratches and chips. However, diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, with a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale, which means that it is more scratch-resistant than moissanite.
While Moissanite is not as hard as diamond, it is still more durable than many other gemstones, such as cubic zirconia. Cubic Zirconia, which means it is more prone to scratches and chipping. Moissanite is more resistant to scratches and chips than cubic zirconia, making it a better long-term investment for jewelry. Moissanite is also more durable than many other gemstones like topaz, sapphire, and garnet.
Moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamond, which means that it bends light more efficiently and can exhibit more brilliance. This means that moissanite can appear to have more "sparkle" than a diamond when viewed under certain lighting conditions. The refractive index (RI) is a measure of how much a gemstone bends light. The higher the RI, the more brilliance and fire the gemstone will exhibit. Moissanite has a refractive index of 2.65-2.69, which is higher than diamond's 2.42 RI, making it a more brilliant gemstone.
The higher brilliance of moissanite can be a pro or con depending on personal preference. Some people may prefer the extra sparkle and brilliance of moissanite over the more subdued sparkle of a diamond, while others may prefer the more classic, understated look of a diamond.
It's also worth noting that while moissanite has more brilliance than diamond, diamond has more dispersion, also known as "fire". Dispersion is the phenomenon of white light being split into its component colors when passing through a prism, or in this case, a diamond.
Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral that was first discovered in a meteorite crater, it can be found in a variety of colors, such as yellow, green and gray. However, lab-created moissanite, also known as "created moissanite" are now produced in a variety of colors including colorless, near-colorless and even black.
The best quality moissanite, which is available to the consumer market, is colorless or near-colorless. These colorless moissanite are made to match the look of a colorless diamond, and are virtually indistinguishable from a diamond to the untrained eye. Colorless moissanite are graded on a similar system as diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses the terms D, E, and F for colorless moissanite and G, H, I for near-colorless moissanite to match the diamond color grading system.
While it's true that lab created moissanite are now more commonly colorless, unlike diamond, moissanite is not considered a natural gemstone and the color are man made and is not found in nature. This is an important factor to consider if you're looking for a natural gemstone.
Moissanite is becoming increasingly popular as a diamond alternative and can be found in many fine jewelry stores, both physical and online. Some of the most well-known moissanite jewelers include Charles & Colvard and MoissaniteCo.
You should clean your moissanite ring monthly with warm water and mild soap or non-toxic jewelry cleaner. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and air dry or blot with a lint-free cloth. The same tips apply to cleaning a moissanite ring as a diamond ring.
Moissanite has similar physical properties to diamonds, so it can sometimes be mistaken for diamond. However, diamond testers can usually tell the difference between the two stones. Moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamond, so it bends light differently, causing a "double refraction" effect that can be seen under certain lighting conditions. Some advanced diamond testers can detect this difference, but most diamond testers will not.
In conclusion, Moissanite and Diamond have their own set of pros and cons and choosing between them depends on personal preferences and budget. Moissanite is a great choice for an affordable, brilliant alternative to diamond, while diamond is considered the traditional and more valuable option.
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