Sometimes you want a little bit of bling but can’t throw down thousands of dollars, even on affordable diamond retailers.

Some people go down in 4Cs, others pick the lab-created diamond way, and some look for alternatives to diamonds, one of those alternatives is a stone called moissanite.

So what exactly is the difference between moissanite and diamonds?

In this article we’ll go over how the two stones differ, where they are similar (and where they are not), and some other important stuff you should know before you make a decision to buy.

What is Moissanite?

Some may think that moissanite is a “fake” diamond but in reality it’s not, because it’s not actually a diamond, it’s a whole other class of precious gemstone.

Of course, the stones look similar but there are some distinguishing features we’ll get into later in this article.

So what’s the deal with this “other” gemstone?

Well, it fell from space – literally. It was first discovered in the late 1800s in the crater of a meteorite in the United States. The crystals that were found were composed on silicon carbide, which is different from earth-based diamonds.

Nowadays, however, any moissanite you find will be lab-created. The name comes from the chemist who first discovered the crystals in that cosmic crater – Henri Moissan.

How to Differentiate Diamonds from Moissanite?

There’s no doubt, both gemstones look quite similar in nature. The only way to truly distinguish between the two gems is through an electrical conductivity test.

There are some characteristics, however, you can look out for to try an identify what you’re looking at.

1. Sparkle & Brilliance

Diamonds and moissanite actually reflect light a bit differently from each other, while real diamonds reflect light in several ways – including the white light that gets reflected back to you (known as brilliance) – moissanite does not.

Because these other stones are cut differently than diamonds, they cannot reflect the white light back. However, moissanite does give off a colorful sparkle. Some may prefer it, while others will not.

2. Price Difference

The price difference between the two types of gems is quite stark. Pricing of diamonds is determined by a lot of things, mainly the 4Cs, but the price of moissanite is determined by several classification types: premium, super premium, enhanced and unenhanced.

If you look purely at size as a determinant of price, then moissanite is significantly cheaper than diamond. For a similar 1-carat and colorless stone, the price difference can be thousands of dollars.

Of course, this won’t help you determine if someone if trying to put one over on you and sell you what they claim is a diamond, but actually isn’t. It’s still good to know, though.

3) Gemstone Durability

Diamonds are the toughest and most durable gemstones known to mankind. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a definite 10. And moissanite is right on it’s tail, scoring a 9.25 on the mineral hardness scale.

To put this into perspective, based on Mohs Hardness Scale, steel nail has scale of 6.5, so indeed, moissanite is pretty hard.

This is why many choose this stone in place of a diamond, for use in jewelry.

4) Gem Color

When it comes to color, high quality diamonds are almost like pure ice. Not all diamonds are completely colorless, however. Some can have a slight yellow, brown or grey hint. Fancy diamonds are sometimes colored in brighter colors for a specific effect.

Moissanite, however, isn’t exactly “colorless” even if labeled as such. Under certain light you would still notice a yellow or grey hue coming from the stone.

If you do see a stone that’s clear and white like a diamond, it’s usually because it’s been “enhanced.”

5) Formation

Diamonds are formed from extreme pressure and carbon in the earth’s crust and core. It happens over hundreds of millions of years.

Although the first ever discovered moissanite arrived on earth from a comet/meteor impact, all of today’s stones are grown in a lab.

Because of this, you don’t have to worry about accidentally purchasing “conflict” stones like you would with diamonds.

Final Thoughts on Diamonds vs. Moissanite

As you can tell from the information above, the two gemstones are quite similar in many ways. One of the biggest differences you’ll find between the two is the starkly different price and light reflection.

Many people have chosen to use the alternative stone in their jewelry and engagement rings. Unless you know what you’re looking for, it can be quite hard to tell that it isn’t an actual diamond.

Another thing about moissanite that’s a positive is that they are all designed to be very clear, meaning you won’t find any blemishes or inclusions in the stone, unlike its much more expensive counterpart.

While main diamonds store (JamesAllen, Blue Nile & Whiteflash) don’t sell moissanite (yet?), you can find them on other reputable stores like Brilliant Earth.