Exploring Simulated Diamonds and Moissanite: A Comparison of Two Popular Alternatives to Natural Diamonds
- by Rokshok
Simulated diamonds and moissanite are two popular alternatives to natural diamonds. While both are man-made, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we will dive into the world of simulated diamonds and moissanite, and explore their similarities, differences, and which one is the better choice for you.
What are Simulated Diamonds?
Simulated diamonds, also known as diamond simulants, are synthetic stones that have a similar appearance to natural diamonds. They are made from materials such as cubic zirconia, white sapphire, or moissanite. These stones are created in a lab and are designed to mimic the look, cut, and sparkle of a real diamond.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral that was first discovered in a meteorite in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan. However, it was not until the 1990s that moissanite was successfully created in a lab for commercial use. Moissanite is composed of silicon carbide and has a unique crystal structure that gives it a brilliant sparkle. It is considered to be the closest competitor to natural diamonds in terms of brilliance and durability.
One of the main reasons people choose simulated diamonds or moissanite over natural diamonds is for their similar appearance. Both stones have a similar sparkle and brilliance to natural diamonds, making it difficult to tell them apart with the naked eye.
However, there are some differences when it comes to the appearance of simulated diamonds and moissanite. Simulated diamonds, such as cubic zirconia, tend to have a lower refractive index than moissanite. This means that they may not have the same level of fire and sparkle as moissanite. On the other hand, moissanite has a higher refractive index than natural diamonds, which means it has even more sparkle and brilliance than a diamond.
In terms of color, simulated diamonds have a higher chance of appearing “too perfect” or “too white” compared to natural diamonds. This is due to the fact that they are created in a lab and can be made to have perfect color grades. Moissanite, on the other hand, has a slight yellow or gray tint compared to natural diamonds. However, this can be corrected by choosing a higher grade of moissanite or opting for a colorless option.
Durability is an important factor to consider when choosing between simulated diamonds and moissanite. Both stones are known for their hardness, with simulated diamonds ranking at 8.5 on the Mohs scale and moissanite ranking at 9.25. This makes them both durable options for everyday wear, with moissanite being slightly more resistant to scratches and chips.
However, simulated diamonds may be more prone to scratches and damage over time due to their lower hardness compared to moissanite. It is also important to note that both stones can scratch or damage natural diamonds, so proper care and maintenance are necessary.
Cost is often a significant factor when it comes to choosing between simulated diamonds and moissanite. Simulated diamonds, such as cubic zirconia, are the most affordable option, with prices ranging from $20 to $100 per carat. On the other hand, moissanite is more expensive, with prices ranging from $300 to $600 per carat.
While moissanite may be more expensive than simulated diamonds, it is still much more affordable than natural diamonds, which can range from $3,000 to $20,000 per carat. This makes moissanite a budget-friendly alternative for those looking for a diamond-like stone without breaking the bank.
Ethical and Environmental Impact
Another factor to consider when choosing between simulated diamonds and moissanite is their ethical and environmental impact. Simulated diamonds, being man-made, do not have the same ethical concerns as natural diamonds, which often come from conflict zones and are sometimes referred to as “blood diamonds.” Additionally, simulated diamonds have a lower environmental impact as they do not require mining and do not contribute to deforestation.
Moissanite, being a natural mineral, is not without ethical and environmental concerns. While it is not mined from conflict zones, it is still a finite resource, and the production of moissanite can have an impact on the environment. However, some companies, such as Charles & Colvard, have taken steps to ensure their moissanite is ethically and sustainably sourced.
Which One is Better?
Deciding between simulated diamonds and moissanite ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option that closely resembles natural diamonds, simulated diamonds may be the way to go. However, if you are looking for a stone with superior sparkle and durability, moissanite may be the better choice.
It is also important to consider your values and the ethical and environmental impact of your purchase. While both options have their pros and cons, they are both more ethical and environmentally friendly than natural diamonds.
Simulated diamonds and moissanite are both excellent alternatives to natural diamonds. They have a similar appearance, but moissanite has a slight edge when it comes to sparkle and durability. However, simulated diamonds are more affordable and have a lower environmental impact.
Ultimately, the choice between simulated diamonds and moissanite comes down to personal preference and what factors are most important to you. Whichever option you choose, both stones offer a beautiful and ethical alternative to natural diamonds.