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So you’ve recently discovered moissanite; the magical stone from meteorites that’s environmentally friendly, socially responsible, as beautiful as a diamond, but costs dramatically less.

So what’s the catch?

It’s at this point that you scour the internet for proof that it’s too good to be true. You’ll sift through wedding forums where bride after bride claims no downsides, #noregrets, and that moissanite can and most definitely does pass for a diamond.

You want the real deal? Talk to a jeweler. Luckily, you’re in the right place.

Does Moissanite Look Like a Diamond?

Yes, moissanite looks very similar to a diamond. It’s near-colorless, has a similar refractive index to a diamond and the GIA deems moissanite the closest diamond imitation.

Left: The Katie Custom Moissanite Engagement Ring starting at $9,000; Right: The Rachael Custom Diamond Engagement Ring starting at $14,500

Many jewelers consider moissanite a diamond alternative, not an imitation, though you will find plenty of that language on the internet.

The truth is that moissanite is not a synthetic diamond or the oft dreaded cubic zirconia, it’s a totally separate gemstone that is naturally occurring, though extremely rare and found in meteorites. Because of its beauty and durability,  it’s one of the few gemstones that’s incredibly well suited to fine jewelry. However, it’s so tough to source natural stones that the vast majority of moissanite on the market is lab created

READ: The Differences Between Diamonds, Lab Grown Diamonds, and Moissanite 

Developed by the GIA, the diamond color chart gives each diamond a color rating ranging from a completely colorless D to yellow-tinged Z.

Moissanite cannot be directly graded on the diamond color chart, however,  natural moissanite is comparable to a GIA-certified K-color diamond. To the untrained, non-jeweler eye, differences in diamond color are not perceptible up until about this point. Meaning: unless you are a trained jeweler, you will not be able to tell the difference between a colorless or near colorless diamond, and you probably won’t see a difference even if a diamond has a faint yellow tinge. Natural moissanite has a faint yellow tinge. But the chance that you have the option of natural moissanite is exceedingly small.

Just a few years ago, lab created moissanite or “classic” moissanite exhibited faint yellows, greens or gray colors. Most of the moissanite on the market today has been enhanced to be colorless or as close to colorless as possible. Some discerning jewelry enthusiasts (I’m talking people who have looked at dozens of diamonds and moissanite side-by-side) maybe still be able to detect a slight yellow or gray hue in moissanite under certain lighting, but it’s getting more difficult as the technology gets better.

How To Tell Moissanite From Diamond

Unless you’ve seen a lot of diamonds and just as much moissanite, you probably can’t tell the difference. Even to a trained eye, because natural diamonds come in an infinite amount of colors, clarities, and cuts, some diamonds just look like moissanite. And as moissanite quality gets better and better, they can easily be mistaken for diamonds. If you have other diamond jewelry, you might notice that moissanite looks a little bit different when side-by-side.

The true way to tell the difference? You’ll need some professional equipment.

A diamond tester is used to detect whether or not a stone is a real diamond by measuring how heat moves through it, but because moissanite heat conductivity is close to that of a diamond, it’s not a surefire bet. There are also diamond testers that measures electrical conductivity, but this will only tell you whether a stone is or is not a diamond, not necessarily what the stone is. Moissanite testers are specifically designed to identify moissanite by measuring how a stone conducts electricity.

But I’m guessing you don’t have one of these at your disposal.

Diamond or moissanite? Only a trained eye can tell.

Armed only with the naked eye, the best way to see the difference is to have a comparably sized diamond and to compare side-by-side. You’ll notice that moissanite and diamonds have different brilliance. Diamonds distinct sparkle is a unique combination of how it reflects light, the colors that refract through it, and the scintillation. Moissanite has more colors and fire, making quick flashes of rainbow color when moving the stone around. This disco ball effect can be more pronounced in sunlight.

Like a diamond, the larger the moissanite the more color you are able to see and the easier it is to differentiate it from a diamond. Because of this, some people prefer to stick to moissanite center stones that are under a certain carat weight.  That being said, no one but a jeweler or experienced jewelry buyer would likely see a difference.

Moving past the superficial, moissanite is almost as hard as a diamond on the Mohs scale; a 9.5 as compared to a diamonds perfect 10 rating.

Why is this important?

Because whatever stone you choose to use has got to be tough enough for the everyday bangs and bumps that jewelry often encounters.

Can you tell the difference between diamond and moissanite?

So can moissanite pass for diamond? For the general public, your nosy but well meaning friends, and everyone you display your moissanite ring to between now and forever…they won’t know the difference. Most don’t even know moissanite exists and wouldn’t think to question it. It’s also generally frowned upon to probe about someone’s engagement ring, though it happens! So if you’re worried about it, or anticipate feeling anxious as someone coos about how sparkly your “diamond” is, you may want to have a canned response in your back pocket. May I recommend, “Thanks! I love it too.”

Ready to make your own moissanite ring? Here’s everything you need to know about creating an engagement ring with a lab-grown moissanite. Jewelry financing available. Book an appointment here.