Created: March 16, 2021
Moissanite vs Diamonds - The Ultimate Guide
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and their attractive lustre never fails to impress. But everyone expects you to choose a diamond for your engagement ring, so what if there was another option? Read our breakdown of everything there is to know about the differences between moissanite and diamond, showing you the benefits of lab grown jewellery.
Photo Reference: Blossom 1.90ct Round Moissanite and Diamond Ring
- What is Moissanite?
- A Brief History of Moissanite
- What are the Main Differences between Moissanite and Diamond?
- Benefits of Moissanite and Lab Grown Diamond over mined Diamond
- Moissanite and lab grown diamonds offered by Lily Arkwright
- How are Moissanite and Diamond grown in the lab?
- What should you choose - Moissanite or Diamonds?
- Why Lily Arkwright
Moissanite is a rare and precious gemstone made of silicon carbide that works as a beautiful alternative to the traditional mined diamond engagement ring, and is also a truly gorgeous option in its own right. With a higher refractive index than diamond, moissanite can offer you an engagement ring with some serious sparkle at a much better price point than its mined counterpart.
Moissanite is both sustainable and ethical as it is lab grown and so has nowhere near the same carbon footprint or human impact as mining does. In fact, moissanite can provide you with a highly durable ring that has its own unique radiance. Here at Lily Arkwright we specialise in both moissanite engagement rings and lab grown diamond engagement rings, bringing you excellent engagement rings that are a mark of true British craftsmanship. We have free and insured global shipping, giving all our customers the peace of mind when purchasing one of our rings, something again attested by our 5* rating on Trustpilot, check out The Telegraph's article on the best websites to buy an engagement ring online, for more information.
A Brief History
Discovered by Nobel prize winning french chemist Henri Moissan (the jewel’s namesake) in 1893, it was another 100 years before a technique was perfected to be able to grow moissanite commercially. Naturally occurring moissanite is actually much rarer than diamond, and it was in a meteorite crater in Arizona where Moissan first found the mineral, earning it the title ‘space gemstone’.
In the 1990’s there was a breakthrough in the production of moissanite, and through these processes Charles and Colvard introduced moissanite into the jewellery market. We are partnered with and authorised retailers of Charles and Colvard and use their premium forever one and heart and arrows moissanite, as well as our own branded Lily Arkwright Moissanite to produce all of our moissanite engagement rings.
What are the main differences between Moissanite and Diamond?
Moissanite and diamonds are very similar to look at and almost impossible to tell apart when compared side by side, however, contrary to popular belief moissanite is not a diamond substitute and is very much its own gemstone. It has a distinctive colour sparkle due to it being more refractive than diamond. The refractive index of a material refers to the speed at which light can travel through it, and moissanite’s chemical structure means that it can slow down and bend the light entering it much better than other minerals, making it give off an almost rainbow-like effect. Moissanite is a wonderful alternative as a colourless stone, and due to its optical properties displays a remarkable fieriness.
Diamond does not have as high a dispersion value, but does have a very similar brilliance to that of moissanite. Our lab diamonds will always give off the same extraordinary sparkle as a mined diamond, as they have exactly the same chemical composition; some mined diamonds however are not cut to ideal specifications but to maximise profit. Depending on the diamond rough shape, diamond cutters can change the number and shape of the facets which results in a cheaper stone. A diamond cut like this may not have any visible imperfections but it will certainly not have the same brilliance as an ideal cut version. Whilst it is important to note the difference in appearance between diamonds and moissanite when choosing an engagement ring, as colourless stones they are very much alike in their overall look. Our gorgeous moissanite gemstones are elegant and timeless, and if you would like some inspiration for your wedding, make sure to check out knockknockpenny's blog post for ideas. As an award winning wedding stationary studio based in Cheshire, they specialise in luxury wedding stationery for design conscious couples.
In the past, moissanite often had a slight yellowish or greyish hue, but due to developments in the way it is grown, this is no longer the case. All moissanite offered by Lily Arkwright is graded either D-F (colourless) with only their brightness telling them apart or G-I (near colourless) which is still almost imperceptible. Lily Arkwright are proud to have recently been featured on Hitched, showcasing some of our stunning moissanite engagement rings. All of our lab grown diamonds also have this grading, providing our customers with gorgeous colourless gemstones for their engagement rings. Another fallacy which has often been attributed to moissanite is that it turns cloudy over time. This is untrue; moissanite retains its clarity and is actually an especially durable gemstone, suitable for everyday wear.
The comparative price of a moissanite centre stone versus that of a traditional mined diamond is much less, allowing you to choose a larger carat or colour variant. If you are certain about wanting a diamond, our lab grown diamond again costs much less than the mined stones. Choosing moissanite or lab grown diamond engagement ring offers you far more for the price, giving you many more possibilities and the opportunity to have your perfect engagement ring.
The mohs scale of hardness is a measurement that tests the scratch resistance of a mineral, diamond scores a 10 as the hardest material on the planet and in comparison moissanite scores a 9.25. Despite being slightly lower than diamond, this is still a very high score and means that any moissanite engagement ring works fantastically as a piece of jewellery to be worn everyday. Lab grown diamond has the same chemical composition as mined diamond and so would also score a 10 on the mohs scale, any engagement ring with either stone would last a lifetime.
The cut of a gemstone (such as a brilliant round, cushion or emerald) does not in fact refer to its overall shape but instead to the shape and ratios of a stone’s facets (the individual planes visible). Each cut has its own ideal proportions to ensure maximum brilliance, and the way that a stone has been cut can drastically affect its sparkle. Read our ultimate guide to moissanite stone cuts for further information. Because diamond and moissanite have different chemical compositions, the way that each stone interacts with light is also different, meaning their ideal cuts are ever so slightly different too. This difference is really very small and in general the two white gemstones appear very similar, which is one of the reasons why moissanite has become such a popular and well-loved alternative.
As moissanite and diamond have different compositions, they also have different comparative weights. Moissanite is around 10% lighter than diamond. As carat is a measurement of the weight of a stone, not the size (as it is often perceived to be), a 1ct ideal round cut diamond measures 6.5mm in diameter whereas the same diameter in moissanite would be 0.88ct. Take a look at the chart below to see a side by side comparison between diamond carat weights and the equivalent moissanite weight.
Limited lifetime warranty included
All moissanite stones sold by Lily Arkwright including the Charles & Colvard forever one, hearts & arrows and Lily Arkwright Moissanite have a limited lifetime warranty included. There is a 12 month warranty on all other jewellery we offer, and a 30 day return policy on all standard collections*.
Photo Reference: Eden 0.80ct Round Moissanite Ring
Benefits of both Moissanite and lab grown Diamond over natural mined Diamond
One of the major benefits of having a moissanite or lab grown diamond is that they do not have the same human impact as mined diamonds. Unfortunately, due to the nature of mined diamonds there is often a human cost involved, as some mines employ workers in unsafe conditions. The Kimberley Process is a certification scheme that was started to try and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream diamond market. Whilst this has been a huge help in providing safeguarding practices and in making sure that the mining of diamonds is not financing harmful groups, there has been some dispute over its efficacy. It is also worth noting that not all diamonds have been mined in accordance with this process and that it only follows diamonds up until they are cut, after which they are no longer officially traced. As moissanite and lab grown diamonds are produced in the lab there is no need for any mining at all, cutting out any such harmful practices.
The impacts of diamond mining on the planet versus the minimal impact of lab grown moissanite or diamonds is another big advantage. Mining can cause a massive reduction in biodiversity, can cause soil erosion and can lead to the contamination of water sources, whereby minerals from the mined rocks seep into water supplies. For every carat of mined diamond approximately 80 tonnes of earth are moved and in 2018 alone there were roughly 148 million carats mined. In India, diamond mines have been shown to put further pressure on endangered tiger species, and in 2016 The Wall Street Journal reported that a major diamond company had killed over 18,000 fish whilst draining a lake in Canada which was to be used for diamond mining. Lab grown diamond and moissanite engagement rings do not require mining and so have a carbon footprint which is a fraction of the size.
As mentioned previously, another huge plus point that moissanite and lab grown diamond have over traditionally mined diamond is that they are much less expensive. As an alternative engagement ring centre stone, moissanite can offer couples a hard wearing and beautiful option that is both aspirational and achievable. Lab grown diamond costs more than moissanite but still much less than mined diamond, making it another amazing choice. It is also worth noting that all payments with Lily Arkwright made through our global partners PayPal and Klarna are available with 0% interest.
Mined diamonds are notoriously difficult to trace as there are so many different steps on their journeys, that transparency can often be lost. It is also quite common practice for old diamond jewellery to be reset, making the tracing of diamonds again more difficult. All our moissanite and grown diamonds are produced in the lab and come fully certified, so our customer’s know exactly where their precious stone has come from. As well as this, Lily Arkwright jewellery has all been UK hallmarked meaning that all the precious metal content has been verified by an independent party.
Here at Lily Arkwright, we are proud authorised sellers of premium Charles and Colvard forever one moissanite which always comes with a certificate of authenticity. We offer the world's best lab diamond engagement rings, which are all fully certified to international standards, accompanied by an industry standard IGI or GCAL grading report. As Assay Assured retailers we can guarantee that all of our jewellery meets and exceeds legal requirements having been independently tested, proving our outstanding quality to customers.
Moissanite and lab grown Diamonds offered by Lily Arkwright
Charles & Colvard Forever One
With over twenty years experience as the leading moissanite producer, Charles and Colvard were the first company to market moissanite as a jewellery component, after scientists began using innovative thermal growing techniques at a laboratory in North Carolina. As the original creators of moissanite, their premium forever one gemstone is seen as the world’s best and highest quality moissanite stone. We offer this moissanite stone in a variety of different cuts and carat sizes from 0.0021ct up-to and over 15.00ct, all of which are faceted to ensure the utmost sparkle. All of their premium forever one stones fall within the internally flawless to very slightly included range (IF-VS) guaranteeing exceptional clarity; and are available in two colour grades, colourless and near-colourless. Each stone is engraved with ‘forever one’ and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Lily Arkwright have recently been featured in the amazing Mrspandp blog and discuss our Charles & Colvard collections.
Charles and Colvard Hearts and Arrows
The Charles and Colvard hearts and arrows cut is a new cut mastered by the company in 2017. Incredibly intricate, it produces eight symmetrical hearts and arrows that can be seen when looked at through a special viewer. The phenomenon was discovered in Japan by Kazumi Okuda in the 1970’s, and is known today as a super-ideal cut. It is made possible by precisely cutting the stone with 57-58 different facets, all of which have to be aligned accurately in three dimensions. The hearts are displayed from the underneath perspective, whilst the arrows can be seen when looking at the crown of the gem. This is a truly stunning design and a superb option for a moissanite engagement ring with added uniqueness.
Lily Arkwright Moissanite
Until recently the use of moissanite in jewellery was patented by Charles and Colvard since then however, other companies have been able to produce their own. Lily Arkwright has begun creating our own moissanite and we are proud to offer high quality gemstones at a cost reduction due to the fact that we produce it ourselves. As with all our Charles and Colvard moissanite, Lily Arkwright moissanite also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. We not only offer a collection of moissanite engagement rings but also moissanite earrings and moissanite pendants, which make for a gorgeous bridal set.
Which moissanite should I choose?
Choosing between our different moissanite selections can be a difficult one, Charles and Colvard are world-class experts on moissanite and have been producing the gemstones for the last twenty years, so have a long-standing history and following. Our Lily Arkwright moissanite is not inferior in any way and is a beautiful option. It is at a slightly reduced price point as we produce it ourselves.
If you were looking for a moissanite stone which most closely resembles that of a diamond then the hearts and arrows cut is a great choice which further minimizes any visible differences in the gemstones. Both the overall shape is very similar, as is the sparkle, because of the way the stone is cut in the hearts and arrow fashion. A hearts and arrows cut is considered a premium cut for both moissanite and diamond, and is a marker for a well cut stone. As members of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) we have joined thousands of other jewellery brands operating within the UK to work within their guidelines, and are routinely assessed by their compliance team.
Lab grown diamonds
We work with a number of different world-leading laboratories to source our high quality lab grown diamonds, all of which are accompanied by a GIA, IGI or GCAL certificate. We believe that it is worth considering lab grown diamonds over traditional mined diamonds not only because of the price difference, but because of the clear benefit to the environment. The cost of a mined diamond is dear, and whilst not all mining is exploitative a lab grown diamond dispels any such concerns. Check out our Lab diamond engagement ring collection, to look for your perfect ring. We also work with The Diamond Foundry, a carbon-neutral company which produces diamonds at its laboratories in the US. You can view the video below which outlines how the Diamond Foundry operates.
How are Moissanite and Diamond grown in the lab?
Moissanite and diamond are grown using different processes in the lab. Moissanite occurs naturally in the earth, however it only does so in minute quantities. In order to grow any under laboratory conditions, lab technicians must mimic the conditions that cause it to appear in nature which is done so via thermal decomposition. The process of growing moissanite can take up to three months, and goes through incredibly rigorous measures once it has been created. This is in order to make sure that each gemstone is of the highest quality, cut and clarity before it is taken to our workshop to be set.
Diamonds are made in the lab in a couple of different ways. Firstly, there is a process called High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and secondly one called Chemical Deposition (CVD). Both of these methods create diamonds in a similar way to how they are produced in the earth, by subjecting carbon atoms to the same extreme temperatures and pressures. HPHT is a process whereby sheets of graphene (a single layer of carbon) are placed on top of tiny diamond seeds. These seeds are put under enormous amounts of pressure and temperatures which reach around 1500℃ causing the graphene to melt and then cool, thereby growing the diamond. The second method, CVD, uses sheets of diamond instead of seeds. Gas is injected into a vacuum above the sheet, heated and radiated with microwaves in order to break it down into carbon atoms. These atoms then fall and settle onto the sheet of diamond below, much like gathering snow. No two lab grown diamonds are exactly the same and each diamond that is grown is unique in its shape.
The major benefit of a lab grown gemstones is that you can have something which is compositionally exactly the same as something formed in the earth billions of years ago, yet without any of the negative side effects mining can cause.
Photo Reference: Grace 1.90ct Round Platinum Solitaire Ring
What should you choose Moissanite or Diamond?
Moissanite is a fantastic choice for an engagement ring for a number of reasons. It is a genuinely stunning gemstone which is great value for money as well as being extremely durable, ethical and sustainable. It is a beautiful alternative to diamond, and here at Lily Arkwright we offer a fabulous selection of gorgeous moissanite rings which showcase our British craftsmanship. Our most popular ring is the Grace Solitaire, often referred to as ‘the little black dress of rings’, which has been designed to allow as much light as possible through the centre stone. This allows for breathtaking sparkle. Take a look through our moissanite collection in order to find your perfect ring.
Lab grown diamonds are also a wonderful choice. Diamonds are such a classical option as an engagement ring, and really do have a wonderful and exceptional radiance. Our lab grown diamonds are much better value than those which have been traditionally mined and are graded in the exact same way. As all of the diamonds sold by Lily Arkwright are lab grown, we are proud to offer gemstones which are the product of ethical trade, that are not mined and are sustainably produced without conflict.
Both moissanite and lab grown diamond make for amazing engagement rings and whichever gemstone you choose Lily Arkwright has a bespoke ring design service for those who want something truly unique. As well as the wide range of options available on our website, we are able to work with you personally and make your very own moissanite engagement ring or lab diamond engagement ring, translating your ideas and sketches into a bespoke piece.
Ultimately, the choice between moissanite and diamond is down to you, perhaps you’re even considering a different gemstone altogether such as emerald, ruby or sapphire! Whatever you pick, make sure that it is a ring you dearly love, as your decision has to be the choice which brings you the most happiness. If you are really struggling and need some extra guidance on what would suit you the best then you can always pay a visit to our UK showroom for an in-person consultation or alternatively book an online session with one of our JET trained jewellery consultants .
Photo Reference: Loose Round Cut Moissanite
Why Lily Arkwright?
We pride ourselves on our ability to produce stunning ethical and sustainable fine jewellery at an amazing price point, supported by unrivalled customer service. We offer the highest quality moissanite, lab grown diamonds and gemstones.
Lily Arkwright are proud Assay Assured jewellery retailers and committed members of the National Association of Jewellers based on honesty, integrity and professionalism. All precious metal jewellery offered by Assay Assured jewellery retailers carries the legally-required independent hallmark verifying the precious metal content, a protection over and above legal requirements. Read our glowing customer reviews on Trust Pilot.
If you are interested in booking a consultation or simply would like to find out more information about ourselves or our collections, please call us on 0161 537 6773, alternatively you can email our jewellery consultancy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* On standard collections that are not designated 'made to order'.
Did you enjoy this article? Do you better understand the differences between moissanite and diamond?
Let us know your thoughts and leave us a comment below. Also are there any future topics you'd like us to cover?
Wishing you all the best, The Lily Arkwright Team x