It’s certainly true that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and a carefully chosen pair of earrings or a sparkling necklace can have you feeling like a million dollars in moments. But while this esteemed gem stone has long held a reputation for being the cream of the crop when it comes to engagement rings and lavish gifts, it isn’t the only sparkler on the block that is worth its salt, and rival stone moissanite is fast becoming another popular choice.
Comprised of a naturally occurring, yet very rare, mineral known as silicon carbide, moissanite differs from diamonds in that it is created in a laboratory rather than being found in nature as is – but the base mineral often occurs in large enough quantities to be cut into an even one-carat gemstone. Despite their differences, the two stones bear many similarities, so much so that an untrained eye might have some difficulty in telling the two apart. They look similar, and are similarly durable – but can moissanite truly equal that same sparkle that makes the diamond the most alluring and highly coveted gemstone on earth?
Diamonds have always been known for their durability, which makes diamond jewellery able to stand the test of time with ease. With a little maintenance and regular polishing, it will retain its shape and shine for many years to come, never losing that shimmer that drew your eye to it in the first place – and is impressively resistant to scratches and scuffs.
Moissanite might not be on quite the same level when it comes to hardness, but it isn’t far behind – ranking a 9.25-9.5 on the Mohs scale compared to the diamond’s 10.
Coloured diamonds have been enjoying an increase in popularity over recent years, with yellow and pink varieties chosen for the engagement rings of some of the world’s biggest A-list celebrities. Moissanites, too, can have some colour to them – most traditionally a subtle green or yellowish tint – but nonetheless, colourless diamonds and moissanites remain the most popular and highly sought-after choices overall.
Diamond colour is graded on a scale of D-Z, where D is colourless and Z is a light yellow. There are some additional gradings beyond Z that pertain to more colourful diamonds that fall outside of the basic scale – so you can see that diamonds vary greatly in colour and that there are many options to choose from as a result.
When it comes to moissanite, manufacturers have had to spend many years perfecting the creation process in order to successfully emulate a colourless diamond, but today, it is more than possible to obtain one. Placed beside a colourless diamond, only an expert could spot the difference, and both are equal in beauty.
One of the biggest questions on everyone’s lips is likely just how well moissanite can measure up to the sparkle and shine of a diamond – and the answer might surprise you. Moissanite, in general, tends to possess a greater level of brilliance than even diamonds, which is perhaps one of the major reasons it’s creating such a stir in the world of luxury jewellery. Doubly refractive, its unique cut further enhances its breath-taking shimmer, and with over twice the dispersion value of a diamond, it’s the most brilliant of all the gemstones available. There is a subtle difference though; where diamonds tend to reflect whiter light, the moissanite stone refracts spectral colours when the stone is rotated in sunlight, making for a unique rainbow-like effect.
The diamond is a traditionally extravagant choice and comes with a price-tag to match, with some of the most impressive rings, necklaces and bracelets costing eye-watering amounts – and it’s their opulence and grandeur, along with that beautiful sparkle, that makes them quite such an attractive gift.
Moissanite is considerably cheaper than diamonds – in fact, it’s estimated cost is around one tenth that of a diamond of equal size and quality. The benefit? You can surprise that special someone with a much larger gemstone for a considerably lower price.
Of course, if money is no object, then this likely won’t sway you towards moissanite – but with its aesthetic similarities, it’s certainly something to consider when shopping for that next show-stopper. The highest clarity, colourless diamonds can come with price-tags that even some of the world’s highest-net-worth individuals might balk at.
The bottom line
So, which is it to be? The traditional diamond, or the moissanite? Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. The moissanite might have its work cut out when it comes to dethroning the long-ruling diamond from its role as a girl’s best friend, but it certainly puts up a fight – and makes for a beautiful and unique choice when shopping for a meaningful piece of jewellery, whether it’s an engagement ring or a special necklace that will last for years to come.