Moissanite rings look very similar to diamond rings, but does that make them nothing more than diamond knockoffs?
Is Moissanite considered fake? Moissanite isn’t “fake.” It’s a real, naturally occurring, stone. Natural Moissanite is much rarer than Diamonds. Because of this, the Moissanite in all jewelry is lab-created. Moissanite looks very similar to diamond, but this doesn’t make Moissanite a fake diamond—or diamond a fake Moissanite.
Why do some people refer to Moissanite as fake? I’ll explain some of the more common reasons below.
Is Moissanite a Fake Diamond?
Diamonds peddlers (and sometimes those that paid way too much to purchase a diamond…and want to justify the decision) occasionally refer to Moissanite as fake (usually implying that it’s a ‘fake diamond’). The label “fake,” understandably, doesn’t sit well with many people that are shopping for a ring to mark an important occasion in their lives. Those that throw the term around recognize this, which is, of course, why they do it.
There are three very common reasons that critics of Moissanite often use to justify claims that it’s fake.
- Moissanite is made to look like diamonds
- Moissanite is a manufactured stone
- It isn’t always presented as Moissanite
I’ll provide more context for each of these claims and address them in the paragraphs that follow.
Moissanite is Made to Look Like Diamonds
Again, Moissanite is a naturally occurring stone, but it’s rare—far more rare than diamonds. Moissanite was originally discovered in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan. Henri was investigating the site of a meteor impact in the deserts of Arizona. During his exploration of the area, he found some small crystal fragments that he believed to be diamond. It wasn’t until several years later that he discovered that they were something entirely different than diamond. The stone was eventually named in his honor.
Interesting, right? Moissanite naturally resembles diamond. The fact that the two look so similar is no reason to refer to Moissanite as a fake version of the other. In reality, they’re just two distinct stone types that have some level of commonality in terms of look and durability (yet they’re very distinctive in other areas).
In another article, I referred to Moissanite and Diamond as doppelgangers (two people that almost look like identical twins, but who aren’t related to each other).
Alligators and Crocodiles look almost indistinguishable to those that haven’t learned the physical characteristics that distinguish them. Just because the two reptiles have a lot in common and look fairly similar doesn’t mean that a Crocodile is a fake Alligators, or that an Alligator is a fake Crocodile.
This same scenario applies to Moissanite too. It does look similar to diamond, but that doesn’t make it fake. White Sapphire can also look similar to diamond, but here again, it’s a natural stone that happens to somewhat resemble diamond (the same way that alligators and crocodiles resemble each other without being identical).
Moissanite is a Manufactured Stone
I mentioned earlier that Moissanite is much rarer than Diamonds. We don’t find large deposits of Moissanite in pockets around the globe that we can continue mining for years (as we do with diamonds. In fact, Moissanite has primarily been found at the site of meteor impacts. The force of the impact typically ensures that only small fragments remain. In the extremely rare instance where naturally occurring Moissanite has been discovered on earth, it’s been found in very small sizes and quantities.
Because Moissanite is a fascinating, functional, and beautiful stone that’s so hard to find naturally, we’ve been creating it in labs for many years. We first started manufacturing it in 1903 so we could use the stone as an abrasive for manufacturing. Moissanite is incredibly hard and much less expensive than other alternatives at the time.
Today, many types of stones are created in labs around the globe. Diamond is another lab-created stone that’s growing in popularity today. The diamonds that are manufactured are made of carbon. They aren’t fake diamonds. They’re real diamonds (in every sense of the word), and have the exact same characteristics as diamonds that were formed in the earth.
As you can see, being lab created doesn’t make a given stone ‘fake.’ Moissanite wasn’t imagined and made up to look like diamonds—it’s a real stone with its own qualities, characteristics, and history.
It Isn’t Always Presented as Moissanite
Because Moissanite and Diamond look so similar, it’s definitely possible for someone to assume that the Moissanite ring you gave them is a diamond ring if you don’t inform them otherwise. Disclosure and honesty are especially important when you present a ring to someone you care about to mark a special moment in the relationship.
If you propose with a Moissanite ring, for example, you really SHOULD find an appropriate way to tell them. The fact that it’s a Moissanite ring doesn’t have to be said before opening the box, while you’re still on one knee, or before they answer your proposal, but you should be open and transparent with the information. Sooner is probably also better than later.
Please don’t get me wrong, this disclosure isn’t an apology. Moissanite is an interesting and impressive stone in its own right. There’s just no need to pretend that a Moissanite is anything other than what it is. Moissanite truly ISN’T a fake diamond. You can be open, honest, and proud of your ring for what it is.
While we’re on the subject of appropriate disclosures, I should mention that Moissanite isn’t intentionally sold by reputable jewelers as diamond—it’s sold as Moissanite. I say ‘intentionally’ just because it’s sometimes hard to tell the two apart without specific testing. I recently wrote an article describing the type of testing and instruments that can be used to distinguish diamonds from Moissanite.
It’s easier for dishonest people to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers on sites that connect private party buyers and sellers (online auction sites, for example). I would exercise real caution when purchasing ANY stone from an individual seller (even through online platforms that you’re familiar with) or online retailers that you’re unfamiliar with. The larger, more established, and more reputable a retailer is, the more certain you can be, that you’ll get what you paid for.
Yes, there may be some situations where Moissanite isn’t disclosed to be Moissanite. When that happens, people frequently believe the stone to be diamond. That clearly shouldn’t happen. When it does, it doesn’t mean that Moissanite is a ‘fake’ stone— it means that people are sometimes dishonest. Again, they may try doing the same thing with a stone like White Sapphire or a number of other similar stones.
How Does it Moissanite Compare to Diamond?
I’ve mentioned several times that Moissanite and Diamond have both common and distinctive characteristics. I thought it might be helpful to quickly highlight some of those issues so you can better understand the similarities and differences.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Hardness
The numerical between those two seems small, but the actual difference in hardness is actually pretty significant. Diamond is much harder than Moissanite. That extreme hardness is both good and bad. On one hand, it means that diamonds are incredibly scratch resistant. On the other, it creates a major vulnerability that you’ll learn about in the next section.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Toughness
Hardness and toughness are not the same things. Hardness has to do with scratch resistance. Toughness essentially has to do with break resistance. The harder materials become, the more brittle they get. Diamonds are therefore very resistant to scratches, but also fairly susceptible to cracking or breaking.
My younger sister once had her diamond ring fall off a counter onto a tile floor. As she picked up the ring and examined it, she found that the stone had fractured all the way through.
Because Moissanite is less hard, it’s also less brittle. This makes Moissanite tougher than diamond (less likely to break as the result of an impact).
Moissanite vs Diamond: Durability
Hardness and toughness are both factors that play into durability. Because of that, it’s really hard to say whether diamond or Moissanite is the more durable stone overall. Fortunately, both stones are durable enough to be considered ‘forever’ stones, which means they are capable of being used as family heirlooms, that get passed down from generation-to-generation.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Sparkle
Moissanite is capable of displaying far more sparkle (particularly colorful sparkle—commonly referred to as ‘fire’) than diamond can. This is one of those characteristics that is naturally different between the two stones. Some absolutely LOVE all the additional sparkle. It makes the ring look so vibrant and tends to draw lots of compliments!
When it comes to sparkle, Moissanite is pretty low maintenance. Some stones start to look muted and dull pretty quickly as they collect dirt from daily wear. Moissanite surpasses diamond, and most other stones, in its ability to sparkle right on through some pretty substantial grime.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Cost
The cost difference between Diamond and Moissanite is significant. A 1-carat diamond will likely cost at least 10 times as much as a Moissanite stone of the same size.
A Moissanite stone of that size will cost $300 to $600. A 1-carat diamond of reasonable quality will typically cost $5,000 or more.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Insurability
Both stones are equally insurable. I wrote an article discussing the options and costs for insuring a lab-grown diamond ring. The same options and approximate costs would also be applicable to Moissanite rings, so that post may be worth reviewing if you’d like to understand your options a little better.
One of the benefits of purchasing a ring with a lower cost stone (like Moissanite), is that you may not need to purchase insurance coverage because the cost of replacing the stone may be low enough that you can essentially self-insure. That saves you money that you might otherwise have to pay every month to cover a more expensive ring.
Moissanite vs Diamond: Resale
All used rings are going to sell at a discount. No one wants to pay anything close to retail for a used right—even if it’s in ‘like new’ condition. The size of the discount that’s required to sell your ring will depend on many factors. There are a couple of important differences to keep in mind when comparing Moissanite and Diamond.
First, you risk a lot less when you buy a Moissanite stone. That reality certainly runs against the grain of the beliefs that advertisers have tried to instill in us over the years. We’re led to believe that the diamonds in our engagement rings and wedding rings are an investment of some sort—that hold their value and even appreciate. Unless you’re buying a truly rare diamond (sizes and colors that typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more) it’s all really fiction.
If you purchase a diamond for 6,000 and have to sell it used for a 50% discount, you’ve lost $3,000. If you purchase a Moissanite stone for $600 and have to sell it for a 70% discount, you would only lose $420 in total. That’s why I say you risk a lot less when you purchase Moissanite. You could essentially toss your Moissanite stone in the garbage and lose A LOT less money than you would after SELLING your diamond ring.
I mention that just to highlight the issue, but in reality, there’s no reason that you wouldn’t be able to sell your Moissanite at a discount that’s similar (and most likely even less) than the discount you would have to offer in order to sell a diamond.
I evaluated a number of used diamond rings and moissanite rings that were being offered for sale in my area to figure out the average discount that was being offered on each. I outlined the results in an article titled Will Moissanite Go Up in Value? Sellers are, naturally, only going to discount as much as they need to in order to draw buyers to purchase their ring instead of a new one, so it’s interesting to get some insight into how low they need to go to accomplish that.
Moissanite is not a ‘fake’ stone—and certainly isn’t a fake diamond. It’s a naturally occurring stone that’s been reproduced in laboratories since the late 1800s. Natural Moissanite is rare on earth, but it also exists in space and has often been found at meteor impact sites (which is where Moissanite was first discovered).
Moissanite does happen to look very similar to diamond. While it isn’t quite as hard as diamonds, it is tougher. Moissanite is a durable “forever” stone that’s capable of lasting for generations. Couples that can’t, or don’t want to, spend the kind of money that diamonds demand, often save 90% on the cost of their stone by choosing Moissanite! Years later, many tell me that they couldn’t be happier and would make the same decision all over again!