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The John Atencio Jewelry Glossary The John Atencio Jewelry Glossary
Glossary › Moissanite

Glossary: Moissanite

Renowned for their scintillating brilliance, moissanites look very similar to traditional diamonds but have different physical and chemical properties. Composed of silicon carbide, moissanite is a popular diamond alternative due to its shimmering look, impressive durability and lower price tag. Although natural moissanite is very rare; scientists can use modern technology to make these gorgeous gemstones in a lab.

One of the rarest natural minerals in the world, moissanite was discovered by a man named Moissan in 1893 within the soil of a meteor crater in Arizona. While they are still rarely found in nature, moissanites used in jewelry are man-made. Modern scientists can create moissanite in a laboratory, creating a budget-friendly gemstone that looks similar to a diamond.

Is a Moissanite Diamond a Real Diamond?

While it does not have the same properties as diamonds, moissanite has a similar look at a lower price. With peachy hues and a stunning diamond-like fire, these lovely gemstones are quite popular in modern engagement rings. Still, there are some key differences between the two gems. It’s important to understand this before you make a purchase.

Moissanite vs. Diamond

Since they have different faceting patterns, moissanites exhibit a different kind of brilliance compared to traditional diamonds. Moissanite has a higher refractive index that ranges from 2.65 – 2.69. Still, diamonds reflect light in more complex and compelling ways via scintillation, dispersion and brilliance. This is what gives the diamond its one-of-a-kind sparkle.

Diamonds can be very colorful or colorless with a bright, beautiful white glow. On the other hand, moissanites usually have warmer tones, including slight yellowish tints or grayish hues. In most cases, the color will be more noticeable in bigger moissanite gems.

Is Moissanite Jewelry Tacky?

In sunlight, moissanite can give off a rainbow of flashes. This stunning flash of fiery colors is very attractive to some. On the other hand, certain people consider the effect to be a little too dramatic. Personal taste plays a significant role in determining whether a moissanite gemstone is right for your jewelry.

Is Moissanite Worth Buying?

Because they resemble diamonds and have a relatively low price tag, moissanites are popular diamond alternatives that come with some considerable benefits. On the Mohs hardness scale, moissanites have a score of 9.25. On the other hand, diamonds have a score of 10. While one is higher than the other, both scores are very good, making each gemstone ideally suited for rings and other jewelry pieces designed for daily wear. Moissanite also has a high heat tolerance and impressive resistance to scratching.

Since moissanite is made in a laboratory, the gems are very appealing to consumers who want eco-friendly stones that require no potentially destructive mining. They also appeal to shoppers who appreciate the uniquely compelling flashes of color which differentiate the stones from traditional diamond gems.

Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia

Although moissanite and cubic zirconia (CZ) are both considered diamond alternatives; they are very different in many ways. Moissanite is composed of silicon and carbon, whereas CZ is made from a mixture of zirconium and oxygen. This makes moissanite much more similar to natural diamonds which are made entirely of carbon. While moissanite and CZ are both made in a laboratory, moissanite is much more durable. It is also much more brilliant and valuable compared to both CZ and other types of diamond alternatives.

Caring for Moissanite

With the accumulation of dirt, oils and grime, moissanite can develop a cloudy or hazy appearance. This is often due to dust, body oils, household detergents and cosmetics. Routine cleaning can usually restore the gemstone’s shine and keep it sparkling like new.

With good care, moissanites should never lose their shimmer. The clarity and color of the gem will remain over the years unless the stone is damaged. Abrasions can cause moissanite to lose some of its sparkle, but this is true with most gemstones.

Searching for the perfect diamond or diamond alternative? Visit any John Atencio location, and our experts can help you find a breathtaking stone that suits your budget and style. Shopping for an engagement ring? Our attentive team can show you how to select a stunning gemstone and artfully crafted setting for the love of your life.