Lab-Grown Diamond vs. Moissanite
If you believe that investing in a naturally occurring diamond might be way out of your budget, you must have looked for a more affordable alternative. In fact, you might have come across more than one alternative for naturally occurring diamonds, causing you to become confused between the choices. Two such alternatives are lab-grown diamonds and moissanite. It is okay if you are hearing about either of them for the first time because we are going to break down all details below so that you can make the right choice!
What is lab-grown diamonds?
As the name suggests, lab-grown diamonds are an alternative to naturally occurring diamonds grown in the lab with the help of cutting-edge technology. A lab-grown diamond has an identical chemical, physical and visual characteristic to a naturally occurring diamond. The only difference between them is that a lab-grown diamond is grown in a lab within a short period while a naturally occurring diamond grows beneath the earth’s surface and takes billions of years! So, lab-grown diamonds are not fake diamonds. They are treated similarly to natural diamonds and are graded for their clarity, cut, color, and carat weight.
Pros of lab-grown diamonds
Other than their physical location, there are few other differences between a lab-grown and a natural diamond that could be considered its benefits.
Diamonds are put under strict regulations by governing bodies to ensure quality and authenticity. Lab-grown diamonds are completely ethically sourced and are governed at every step of the way. A natural diamond has to be mined and takes a lot of time and hard work. Human resources can meet accidents during the mining process, and thousands of pounds of mineral waste are created. On the other hand, diamonds grown in the lab do not create thousands of pounds of mineral waste and are environmentally friendly.
Due to the reasons mentioned above, a lab-grown diamond is up to 40% less expensive than a natural diamond. Hence, these diamonds can be a great option for couples or individuals exploring affordable options.
Another great alternative for couples could be moissanite, a sparkly stone that reflects more light than a diamond! If you have not heard about moissanite before, we are going to break down its details for you below.
What is moissanite?
Moissanite is a shiny gemstone made from the mineral silicon carbide. It is most commonly used in jewelry as an alternative to diamonds because it has exceptional sparkling properties, is strong, and is drastically cheaper. Moissanite comes very close to diamonds in its durability and hardness, so much so that it was mistaken as a mined diamond back in 1893 when a scientist discovered it for the first time in samples from a meteor crater. The gemstone is, in fact, named after this scientist whose name was Henri Moissan.
How is moissanite made?
Silicon carbide is a very rare compound and has only been discovered in a few places, such as meteors or inclusions found inside a diamond. Since the compound is difficult to find naturally, all products made from silicon carbide are grown in labs. Moissanite is one of the examples of the byproduct of silicon carbide that is grown in labs.
Although moissanite does not come close to diamonds in value, it looks quite similar to them with respect to its shine and hardness. In fact, it is shinier than diamonds and has a fierce look to it. Despite the similarities, moissanite is very affordable for people on a tight budget. It usually gets more expensive as its size increases or if it is completely colorless.
If you are concerned about the gemstone’s durability, rest assured that it has a very high rating on the hardness scale and would not break easily. If you are someone who works all day long, moissanite can be a great option for you.
Comparing lab-grown diamonds with moissanite
Scientists have found a way to replicate the natural process of growing a diamond in labs to create lab-grown diamonds by creating extreme pressure and heat. The resultant diamond has all the visual, physical, and chemical properties of a naturally occurring diamond. Although the chemical composition is different, moissanite is also grown in the lab and has a very similar physical look to diamonds. However, there are some differences that you should be aware of before making your final decision.
Difference in sparkle
As mentioned earlier, moissanite sparkles way more than diamonds because it reflects twice as much light as a diamond. This phenomenon is known as dispersion. The dispersion property of a diamond is rated at 0.044, whereas a moissanite’s dispersion stands at 0.104! So, when you compare a diamond and moissanite side by side, moissanite will look extremely fiery!
Difference in color
Since lab-grown diamonds are the exact copy of a naturally occurring diamond in all areas, including the chemical composition, physical and visual characteristics, they are also grown in various colors like natural diamonds. These colors include green, blue, pink, red, purple, and gray. Moissanite, on the other hand, is grown colorless or slightly colored with hues of yellow or green.
Difference in refraction
What is refraction? It is a stone’s tendency to bend and break light. Both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite refract light quite differently. There are two different kinds of refractions, singly and doubly. Singly refraction occurs when the light beam does not split and remains intact. Doubly refraction occurs when the light beam is split into two rays where each ray travels in a different direction. Diamonds are known to have single refraction, whereas moissanite has double refraction.
Difference in hardness
We previously mentioned that moissanite has a very high grade for hardness on the Mohs hardness scale. However, it is still not as hard as a diamond because a diamond is the hardest material that exists on earth. If a diamond is rated 10 on the hardness scale, moissanite will be rated a 9 to 9.25, which is still very hard!
We are sure this is the part you have been waiting for us to discuss the most! Since diamonds are more in demand, harder, and more traditional than moissanite, they cost way more than moissanite. Lab-grown diamonds might cause 40 to 50 percent less than natural diamonds, but moissanite costs only a fraction of that price. Due to this reason, moissanite makes an excellent choice for couples who are on a tight budget but want a gemstone that looks similar and sparkles way more than a diamond.
Frequently asked questions
Can I visually tell the difference between a moissanite and a lab-grown diamond?
Yes! The visual difference between the gemstones is very clear because moissanite sparkles more fiercely than a diamond, so it would be easy to tell them apart from each other.
How is moissanite color graded?
Moissanite is color graded on the same color grade scale as a diamond. It is not given a single letter grade but is categorized in the colorless, near-colorless, and faint-colored ranges on the grading scale.
Can moissanite lose its sparkle over time?
If you properly look after your gemstone, its sparkle should last for decades. The color and clarity of moissanite should not change in any way unless it has been damaged in some way. If you somehow break the surface of your moissanite gemstone, it is likely to lose its clarity and sparkle right away. However, this situation applies to every other gemstone. Although moissanite is a very durable and hard stone, it should be looked after and properly maintained for longevity.
Whether you choose a lab-grown diamond or a moissanite for your special day is completely a personal choice. Both gemstones are excellent choices for couples on a budget, with moissanite offering greater value for those on a tighter and more restricted budget. Moissanite looks quite similar to diamonds in its appearance and how it sparkles but is much more affordable, costing only a fraction of a diamond’s price. If you want a center gemstone that is not a diamond but is super sparkly, you should opt for moissanite. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical, and visual characteristics as naturally occurring diamonds. They are grown in labs under extreme pressure and heat and take on all the properties of a natural diamond. Lab-grown diamonds come with credible certification and are real diamonds. So, if you want a real diamond but can not pay thousands of bucks, you should go for a lab-grown diamond!