If you’ve recently begun your engagement ring search and are looking for a diamond alternative, odds are you’ve come across two popular options: lab grown diamonds and moissanite.
While both stones are good alternatives to traditionally-mined diamonds, there are some key differences worth noting. At first glance, both options may look similar to mined diamonds, but lab grown diamonds and moissanite differ greatly in their looks and physical properties.
Lab Grown Diamonds
As the name suggests, lab grown diamonds are diamonds that are grown in a lab.
While it may sound strange at first, it’s a wonderful feat of science that we now can duplicate these precious gems without contributing to the environmental and human costs associated with traditional diamond mining.
Whereas naturally occurring diamonds take between one and three billion years to be created, lab grown diamonds can be made in only six to ten weeks by replicating the natural processes that occur in the Earth’s mantle.
Because lab grown diamonds undergo the same processes as naturally occurring diamonds, they’re chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds. The only difference is the fact that lab grown diamonds are manufactured in a controlled environment.
This means that lab grown diamonds are completely indistinguishable from mined diamonds and are oftentimes even more brilliant due to a lack of imperfections like dirt and other particles which sometimes occur in nature.
Unlike lab grown diamonds, moissanite is a completely different gemstone.
Just like lab grown diamonds, moissanite is also made in a lab. However, unlike lab grown diamonds, moissanite is considered a diamond simulant due to several differences in composition and physical appearance.
While moissanite is engineered to mimic the look of naturally-occurring diamonds, several factors contribute to a slightly different appearance which is noticeable to the discerning eye. In addition, this diamond alternative is not as durable as diamonds (natural or lab grown), which means that moissanite rings may be more susceptible to wear and tear if worn every day.
Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Moissanite Price
While lab grown diamonds are usually significantly cheaper than naturally occurring diamonds, the fact that they are nevertheless diamonds makes them a more valuable stone than moissanite alternatives.
In turn, this also means that lab grown diamonds are more expensive than moissanite. While the average lab grown diamond might cost 50% - 70% of its mined counterpart, moissanite can be as little as 20% the cost of a comparable diamond.
It is worth keeping in mind, however, that moissanite is less durable than lab grown diamonds and therefore may need to be replaced eventually.
Can the Average Person Tell the Difference Between Moissanite and Diamonds?
Simply put: Yes. Moissanite is visibly different from a real diamond — either natural or lab grown.
While moissanite does a decent job of replicating the look and feel of a diamond, there is a noticeable difference. The brilliance of moissanite, which refers to the way the gem reflects light, is a definite giveaway when compared to diamonds.
Because the stone reflects light differently, moissanite appears somewhat more sparkly, with more rainbow-coloured glints of light — as opposed to the pure white shine of diamonds.
Likewise, moissanite often appears to have a yellow or blue hue, whereas colourless diamonds don’t exhibit this subtle tinting.
Is Moissanite Just as Good as a Lab Grown Diamond?
At the end of the day, choosing between moissanite and lab grown diamonds comes down to what matters most to you.
If you are hoping to save money and don’t mind the slightly different appearance of moissanite, it could be a good option.
It’s worth noting, however, that moissanite won’t pass for a diamond when it comes to appearance and durability.
If you have your heart set on something that recalls a classic, mined diamond, a lab grown diamond is a much better option. Because lab grown diamonds are exactly the same as naturally occurring diamonds in every way, they are a great option for those who want to avoid excessive costs and ethical concerns related to mined diamonds.
It is up to you to consider what you truly want from a gemstone before determining whether moissanite or a lab grown diamond will be the right choice for you.