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    Ultimate Guide To Understand Moissanite Vs Lab Grown Diamond

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    Diamond alternatives may look like a diamond. But in this guide you’ll see why difference between moissanite vs lab grown diamond is unbridgeable.

     

    Ever heard of a moissanite? Well, it’s a fast-catching trend and a cheap diamond alternative with jewelry lovers. While it is catching the fancy of all, it mimics a diamond in many ways. It is a rare mineral that was discovered by French chemist Henri Moissan in 1893, originally discovered in a meteorite crater. As natural as a lab grown diamond is, it was discovered to be a naturally occurring silicon carbide. That is what makes it different from a lab grown diamond that is actually crystallized carbon. Today’s user enjoys the lab grown versions of moissanite due to their rarity. To the naked eye, there isn’t really a difference.  But even then, both are gemstones, with uniquely distinct personalities. One cannot replace the other. Considered highly productive for industrial use, moissanite’s comparison to diamond (unfortunately) does not win it points in their brilliance, color or durability either. 

    As rare has moissanite crystals are, they usually found in the form of tiny crystals near meteorites. Because of their rarity, they are now lab grown. The crystal is said to be often found in Arizona, has also been found in Czechoslovakia, Israel and Russia too. The largest naturally recorded moissanite crystals were extracted from Israel. The size of these crystals is more than 3 mm.  

    The Moissanite is also called a true diamond killer and has become quite a rage with celebrities and millennial buyers. Alexander Sparks is one such designer that is a celebrity love for moissanite engagement rings. He is famous for his Art deco and vintage designing in white gold settings. For celebrities, its not the costing, but the amazing variety of sparkle that this rare silicon carbide can provide; and then there is a huge emotional angle to those who are serious about ethical buying, though Moissanites are lab grown, most of the times. 

    If you are not looking at owning a heirloom, then the fact that Moissanites can be engineered should not bother you. Moissanites have been widely designed and sold by Charles & Colvard but they are always certified by an external body using the Imagem technology. Beware of companies who mine or grow their own stones and also print their own grading certificates. The stone grading is affected as the stone goes through a process of aging. Anything beyond 5 years of age, should not be considered premium quality. As in diamonds, moissanites are also graded according to the 4Cs. In Cara weight, a moissanite is usually 15-20percent lighter than a diamond of the same carat. Moissanite’s color is divided into Colorless (DEF), Near Colorless (GHI), Faint Yellow (KLM), Light Yellow (NOP), and Bright Yellow. As with diamonds, the absence of color in clear Moissanite (usually grey or yellow), especially above 2-carats are rare and more expensive. Just like a lab grown diamond that develops inclusions while being created, a moissanite will have inclusions and grading accordingly. This hugely affects its look and appeal. 

    There are many certifying agencies that certify moissanites which are then sold by respective retailers with their own certified guarantees. These come with 20–25-year guarantee of the look and feel of the silicon. Some retailers include Moissanitebylivia, Ecomoissanite, etc. A well-known certifying body is Precision Gem Grading Laboratory (Philadelphia). But Charles &Colvard are the legends who formally introduced them to the world in 1995, and certify their own stones largely under the category of Forever One, Forever Classic and Forever Brilliant. 

     

    Durability, cuts available, credibility/certification, perception among buyers of both and over time what happens to the moissanite vs a lab diamond

    If we were to measure their durability on the popular Mohs scale of durability, lab grown diamonds score higher than the moissanites. Unlike a diamond that can give you subtle and at times charming brilliance, the moissanite has a different kind of fire to present to its viewer. Some feel that it actually emits a disco ball split light effect that can be jarring to the naked eye. The bigger the moissanite, the more likely it is that the difference will be noticeable. Moissanite has a refractive index from 2.65 – 2.69, which is higher than a diamond. Even then, jewelry designers are giving the option of a unique selection of cuts and shapes that moissanite has to offer- from classic round to fancy shapes like pear, oval, radiant and cushion.

    Unlike the moissanite, the diamond has a smooth amalgamation in presenting its sparkle. A combination of white light reflection, rainbow color refraction and its light return gives a smooth combination of its famous sparkle.  When it comes to color, a lab grown diamond can give you the promise of a flawless and colorless variety, unlike a moissanite, that invariably always has yellow or grey hues to project. 

    Even then, there are those who do find pleasure and joy in honing a moissanite center piece marked with accent small diamonds. If it’s not a personal choice to own a large carat diamond, this is a good budget friendly option to choose from. Unlike the diamond that has lured the woman in love and a man who wants to bethrow his woman for over 900 million years, the moissanite is a comparatively new stone. But then, a diamond is a diamond and those who have them for what luxury and opulence comes with the gemstone, there can be no replacement. 

    Compare moissanite on price (from a leading site like james allen or zales or macy’s or even amazon.com US with a similar carat on lovbe; we will be costlier but we will be a diamond

    Now, if we were to talk about the rarity of the find, lab grown diamonds have become far more popular that even mined ones. For one, they are easily accessible and for the other, their price advantage without compromising on the authenticity of a diamond is an attractive option for millennial buyers. With our contesting brother, Moissanite, is definitely a rarer to find. So, most jewelry designers would do with lab grown ones. Moissanite is 50 percent carbon and the rest silicate. 

    Undeniably, a moissanite of the same carat weight and clarity will cost one-tenth of the cost of a mined one. In comparison, a lab grown diamond would be half the cost of a natural born diamond too. The options for variation in a lab grown diamond however, takes the prize, any day. The refractive index of a Moissanite is way higher than a lab grown diamond, making it shine far brighter than any diamond itself, creating a rainbow effect. To a trained eye, this comes out to be jarring. Also, Moissanite is a bit more reflective than diamond. Larger stones (over one carat), in particular, have a tendency to display a yellow or green hue in certain lighting, or from particular angles for a moment. No wonder, those who are diamond lovers to go back to the carbon wonder instead. 

    While many wishing to optimize on the budget and adding up on the look, would prefer the Moissanite, let’s make one thing clear that this lovely little replacement does not withstand high temperature very well. Unlike a lab grown diamond, the moissanite will start to change colour as its exposed to temperatures more than 150 degrees F. 

    So, what you might have chosen as a loose piece, might come out as a huge disappointment after finishing. Moissanite is usually sold by size rather than weight. So, a 6.5mm moissanite will perfectly fit a setting that holds a one carat diamond which will actually weight 0.88 carats. Here, a Charles & Colvard moissanite engagement ring holds a center piece of 6.5mm with accompanying stones of 5mm each. The diamond equivalent weight of the three stone ring (near colorless and excellent cut) is around 2 carats. The cost in white gold 14k is $1999. If one was to pick the center piece itself, a James Allen within the same parameters cost $4670 while a LovBe diamond costs $4096. Now let’s look at a mined diamond from Allurez for example is almost the same parameters. A round brilliant Good Cut Very Slight Inclusions of H color clarity for two carat costs $22750. The cost is mind blowing. This is just the center piece, but then this is a diamond that carries a grandeur incomparable to any other gemstone known to mankind. While, you might feel rich of honing a huge rock in your ring, the thought lingers on that ‘it is not a diamond, after all.’

     

    What other diamond-lookalike alternatives (Cz, white morganites etc) there are that allow people to achieve the look of a diamond in designs that they can experiment with

    A diamond stimulant for example is also lab grown but totally manmade. It is constructed from scratch and mimics a diamond in many ways. They cost 80 percent less than a mined diamond, are made to look flawless and are earth friendly. They are essentially a proprietary blend of elements, with an applied patented coating to eliminate porosity and award it maximum hardness. A diamond stimulant is also called a diamond alternative. It is not the same as a lab grown diamond. In fact, the latter is actually a diamond through and through, just that it is born in manmade laboratories with the exact conditions that are found under the earth’s surface. A three-stone diamond stimulant in the same carat, color, clarity and cut parameters with 14k gold, costs $1072

    A white sapphire or even a zirconia is a good alternative to the diamond. A sapphire is a precious gemstone, durable enough for everyday wear and offer a variety of colour options, including bright white. Sapphires are made from the corundum mineral and take millions of years to form. Its composition is nowhere close to that of a diamond.  Corundum is a mineral that takes on its color as it forms. Ruby in fact is the red form of the mineral corundum. Sapphires are usually found in igneous rock which has a low amount of silica and a high amount of aluminum. As the crystal lattice of the sapphire develops, trace minerals can sink in, transforming the color of the stones.

    The presence of color means there is presence of other metals. The most precious blue sapphire gets its color from the presence of titanium and iron inside the gemstone. To get a white sapphire, it means it has to have only a few hundredths of one percent of titanium; only then it is considered colorless. This is rare. 

    A sapphire is 9 on the Mohr scale. A diamond is 10. Unlike the diamond, this gemstone does tend to become dull with wear-n-tear. Now, one more reason you will choose lab diamonds over white sapphire is that the latter does not award the same fire and brilliance. It has a low refractive index and not the same optical qualities. Anomalies are easily visible, unlike in a diamond some can be artistically hidden through master cuts and designing. A white sapphire tends to be more transparent, expecting more cleaning and frequent maintenance. So, if you wish to hone one, keep it away as an option for sparingly use jewelry only. 

    An approximately 1 ct. sapphire will typically cost between $750 to $3,500 depending on its characteristics and color, in comparison to a moissanite (a 1 ct. or 6.5mm equivalent can range from around $400 – $1,000). So does a moissanite. Some of the greatest celebrities of all times have chosen these over diamonds and its not a surprise. Sapphire has been considered a royalty stone from the times of the Persian rulers. The Duchess of Cambridge’s striking blue sapphire engagement ring was originally Princess Diana’s engagement ring before she passed in 1997. Dancing With the Stars celeb and dance professional, Emma Slater wore one that was a center piece in a gorgeous wine color lined with 115 micro pave diamonds, Mary-Kate Olsen hit it big with a vintage one with a huge setting of 16 Calibre cut blue sapphire and 1.5 carats worth of diamonds on the petals shown around the center stone, Elizabeth’s marriage to Michael Wilding in 1952 came with a stunning (and large!) cabochon blue sapphire engagement ring with diamond side stones. And then there is Jenny McCarthy’s 10 carat yellow sapphire center stone, lined with halo of diamonds, set in 18 karat white gold, or Victoria Beckham whose one of the 14 engagement rings was a huge oval cut blue sapphire set on a platinum micro pave band. Elizabeth Hurley spotted a three stone setting with a striking nine carat blue sapphire engagement ring, also featuring two 2 carat trillion cut diamonds on either side of the sapphire.

    For sure, the sapphire is a gorgeous stone to own but does not do justice to your desire to use it on a daily basis. You can even look at aquamarines, morganites, and amethysts. Aquamarine for example has no set certification standard like a lab grown diamond. Aquamarine ranges from blue to greenish blue in color. On the Mohr scale, the stone ranges between 7.5-8. Though its color is gorgeous and looks stunning in properly white gold settings, its durability is questionable and so its sustenance to daily wear and tear. Aquamarine and diamond engagement rings are approximately the same price. The difference is diamond engagement rings run up to a much higher cost. They can exceed $20,000 at the high end. Experts prefer to suggest them in 5 carat and above for maximum beauty of its blue color. While the look is a killer, it does justify itself as a daily wear gemstone.

    All these are great alternatives but do have a downside as they aren’t as hard as the diamond. So, if you are investing in a daily wear ornament, for example an engagement ring, these aren’t good for long term wear. They tend to grow dull over time due to everyday wear, household soaps and cleaners, makeup and lotion, and exposure to other elements like sunlight. 

    Sometimes mistaken for the blue topaz, the Aquamarine is a beautiful pale blue semi-precious gemstone. These gorgeous gems are part of the beryl family of minerals, which also includes emeralds. On the Mohr scale, they feature between 7.5-8 which means, they are more prone to wear tear and surface scratches. On the same weight parameters, an aquamarine will cost $700. 

    A 2019 independent survey by a jewelry company found that the most popular non-diamond center stones in engagement rings were moissanite (19%), sapphire (18%) and morganite (12%). This is a spectacular rise in popularity for a gem that was poorly known in the marketplace a decade ago.

     If you were to look at the beautifully girly pink Morganites, they look lovely as a center piece. Due to their pink to peach variety of beryl, they are a preferred fancy stone. But like most varieties of beryl (aquamarines and emeralds) morganite is considered a softer stone and ranks 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. So, it’s a given that they will be more delicate in nature, prone to scratches, breakage and quick surface dullness. It is a stone that demands ‘handle me with care.’ Its warm overtones make it perfect for an engagement ring, and in the recent years it has become very popular for this, rivalling the lab grown diamonds. A beautiful natural color that this semi-precious stone awards its wearer, it is comparatively cheaper than a diamond. Because it has a low refractive index, it does need frequent cleaning and maintenance. Also, because its low on the durability index, it is more prone to breakage and scratching. So, it is not a wise decision to use the stone in your engagement ring, if you wish to wear it daily. Sadly, there is no agency that certifies morganites. Therefore, chances of being duped into synthetic or imitations ones is huge. A quality piece of Morganite that has nice coloring will typically cost about $300 per carat.  If you do purchase loose ones from well-known retailers, you can get your stones certified by one of the more trusted gemstone certifiers in America. If anything is cheaper than this, and feels too good to be true, believe your gut and get them tested. Morganite is referred to by a number of less common names like the Cesian Beryl, Cesium Beryl, Pink Beryl, Pink Emerald, and Rose Beryl.

    Another great alternative to the diamond is the green emerald. Considered a stone of the royalty, it is one of the rarest to be found. By virtue of their color, the anomalies are not easily visible. An approximately 1 carat emerald will typically cost between $1,000 and $3,000, but you could choose lab created ones too. High quality naturally mined emeralds can be valued and priced similarly to diamonds with comparable specifications. Usually, the grandeur of an emerald cannot be justified in a small carat stone. A large carat stone does justice to its looks. Also, like aquamarines and morganites, emeralds are a variety of beryl. Emeralds are formed when iron, chromium, and vanadium are present in beryl. More iron will give a slight blue tint to emeralds, while the chromium and vanadium are what give emeralds their intense green color.

    The denser an emerald, the more priced it would be. Natural ones have many inclusions, unlike the mined ones. The mined ones can merely mimic the original without bringing forth the same magic. Therefore, for those who love the emerald, buying a mined one is a better option. The hazy and cloudy look of natural emeralds are therefore prized by many. There is a certain antiqueness. Lab created emeralds are typically a lot more brilliant and clearer than natural emeralds, if that is a look you prefer. Fewer inclusions also mean that lab emeralds are also slightly more durable than naturally mined emeralds.

    In comparison, a Lovbe lab diamond will cost somewhere between $1000-1400. For the promise of a real diamond, this is an ideal choice to make, when it comes to selecting your engagement ring gemstone. Indeed, it’s safe to say that this comes under a comparatively easier budget, with a 60-day buy back guarantee, complete with choice of customization to suit your personal style. 

    Amethyst was once considered a stone of royalty. It has recently come back into fashion due to fact that it provides a variety of colors. Due to its natural rich purple color, its inclusions usually remain hidden. It’s no exaggeration to say that Amethyst has a unique metallic luster that makes it quite attractive. The valued purple hue is a result of the presence of iron and aluminum. However, if you are looking for a translucent luster, lab grown and treated amethysts can be made to your clarity preference. Moreover, they are much cheaper than natural white diamonds. However, a diamond is a diamond and wins over its flexibility to be used in flawless white to colored varieties too. The stone can be found in many shapes. However, apart from purple, there is no option to use Amethyst. Some well-known celebrities to have worn the stone includes Alicia Keys, Heidi Prett, Victoria Beckham, and lovely British singer Adele. 

    Now, let’s explore the Cubic Zirconia. Like the Moissanite, this is also completely lab created. But in comparison to the Moissanite, it is more prone to breakage and scratching. The Cubic Zirconia or CZ is a popular cheap option to diamonds. CZ falls is rated between 8 and 8.5 on the Mohr scale, a little more than some other precious stones. CZ are considered perfect with no flaws and therefore can never be considered anywhere close to a diamond. As a diamond brings a sense of pride, ownership and emotion, the CZ robs you of that sense of exclusivity. Additionally, it can be made into literally any color and demands a lot of maintenance; more than even a Moissanite. 

    Most wise jewelry stores would tell you that apart from a diamond, any of the stones whose Mohr index is less than 9 should not be your daily wear stone. If you are of the Victoria Beckham style to own multiple engagement rings, you can experiment with these stones too. 

    Let’s not forget, the trend for lab grown diamonds came in when royalty like Megan Markel made headlines by choosing them over mined ones. Considered a millennial voice that speaks her mind and stands her guns, she explained that she could get the same feel and joy of honing a diamond that was lab grown than go for something that does not bring ethnically the same emotions when wearing one. Others to have shifted to lab grown diamonds include Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, actor Nikki Reed, Emma Watson, Camila Mendez, and Penelope Cruz, or even Leonardo Di Caprio who has invested into the company that makes lab diamonds, the list goes on. At the end of the day, anyone who wishes to get their engagement ring a time memorial piece of jewelry lands up buying diamonds. 

     

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