Two budget-friendly stone choices – but one clearly comes out on top.
In their search for that perfect sparkler, ring shoppers who want to maximize their budgets inevitably end up checking all the different options. Moissanite has historically been a good option for wallet-wary shoppers, but it’s also worth noting that the surge in lab-created offerings and the significant lowering of retail prices have made lab-created diamonds an excellent, wallet-friendly option.
So yes – at first, lab-created diamonds and moissanite can seem quite similar… and this can be an extremely perplexing issue! But you’ll soon find that they’re not similar. At all.
To put it bluntly:
LAB-CREATED DIAMONDS = REAL DIAMONDS
MOISSANITE = NOT DIAMOND
“Ok,” you say.
“Tell me more.”
Lab-created diamonds are real diamonds!
They’re chemically, structurally, and visually the same as the earth-created diamonds we all know and love. The only difference is that the high-pressure, high-temperature, diamond-creating conditions that usually take place deep underground are instead performed in a lab. Because it’s easier to create lab conditions than to mine diamonds underground, lab-created diamonds can be significantly more affordable than earth-created diamonds.
Moissanite isn’t a diamond, it’s a silicon carbide!
It’s synthesized in a lab under a thermal growing process. This silicon carbide crystal is a completely different material that looks very similar to diamond but is still an imitation of the real thing. Moissanite is often marketed as a cheaper alternative to diamond, but it’s an inferior option given the pricing and availability of ‘real’ lab-created diamonds. Moissanite doesn’t have anywhere near the same brilliance or clarity as a real diamond, and it has none of the fire.
Let’s size up lab-created diamonds and moissanite over 6 traits:
1. COLOR PERMANENCE
A diamond’s color is everlasting. The lab-created diamond you buy today will look exactly the same when you eventually pass it down to your grandchildren.
Moissanite exhibits “thermochromism,” meaning that it is sensitive to color change at temperatures above 150° F (65 C). These are usually temporary, but these heat-sensitive color changes can sometimes be permanent.
Colorless to extremely colorful. Diamonds can exhibit a full range of colors, from intense fancy colors (canary, purple, pink) to completely colorless.
Moissanites usually display warmer tints, often exhibiting slight yellowish or greenish hues.
Lab-created diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42 and their faceting pattern returns light remarkably. The combination of their brilliance (reflected white light), fire (refracted color) and scintillation (surface sparkle) give diamonds their unparalleled true sparkle. Brilliant and sparkly!
Moissanite actually has a higher refractive index than diamonds, at 2.65, and their faceting pattern is different, leading their brilliance to display a “rainbow effect.” The rainbow effect tends to make moissanite look fake to the well-trained eye, and is especially noticeable under natural light and in larger stones.
4. IDEAL SIZE
Lab-created diamonds sparkle the same at any carat weight. Go big, go small, go whatever you like.
Moissanite’s exhibits a “rainbow effect” which can look fake and is especially noticeable in larger moissanite stones. Stick with smaller sizes.
Diamond is the hardest stone (it has the highest rating of 10 on Moh’s hardness scale). It’s not susceptible to scratching.
Extremely hard (9.25 on Moh’s hardness scale), but is still more susceptible to scratching than diamonds.
Diamonds are usually the more expensive choice. However, lab-created diamonds are the affordable diamond option, allowing you to get a 30% larger stone for the same cost as earth-created diamonds.
Moissanites are a cheaper option, though buyers must take into account the lifetime costs of maintenance like jeweler cleanings. Moissanite’s value is mostly sentimental.
We at James Allen believe the overall resiliency, beauty, and affordability of lab-created diamonds make them #1 choice for budget-friendliness. Moissanite simply doesn’t compare.
Big, bright, and beautiful!
And now for our picks: pieces that show off all the sparkle of lab-created diamonds. And after you’ve chosen your lab-created diamond, ensure you’ve gotten the best deal by using our Diamond Price Match Guarantee and by chatting with our legendary customer service team.
Three-Stone Emerald-Cut Engagement Ring
“This is the most sparkly ring I’ve ever seen. I feel like a million bucks!”
– Teresa T.
Pear-Cut Halo Engagement Ring
“I love my pear-shaped ring!! It is simple yet not understated at all.”
– Andy A.
Bow-Tie Princess-Cut Engagement Ring
“A showstopper ring. It’s glam, class, and elegance all in one.”
– Swanson J.
“The halo makes the center stone look much much bigger. It is very impressive.”
“This is the best purchase I’ve ever made online!”
– Bing W.
Lab-created diamonds caught your eye? Read on to hone your diamond expertise!
- Treat yourself to360° diamond display technology
- Get low-down on fancy-color diamonds
- Have a gander at our True Hearts™ diamonds
- Learn to care for your diamond jewelry
- The solitaire settings that make your diamond pop!
- Why diamond CUT matters most
Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!