You’re at the right place if you’re looking to know the difference between moissanite and cubic zirconia. Keep reading!
We’ll also be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about moissanite and cubic zirconia including:
- Are there any similarities between moissanite and cubic zirconia?
- What’s the difference between moissanite and cubic zirconia in terms of appearance?
- What’s the cost of moissanite and cubic zirconia?
Moissanite Vs Cubic Zirconia
Cubic zirconia and moissanite are the most common diamond alternatives available on the market. They might look like diamonds but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re actual diamonds. They both have different physical and chemical properties as compared to diamonds and each other.
Let’s compare moissanite to cubic zirconia to see which of the two is a superior gemstone.
Origin – Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia
As earlier mentioned, moissanite and cubic zirconia are the most popular lab created diamond alternatives in the market.
When it comes to fake diamond, most people prefer moissanite but that’s just a tip on the iceberg. For starters, moissanite is a gemstone on its own. Henri Moissan, a French scientist, uncovered this glittering gemstone when digging in Arizona and thought it was an actual diamond.
The French scientist later found out that it was a different gemstone called moissanite. Natural moissanite is believed to come from meteorites hence the name Stardust and Space Diamond. However, these stones are quite rare that’s why you can’t find them online, brick and mortar or jewelry stores.
Most jewelry stores selling moissanite wedding bands and engagement rings use lab created moissanite. One of the first companies to synthesize the gemstone was Charles and Colvard. Different labs create moissanite gemstones differently when it comes to style but the process is the same.
Charles and Colvard carries some of the most famous moissanite, the Forever One Moissanite which is the highest quality piece available in jewelry stores. Creating a single moissanite stone takes about 2 to 3 months. However, it took years for gemologists to do it correctly.
Scientists mix carbon and silicon under hot pressure to create moissanite stones. The process creates preforms, otherwise known as silicon crystals. Preforms are usually shipped for cutting into sparkly standards.
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Forever moissanite, on the other hand, has high standards as compared to average moissanite stones. Its structure is different from other moissanite gemstones although the base is made with silicon carbide. Plus, when you stack it in this manner, the color is even better.
For the most part, people always go for colorless moissanite when buying moissanite stones. However, the gemstone is available in a range of colors. Charles and Colvard have a wide variety of colored moissanite stones.
Cubic Zirconia Gemstones
Cubic zirconia earrings have different names and are quite popular in the jewelry industry. Some of the most common names include manmade diamonds, fake diamonds and diamond simulant. However, the proper term among the three is diamond simulant.
Just like moissanite stones, natural cubic zirconia is equally rare. Take powdered zirconium oxide and melt it with magnesium and calcium to synthesize cubic zirconia. These elements are not only melted but also fused and mixed together and left to cool. Crystals will start forming once the mixture cools.
Once the crystals form after cooling, they’re faceted to high-quality gemstones. Different labs create cubic zirconia differently just like moissanite. The entire process boils down to three different methods including: Melting, growth solution and finally high pressure high temperature.
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In addition, cubic zirconia comes in a wide range of colors. This is because it can be made in different hues. For the most part, cubic zirconia is used in body and costume jewelry. Majority of high-end jewelry stores like Zales, Jared and BC Clark may not have cubic zirconia in their collection or carry a few of them. You can find cubic zirconia in departmental stores like Kohl’s, Walmart and Ross or online.
Appearance – Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia
Moissanite stones and diamonds almost look similar but they have different optical properties. The novice might not see that. Don’t fret, we’re here for you! Keep scrolling.
We’ll explore the difference between lab created diamonds and moissanite stones in terms of appearance. Moissanite is twice as brilliant as its counterpart. It appears sparkly with lots of rainbow light. You can easily tell diamond and moissanite apart when put side by side because the latter tends to glitter like disco balls.
Cubic zirconia appears more sparkly with tons of rainbow light albeit not as much as in moissanite stones. Moissanite stones have high refractive index as compared to cubic zirconia. Refractive index lets you know the measurement of how fast light bends when it strikes the gemstone then bends out.
The refractive index of moissanite stone and cubic zirconia is 2.65 and 2.15 respectively. Technically, this means that moissanite appears more sparkly with tons of rainbow light as compared to cubic zirconia. Both cubic zirconia and moissanite have birefringence also known as double refraction in layman terms.
Birefringence or double refraction is when the ray of light that goes into the gemstone bends then splits to two different rays. The diamond reflects out the rays in two different directions. Moissanite stones have great light dispersion, otherwise known as fire while cubic zirconia appear glassy. Moissanite fire is two times higher than that of an actual diamond.
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One of the most important factors that you need to put into consideration is the shape of the gemstone especially when looking to dull the sparkle. Instead of brilliant shapes, always go for step-cut shapes. Some common brilliant shapes include pear cuts, round brilliant, radiant, oval and princess cut.
Brilliant cut shapes usually have shorter facets that make gemstones glitter. Step-cut shapes include emerald cut, baguettes and Asscher cut. They have longer facets to give off a more dramatic flash as compared to a glitter performance.
Most of these gemstones are colorless although moissanite isn’t completely colorless. It has a subtle light brown or grayish tint in lighting. In high quality moissanite stones, the tint isn’t quite noticeable. However, cubic zirconia can sometimes be colorless almost equivalent to grade D diamond color.
Price – Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia
There’s a big difference between moissanite and cubic zirconia rings when it comes to cost. Averagely, people purchase a 1 carat diamond for engagement rings. A high-quality diamond ring costs about $5,000.
When it comes to cubic zirconia and moissanite, a carat is not only relatively cheap but also small. Both of these stones are available in large carat weights and the price difference is very little. The 2 carat moissanite rings from the famous Forever One Collection are some of the best quality rings available on the market, price notwithstanding.
Unlike diamonds, the quality of moissanite stones doesn’t go by 4cs but instead distinguished by very simple terms. Forever One moissanite collection are premium quality just like what Charles & Colvard sell although they’re relatively cheap. Regular moissanite stones are the cheapest.
Super premium quality moissanite stones have a diamond grade color equivalent to the DEF. Regular moissanites are equal to HI while their premium counterparts are GH. Low quality ones have excessive tint. However, DEF moissanite stones also have tints especially in lighting. But that’s just how the gemstone is set up.
The quality of cubic zirconia stones isn’t quite marketable. The price of the stone ranges from $5 to $10 depending on different factors. As earlier mentioned, different places create cubic zirconia differently. This means that there’s no quality assurance or set standard for these relatively cheap gemstones.
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Value – Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia
The price of the two gemstones will help you tell their difference in value. Moissanite stones are more valuable gems on their own. Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, is relatively affordable and doesn’t have a resale value.
For the most part, jewelry don’t usually maintain their value unless its heirloom quality or an old piece. For this reason, it would be best to buy these two gemstones for other different purposes other than investment or resale.
Both moissanite and cubic zirconia are lab created stones. This means that they’re not high in demand since scientists can develop more readily. Moissanite is more valuable since it’s a semi-precious gemstone. Plus, they’re the most viable diamond alternatives when it comes to quality and durability.
By now, you already know that the value of gemstones tends to depreciate over time unless if they have a grading report. However, under no circumstance should the price of moissanite stones be on an upward trajectory since they’re readily available.
Other Different Factors – Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia
There are different factors that might lead you to settle for moissanite or cubic zirconia other than their value, price and appearance. Let’s delve right in, shall we?
Durability is one of the most important things you need to factor in when choosing an alternative diamond gemstone. Enter Mohs scale of hardness. Mohs scale will help you know how durable the gemstone in question is along with its level of resistance to scratch.
Not every gemstone is best suited for wedding bands and engagement rings since some are more susceptible to scratching especially from dirt and dust in the air. Mohs scale of hardness rates from 1 to 10 with the latter being the highest rating.
Diamonds are usually rated at 10 on Mohs scale of hardness which typically means that they’re one of the hardest minerals on earth. This applies to both lab created and natural diamonds. Moissanite stones are rated at 9.25 which makes them the second best most scratch resistant stones.
White sapphire rates at 9 which means moissanite stones are better than them. Moissanite stones are the most viable alternative to diamonds owing to their durability.
The hardness rating of cubic zirconia stones is 8 to 8.25. This hardness rating is relatively high as compared to other different diamond simulants like clear quartz and white topaz. Cubic zirconia doesn’t scratch easily but isn’t quite as long lasting as moissanite stones.
However, the hardness rating doesn’t translate to the overall durability of stone especially against breakage and chipping. Hardness only tests Scratchability. Natural and lab created gemstones can chip when hit with a relatively sharp blow on the right spot. It would be best to go for a ring with a protective setting such as flush or bezel setting to prevent all this from happening.
Solitaire rings along with other high-end cathedral setting rings are more likely to chip because they stick out. Different gemstone shapes with points such as pear cut or marquise are equally prone to chipping.
Quality doesn’t always translate to life expectancy and that’s one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to jewelry. Every material has its own limitations even though expensive ones tend to increase longevity especially when it comes to ring settings.
You’re likely going to purchase an engagement ring set in different types of metal including white gold, sterling silver, platinum, rose gold or yellow gold. These metals are also known as precious metals. However, there are other cheap metal alternatives that include titanium, tungsten, stainless steel and brass among others.
Working on alternative metals is quite challenging even though they’re usually cost effective. For instance, you can’t repair the center stone if it falls out. What’s more, stainless steel is equally hard to work on and if you find a jeweler it’s quite expensive.
When buying jewelry pieces online, always pay attention to the descriptions. Ensure you get the right size since most gold-plated jewelry pieces are usually plated over stainless steel. You might not find a jeweler to resize it if you want a different size. Even so, the cost can exceed the value. However, you’re likely going to experience this problem with cubic zirconia as opposed to moissanite.
For the most part, cubic zirconia jewelry pieces are usually set in cheap metals and gold plating. Cubic zirconia mostly passes as imitation diamond which means you can also find it with different imitation metals. That’s a point worth noting when looking for jewelry pieces.
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Gold will need maintenance over time since it’s a soft metal. You’ll also need to replate gold-plated jewelry pieces but it can be hard and the cost can exceed its value. That’s why rings with warranties come highly recommended.
Moissanite engagement rings from Charles & Colvard all come with lifetime warranty. You can barely find a cubic zirconia ring with a warranty since the seller will incur loss.
Final Thoughts – Moissanite Vs Cubic Zirconia
Let’s help you make an informed decision if you want to choose a viable diamond alternative between moissanite and cubic zirconia. Like other gemstones, they both have their own benefits and limitations. For starters, think about the main reason why you want to buy the jewelry piece and what you want from it.
For instance, are you working on a budget? Is it something you plan on wearing everyday? Is the jewelry piece only meant for special occasions and events? Do you have enough money to spend on the jewelry piece?
You might want to get cubic zirconia jewelry piece if you’re looking for something fashionable to match your outfit or for an event. They resemble actual diamonds from a distance and are equally cheap. You can wear once and put it away without feeling a pinch.
However, moissanite comes highly recommended if you’re looking for a high-quality and long-lasting jewelry piece. Moissanite engagement ring is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a viable diamond alternative.
At this point, there are those who don’t believe that moissanite stones are better diamond alternatives. If this is the case, you might want to explore synthetic or lab created diamond alternatives if you’re fixated on authentic diamond pieces. At the end of the day, it all narrows down to personal preference and taste.
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