Moissanite is the stone that’s most similar to diamond in terms of its look and other key characteristics. While your friends may not be able to tell your Moissanite from a diamond, can trained professionals with some common tools of the trade?
Will Moissanite Pass a Diamond Tester? Moissanite will often be misidentified as diamond by basic diamond testers because they only test heat conductivity and Moissanite is very similar to diamonds in that area. Testing electrical conductivity is a more certain way to distinguish the two stones. Some multi-testers can measure both.
Will your local jeweler or pawn shop have the right kind of tester on hand to positively distinguish Moissanite from Diamond? In this article, I’ll share the tools that can accurately distinguish the two stones—and those that simply can’t.
What Makes Moissanite Unique?
Moissanite is a natural material with a background that’s almost too incredible and mysterious to believe. The stone was first discovered in tiny fragments at the site of a meteor impact in an Arizona desert. Most natural Moissanite is still found at meteorite impact sites around the world—so it has obviously traveled quite some distance through space before making impact with earth. Moissanite is made of Silicon Carbide (SiC). There is evidence that the SiC grains that comprise most natural Moissanite “originates around carbon-rich Asymptotic giant branch stars. SiC is commonly found around these stars as deduced from their infrared spectra.” The French scientist that discovered it thought the specimen was diamond for many years. Eventually, its true nature was discovered. Synthetic production started soon after.
Moissanite is incredibly hard, in fact, the only stone that’s known to be harder is diamond. That made synthetic Moissanite a great (and more affordable) choice for many industrial applications (like industrial abrasives). Moissanite has been used in jewelry since the 1990s, but today’s quality standards are much younger. Over the past ten years or so, technology has advanced to the point that synthetic Moissanite can be truly colorless. This makes it a great diamond alternative for many jewelry applications. It has a beautiful diamond-like appearance and durability, but costs 90% less!
Moissanite has other characteristics that are worth noting. It conducts heat very similarly to diamond—but conducts electricity MUCH BETTER than diamond can. The difference in electrical conductivity is a more certain differentiator that can positively distinguish between Moissanite and Diamond.
The Value, and Limitations, of a Diamond Tester
The Diamond Tester has become standard gemological equipment. Your basic diamond tester only tests one thing—thermal conductivity, which means it can distinguish diamonds and moissanite from other stones, like Cubic Zirconia (CZ), but it typically CAN’T tell Moissanite and Diamonds apart (it registers both as diamond).
Heat conductivity isn’t exactly the same for Moissanite and Diamond, but it’s really close. Many diamond testers can’t perceive the small difference, others are fooled because they aren’t calibrated properly to pick up the slight difference in conductivity. Even with their limitations, Diamond Testers are still valuable tools for jewelers and gemologists, they just can’t be trusted to tell the full story. In order to differentiate diamonds from Moissanite, a second tool (or functionality) is required.
Moissanite is (very slightly) electrically conductive—so slightly, that you need specialized equipment to detect it. A device called a Moissanite Tester has been designed for that very purpose. Moissanite testers only measure electrical conductivity—so they can easily distinguish between diamonds and Moissanite because diamonds are not electrically conductive.
Moissanite isn’t unique as a stone that’s electrically conductive, there are a number of gemstones that share that quality, but, again, diamonds are not one of them. Having access to BOTH a Diamond Tester and a Moissanite Tester allows you to positively identify whether a particular stone is a diamond, Moissanite, or something else more consistently. If your Diamond Tester identifies a given stone as “diamond,” you’ll know that it’s either diamond or Moissanite. As a subsequent test, If your Moissanite Tester indicates that the stone is ‘Moissanite,’ you’ll have a positive identification (that it is, in fact, Moissy)—otherwise, you can be certain it’s diamond.
Again, because of the limitations of the standard Diamond Tester, you’ll also need to purchase a stand-alone Moissanite tester in order to get conclusive results.
The Advantages of a Multi-Tester for Identifying Moissanite
Multi-testers are the combination of a diamond tester and moissanite tester in one compact tool. They measure BOTH thermal AND electrical conductivity. Multi-testers are obviously more expensive, but there’s a convenience to only needing to have one tool on hand in order to get the information that you need on a particular stone.
As with all the tools that I’ve referenced so far, quality matters A LOT! You’ll find a wide range of instruments being offered. Accuracy and durability are obviously important considerations. The cheapest one isn’t always the one you want. On the flip side, the most expensive one isn’t always the best route either. Reviews from past buyers can be a huge help a lot. As you read those, you’ll be able to quickly weed out the models that won’t be a good fit.
Basic diamond testers start at about $15. A quality tester runs about $120. Here’s a link to the diamond tester that offers the best overall value. It’s available on Amazon and is accurate, small, and durable.
Moissanite-only testers will likely cost a little more than $100. A multi-tester is probably a better way to go, overall, but this is the standalone Moissanite tester that I like best.
Most multi-testers start at about $250. Check out my favorite multi-tester on Amazon. It comes from a manufacturer with a solid reputation and offers the biggest bang for your buck, in my opinion.
Other Options for Testing Your Moissanite
You don’t always have to have a Diamond Tester and a Moissanite Tester (or a Multi Tester) in hand in order to differentiate diamond and Moissanite. There are a few simple tell-tale signs that you can look for to help you spot Moissanite when you don’t have your instruments with you.
You can look for signs of ‘double refraction’ through a jeweler’s loupe, for example, if you know what to look for. Double refraction happens when light is slowed, bent, and spit in two as it travels through certain stones. You only notice this characteristic when a trained eye views the stone under at least 10X magnification from the right angles (knowing what to look for). Double refraction makes the lines between facets look blurred and multiplied. When you look through a similar diamond, for example, from the same angle, you’d see one clean, sharp, line on the other side instead of multiple blurred lines.
Moissanite is intentionally cut so that it isn’t doubly refractive through the top (the table) of the stone. When you look through the table of a Moissanite stone, you’re viewing a singly refractive stone (from that angle). In order to witness the effect, you have to look just a little lower, through the crown-facet (the angled surface around the top portion of the ring … just below the flat table of the stone).
Moissanite isn’t alone in this interesting characteristic. The following stones are ALSO double refractive:
Critics of Moissanite (usually those selling diamonds or Cubic Zirconia), often talk about the double refractive properties of Moissanite as a bad thing. This is because double refraction is, at least partially, responsible for the abundance of colorful sparkle that Moissanite is known to produce.
The saying, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ comes to mind, because many faithful fans of Moissanite LOVE the fire (the colorful sparkle effect) that Moissanite produces. My mother is one that can NEVER get enough sparkle. Any characteristic that causes more sparkle is something she’s a big fan of! Double refraction doesn’t impact or diminish the beauty and charm of Moissanite in any way.
Another way to distinguish Moissanite from diamonds, without costly equipment, is by observing the amount of ‘fire’ that each stone has. In gemology, the term ‘fire’ refers to the colorful sparkles (or flashes) that you observe as you move the ring under light. A ring with a lot of colorful sparkles is said to be ‘fiery’. Diamonds have fiery properties, but they aren’t nearly as fiery as Moissanite.
Moissanites refractive index is considerably higher than diamond’s which is why Moissanite is more fiery.
- Diamond: 2.42
- Moissanite: 2.63
The fiery nature of Moissanite is best observed with larger stones, as they’re being exposed to natural lighting. Some people (again, like my mother) LOVE the added colorful sparkle, but others aren’t fans because they think it makes their diamond look a little different than diamond might under certain lighting conditions. Some people refer to the fiery nature of stones as the ‘disco ball effect’ or the ‘rainbow effect.’ Identifying Moissanite, based on the amount of fire displayed by a given stone, becomes much more difficult as the stone size decreases.
One other, fairly low-tech, way to distinguish diamonds from Moissanite, is by comparing weight and size measurements.
The size of diamonds is communicated in terms of ‘Carats,’ which is actually a weight measurement. One-carat equals 200 milligrams (mm). Moissanite weighs 15% to 18% less than a diamond of equal size. This difference in stone density is why the size of Moissanite is typically communicated in mm rather than carats. If both were communicated in carats, then a 1 carat Moissanite would always be physically larger than a 1-carat diamond, for example.
Based on all of this, if you weigh and measure a diamond or Moissanite, you should be able to clearly distinguish the two.
Standard diamond testers can’t be trusted to accurately, and reliably, identify Moissanite. You’ll need to add a separate Moissanite tester or get a multi-tool that tests both thermal and electrical conductivity, in order to get a dependable identification. If all else fails, there are also several low-tech ways that you can distinguish diamonds from Moissanite.
6 Ways You Can Tell a Lab Grown Diamond From a Natural One
Is Moissanite Good for an Engagement Ring? | 8 Useful Facts
It’s Pretty, But Is Moissanite a Good Diamond Alternative?
Does moissanite test as a diamond with a diamond tester? ›
Moissanite is a manmade stone that looks like diamond. Its significance is that it tests as 'diamond' on standard diamond testers. Therefore, if you have a low-cost diamond-only, you will also need a Moissanite tester (though it's far simpler to get a 'Multi' tester that tests for both).Are moissanite testers accurate? ›
Diamond testers are always accurate. However, the thermal diamond testers can be faulty when testing moissanite because it has a similar heat conductivity rate to natural diamonds. The other testers will work because moissanite has different electrical conductivity rates than natural diamonds.Can moissanite pass as a diamond? ›
That said, colorless and near-colorless Moissanite do look similar to Diamond. And, Moissanite is also the only gemstone (other than Diamond) that “passes” as a Diamond on a standard handheld diamond point tester.Can lab diamonds test as moissanite? ›
These typically blue (though not always; some may be colorless) lab-grown diamonds are electrically conductive and will test as Moissanite.Can a jeweler identify moissanite? ›
Using a jeweler's loupe for magnification, moissanite can be identified by the doubling of junction facets. In layman's terms, facets are flat surfaces cut into gemstones in order to best reflect light, and facet junctions are where these surfaces meet.What is the downside of moissanite? ›
They're Way Too Shiny. Moissanite has a crazy amount of sparkle. Its refractive index is higher than a natural diamond's, producing more shine and a special kind of fiery rainbow brilliance. While some people go crazy for these sparkles, others turn up their noses at them.Which moissanite is closest to a diamond? ›
If you're buying Moissanite it will most likely be listed as colorless. This is the equivalent of a DEF color diamond. Some Moissanite brands like Charles and Colvard sell a near-colorless Moissanite that is the equivalent of a GHI color diamond.Is moissanite graded like diamonds? ›
Moissanite grading uses a color grading scale that is based upon the GIA diamond color grading scale. There are three grades of moissanite available today: colorless (D-E-F range), near-colorless (G-H-I range) and with faint hues of color (J-K range).Does a 2 carat moissanite look fake? ›
Yes, moissanite looks very similar to a diamond. It's near-colorless, has a similar refractive index to a diamond and the GIA deems moissanite the closest diamond imitation. Many jewelers consider moissanite a diamond alternative, not an imitation, though you will find plenty of that language on the internet.Is there a certificate for moissanite? ›
How is Moissanite Graded for Clarity? Each stone is certified by a graduate gemologist who themselves have been certified by the world renowned Gemological Institute of America. Each Charles & Colvard gem is looked at by a trained grading specialist using a 10x jewelers loupe.
Does moissanite pass the fog test? ›
Diamond and moissanite shouldn't fog up for more than a couple seconds, but other imitations will! However, this test isn't perfect. First, there's no set amount of time that a diamond will fog up. Ambient temperature and humidity could also change the results of the test.Can people tell if your ring is moissanite? ›
The most effective way to tell Moissanite apart from a diamond is to use a loupe to look through the top, or the crown, of the jewel at an angle. You will see two slightly blurred lines that indicates a double refraction, an inherent quality of Moissanite. Double refraction is easier to see in some shapes than others.Why is moissanite not as popular? ›
Given the circumstance of this gem's origin, natural Moissanite is not available to be mined and astronomically expensive to source. When the idea of engagement rings became popular around 1910, Diamond had enough natural supply in the mines around the world to meet the demands of the newly adopted proposal culture.Who has the highest quality moissanite? ›
Forever One Moissanite is considered the most premium brand of Moissanite available. Forever One Moissanites are created by Charles & Colvard, a USA based company. It is the original creator of Moissanite gems, and has more experience with creating and faceting Moissanite gems than any company on earth.Why is moissanite so cheap now? ›
Moissanite is cheaper than diamonds because it is created in a lab. Rather than going through countless hands and endless red tape, it is created on-demand in the exact quantity, quality, and location that the company requests. This is a tremendous cost-savings for jewellery shops and brands.Does moissanite lose its sparkle? ›
One of the most appealing properties of moissanite is its high refractive index and unmatched shine. Regardless, you may begin to notice that over time that your moissanite just isn't sparkling like it used to. Don't worry, a gradual build-up of grime is normal and simply a sign that your ring is ready for a cleaning.Does moissanite hold its value? ›
The short answer is yes! Many people are mistaken in thinking that a diamond is an investment. Sadly, a used diamond is like a used car, the minute you buy it the value goes down.What does D grade mean in moissanite? ›
Forever One Colorless Moissanite
It has a color grading of D-E-F, meaning it's considered colorless by GIA standards. If you are looking for a white/colorless stone set in white gold setting, Forever One Colorless Moissanite is the right choice for your dream engagement ring.
For example, moissanite, a man made gem, may pass as a diamond on a standard tester pen. This is because moissanite also has very high thermal conductivity! Other diamond simulants, such as CZ, will not pass the tester.Do Lab diamonds pass a diamond test? ›
Will Lab Diamonds Pass A Diamond Tester? Yes, lab diamonds have the same carbon composition as natural diamonds. Therefore, they have the same thermal conductivity. The test results are positive when exposed to the diamond tester, since the diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds.
Does GIA certified moissanite? ›
Developed by the GIA, the diamond color chart gives each diamond a color rating ranging from a completely colorless D to yellow-tinged Z. Moissanite cannot be directly graded on the diamond color chart, however, natural moissanite is comparable to a GIA-certified K-color diamond.Do lab grown diamonds test as real diamonds? ›
Because lab grown diamonds do have all the same properties of natural, mined diamonds, they will test as real on a diamond tester.Can a jeweler tell the difference between moissanite and diamond? ›
The most effective way to tell Moissanite apart from a diamond is to use a loupe to look through the top, or the crown, of the jewel at an angle. You will see two slightly blurred lines that indicates a double refraction, an inherent quality of Moissanite.
Professional jewelers and gemologists cannot tell the difference between a lab created diamond and a natural one just by looking at it with the naked eye. They will have to use a microscope to look for the tiny differences in its inclusions that indicate how it was formed.What stone tests diamond? ›
A number of white gems can have a diamond-like appearance. Common diamond simulants include cubic zirconia, white zircon, white topaz, white sapphire, moissanite, white spinel, quartz (rock crystal), and glass. However, these gems all have different physical, chemical, and optical properties.Why are some moissanite so cheap? ›
Moissanite is cheaper than diamonds because it is created in a lab. Rather than going through countless hands and endless red tape, it is created on-demand in the exact quantity, quality, and location that the company requests. This is a tremendous cost-savings for jewellery shops and brands.What's the difference between a lab grown diamond and moissanite? ›
Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, made of the same material and graded on the same scale as mined diamonds. Moissanite is a diamond simulant that is graded differently and of lesser value. Consumers who choose moissanite jewelry often feel good that their gemstone didn't require mining.Do lab created diamonds turn yellow? ›
No need to worry about your ring turning yellow. Your lab diamond will stay as white as it is forever. Because it's a real diamond, you can trust that it's as durable as its mined counterparts. It will never turn yellow or change color over time.