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Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Moissanite: Natural Diamond Alternatives

What is moissanite and what is a lab-grown diamond? Are they the same thing? Are they different? What are the differences between these two gemstones? Which should you choose for your engagement ring center stone? 

As we predicted in our Engagement Ring Trend Predictions For 2022, natural diamond alternatives are an increasing trend among engagement ring and fine jewelry shoppers. Luckily, there are plenty of natural diamond alternatives from which to choose including lab-grown diamonds and moissanite.

Get ready to dive into the nitty-gritty details where we offer you a detailed comparison between moissanite and lab-grown diamond gemstones. From color grades and cut styles to carat weight and price comparisons, we answer all of your questions about lab-grown diamonds vs. moissanite. 

What is Moissanite?

6.5MM Round Moissanite | F1 Color

French scientist Henri Moissan encountered moissanite in 1893 while examining various rock samples in a meteor crater. Moissan initially believed he extracted diamond minerals from the crater site; upon closer examination of the mineral samples, Moissan discovered that these samples were composed of silicon carbide rather than pure carbon. In honor of Henri Moissan’s discovery, this new mineral was named “moissanite.” 

Natural moissanite is exceptionally rare, generally secluded to meteor sites and Wyoming’s Green River Formation. The moissanite you encounter as a diamond substitute in engagement rings and fine jewelry today is not the naturally occurring mineral discovered by Henri Moissan, but rather a man-made synthetic version of silicon carbide. In other words, lab-grown moissanite.

Moissanite is durable and brilliant with an affordable price tag making it an increasingly popular alternative for natural diamonds. 

What is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

2.03ct Round Lab-Grown Diamond

F Color | VS2 Clarity

Lab-grown diamonds were first produced for industrial use in the 1950s. Gem quality lab-created diamonds entered the market in the early 2010s and have increased in popularity over the past few years. 

Lab-grown diamonds are physically, optically, and chemically identical to natural diamonds. In fact, the FTC identifies lab-grown diamonds as “real” diamonds, and only highly trained gemologists using specialized equipment can distinguish between these two gemstones. The only difference between natural diamonds and lab-created diamonds is that natural diamonds are formed over billions of years deep below the Earth’s surface while lab-grown diamonds are created in a simulated laboratory environment using cutting-edge technology. 

Since natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds are identical in chemical and physical composition, lab-grown diamonds are produced with the same wide range of cut, color, clarity, and carat weights as natural diamonds. Subsequently, lab-created diamonds are also graded by the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) 4Cs. 

See if you can figure out which diamond is natural and which diamond is lab-grown on our Instagram!

Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Moissanite

While moissanite and lab-grown diamonds may appear similar in appearance to the untrained eye, there are many differences between these two natural diamond alternatives. 

To start, moissanite is composed of silicon carbide whereas lab-grown diamonds (and natural diamonds) are composed of carbon. Each gemstone’s chemical composition contributes to the overall hardness or durability of the stone. On the Mohs Scale of Hardness, lab-created diamonds receive a 10 rating alongside natural diamonds, the highest durability of any mineral. Moissanite is not too far behind with a 9.25 rating. Hardness is an important feature, which determines how resistant your gemstone is to scratching, chipping, and other normal wear and tear of daily activities. 

Moissanite has far more brilliance and fire than a lab-grown diamond making this gemstone ultra sparkly with plenty of rainbow light. While lab-grown diamonds have plenty of fire, particularly with brilliant cuts, if you place moissanite and a lab-created diamond side-by-side, it is clear which gemstone has more brilliance. 

Radiant Cut Moissanite Double Edge Halo Three-Row Band Ring

2.17 carat Lab-Grown Radiant Cut Diamond Halo Ring

Oval Moissanite Super Slim Band Engagement Ring

3.20 carat Lab Grown Oval Diamond Signature Wrap Engagement Ring

The difference in chemical composition may be the most obvious difference between these two gemstones. However, as we dive into prominent features that tend to influence engagement ring and fine jewelry selections, the differences between moissanite and lab-grown diamonds become more apparent. 

The Four Cs

As we mentioned earlier, lab-grown diamonds are graded on the same scale as natural diamonds. Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight or “the Four Cs” influence the quality or value of lab-created diamonds, as with natural diamonds. Moissanite, however, is graded on an entirely different and less rigorous scale. 

Although moissanite is not graded by the Four Cs, it is helpful to dive into each “C” to describe the discrepancies between these two gemstones. 


Lab-grown diamonds and moissanite are produced in the same wide range of cuts as natural diamonds from the round “brilliant” cut to the marquise. Lab-created diamonds, however, receive a cut grade from the GIA while moissanite gemstones do not. 

Elongated Cushion Cut Moissanite Pave Prong Engagement Ring

Oval Moissanite Two-Tone Engagement Ring

2.10 carat Pear Shape Lab Diamond Pave Engagement Ring


Natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds are graded on the same GIA color scale, which includes colorless (D-F), near colorless (G-J), faint yellow (K-M), very light yellow (N-R), and light yellow (S-Z). Lab-grown diamonds with a colorless or near colorless grade are the most popular among our clients. 

When choosing moissanite for your engagement ring center stone or fine jewelry piece, you can choose between Premium or Super Premium quality. Moissanite with a Premium quality grade is equivalent to a near colorless diamond while Super Premium moissanite is equivalent to a colorless diamond. Moissanite by nature is a colorless gemstone; you will very rarely find moissanite with more color than a comparable near colorless lab-grown diamond. 


Moissanite is created in a carefully controlled laboratory environment that will always produce an eye-clean gemstone with perfect clarity and minimal imperfections. Lab-grown diamonds, by nature of their simulated environment, will produce the same types of imperfections or “inclusions” as natural diamonds. Both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite receive a similar clarity grade, which will contribute to the value of the gemstone. 


Lab-grown diamonds are measured by carat weight, which will largely determine the cost of the stone. Moissanite, on the other hand, is measured in millimeters. For example, a 6.5mm moissanite is equivalent to a 1 carat diamond and an 8.5mm moissanite is equivalent to a 2 carat diamond. 

2.20 carat Lab-Grown Radiant Diamond Solitaire Ring

Radiant Cut Moissanite Cathedral Band Ring


Price is an important factor when choosing a center stone for your engagement ring or fine jewelry. Natural diamonds are the most expensive gemstone, while natural diamond alternatives like lab-grown diamonds and moissanite are priced substantially lower. 

Both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite are wonderful, budget-friendly natural diamond alternatives. Lab-grown diamonds are priced anywhere from 50% to 70% less than natural diamonds with cut, color, clarity, and carat weight determining the final price tag. Moissanite is the least expensive of the two gemstones priced around 90% less than natural diamonds depending on size and Premium or Super Premium color grade. 

Endure the Test of Time with Lauren B Jewelry

Moissanite and lab-grown diamonds are high-quality natural diamond alternatives that are as beautiful as they are affordable. 

Our design consultants are here to guide you through every step of the engagement ring, wedding band, or fine jewelry shopping process. Equipped with decades of experience in the jewelry industry and vast knowledge of gemstones, our Lauren B team will work with you to source and design a beautiful keepsake that will endure the test of time. 

For general inquiries or specific information regarding moissanite or lab-grown diamonds, you can email [email protected].