Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Moissanite

As consumers increasingly seek alternative options to mined diamonds, the market for lab-grown gemstones continues to expand. Our customers often inquire about the differences between two popular options: lab-grown diamonds and moissanite. Although both choices provide cost-effective sparkle, let's examine their unique features from a jeweler's standpoint.

Lab-grown diamonds possess the same chemical composition and crystal structure as mined diamonds on a molecular level. The exceptional hardness and brilliance of diamonds stem from their unique carbon composition and growth process. In comparison, moissanite's chemical structure consists of silicon carbide, which results in its toughness but inability to match the unparalleled hardness of diamond's crystallized carbon.


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Comparison table of lab diamond and moissanite characteristics

Characteristic Lab Diamond Moissanite
Composition Pure carbon Silicon carbide
Hardness 10 (hardest material) 9.25 (nearly as hard as diamond)
Refractive Index 2.42 2.65-2.69 (higher brilliance/fire)
Dispersion 0.044 0.104 (more rainbow colors)
Specific Gravity 3.52 3.21 (lighter)
Thermal Conductivity High High
Occurrence Man-made Man-made
Color Colorless to light yellow Colorless to light yellow
Clarity VS-SI VS (minor inclusions)
Cut Excellent to Very Good Excellent to Very Good
Cost $$-$$$$ $-$$
Resale Value Higher Lower
Carbon Source Atmospheric carbon Not applicable

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When evaluating optics, moissanite’s higher refractive index produces more colorful fire than a diamond’s. While beautiful, perceptive clients may notice these tints veer slightly too yellow-green or prismatic at times. The subtle tones and inclusions of a quality lab-grown diamond provide a more natural-looking sparkle.

When asked, sellers can provide clients with GIA or AGS grading reports, thus giving assurance that their diamond or moissanite meets the highest standards.


GIA grading characteristics for lab diamonds and lab moissanite

Grading Characteristic Lab Diamond GIA Grading Lab Moissanite GIA Grading
Color D-Z (colorless to light yellow) D-H (colorless to near colorless)
Clarity FL (flawless), IF (internally flawless), VVS1-VVS2 (very very slightly included 1-2), VS1-VS2 (very slightly included 1-2), SI1-SI2 (slightly included 1-2), I1-I3 (included 1-3) VS (very slightly included)
Cut Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
Polish Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
Symmetry Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
Fluorescence None, Faint, Medium, Strong (blue more valued) Faint or none
Table % 53-63% 54-57%
Total Depth % 58-63% >58%
Crown Angle 34° 30-35°
Pavilion Angle 40.6°-41.8° Not graded
Girdle Slightly thick — slightly thin Slightly thick – slightly thin
Culet None, Pointed, Slightly large Pointed

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Current demand data for lab moissanite and lab diamonds

Category Lab Moissanite Lab Diamonds
Market Size Projection $638 million by 2028 Over $20 billion by 2030
Growth Rate Rapid Strong but slower than moissanite
Key Growth Factors Price point, eco-friendly appeal Eco and ethical appeal, “real diamond” marketing
Primary Market Bridal/engagement rings Bridal/engagement rings
Secondary Market Fashion jewelry Fashion jewelry
Consumer Positioning Diamond alternative Eco-conscious diamond alternative
Price Point More budget-friendly Lower cost than mined

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Undoubtedly, the affordability of moissanite makes it appealing to the market, while lab-grown diamonds provide an alternative option at prices still achievable compared to natural diamonds. Additionally, their ability to retain value brings peace of mind to clients for the future. For many, this mid-range pricing strikes the perfect balance between affordability and investment protection.

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