Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia: Which is Better?

Last Updated: October 23, 2021

Jason

Jason

There are a lot more couples these days that are opting for moissanite or cubic zirconia as opposed to a diamond ring. However, what do we know about these alternatives, and are they going to fill the gap sufficiently?
Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia: Which is Best?
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One of the things that is becoming more and more common among younger couples looking to tie the knot is spending less on their wedding overall, and this includes the engagement ring.

Back in the day, it was normal to consider spending up to three month’s wages on your engagement ring, but now, this is unrealistic.

Especially if you plan on spending upwards of $10,000 on your wedding, you’re not going to have too much left in the bank for that diamond. The other thing to think about is the aftermath.

There are a lot of younger couples that go into debt as a result of their wedding, debt that can leave a trail for years.

Now that more and more couples are turning away from expensive weddings and expensive wedding rings, more and more are considering alternatives to diamonds.

One of the easiest ways to be able to afford getting married is to pass up on the diamond ring.

There are a lot more couples these days that are opting for moissanite or cubic zirconia as opposed to a diamond ring. However, what do we know about these alternatives, and are they going to fill the gap sufficiently?

Let’s compare the two most popular diamond ring alternatives so that you can decide whether you need to cut back on your wedding costs with a diamond alternative in the future.

Biggest Differences Between Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite

Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia

The biggest differences between cubic zirconia and moissanite are:

  • Moissanite is made from silicon carbide, and cubic zirconia is made from zirconium dioxide
  • Moissanite diamonds are a lot harder on the Mohs scale, coming in at 9.5, whereas cubic zirconia is going to come in at 8.5
  • Moissanite is more expensive than cubic zirconia

Have Diamonds Always Been the Preferred Choice?

Engagement rings were a thing back in ancient Egyptian days, but it wasn’t until the 1400s that diamonds were considered for a wedding ring.

Even then, they didn’t garner widespread popularity until the 1800s, when they were mined in South Africa for the first time.

DeBeers controlled 90% of the diamond market, and by the time the roaring forties came around, diamond engagement rings were incredibly popular and being sold in America.

They became the gold standard for engagement rings.

Why Are They so Popular?

Diamonds have a long, marked history, and there are many reasons for this. The first of course is their appearance – they are brilliant with white or clear scintillation. They are also one of the hardest gems that you can source, with 10 on the Mohs scale.

They are also known for being able to withstand high temperature levels, and a lot of them are resistant to wear and tear, like chipping and scratching.

Lastly, diamonds are incredibly valuable, and there are many that like the idea of a diamond being valuable and timeless as a way to symbolise love. One of the best parts is that they can be passed down to the next generation as well.

Are They Decreasing in Popularity?

Diamonds are still incredibly popular when considering them for your engagement ring, but there is a trend of people looking for a diamond alternative, especially among the younger generation that might not have as much money to spend, or just don’t want to spend as much as their parents did on their wedding in general.

Other engagement rings have been rising in popularity over the last few years, especially considering that they are a unique way to express your style.

The younger generation are also thinking about spending their money in other ways, like on a home or a car.

The average cost of an engagement ring seems to be on the rise as well, which is why there are so many people considering what their alternatives are.

What is the Stigma Associated with Moissanite or Cubic Zirconia?

Regardless of trends, there is going to be skepticism when thinking about diamond alternatives. Some people believe that diamonds are just too precious, and alternatives aren’t going to cut it.

Acceptance of alternatives is growing, but it’s going to take a while longer to drop the stigma around diamond replacements that might not be the exact same.

Why are Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite Popular Alternatives?

Besides them being cheaper options, the other thing that makes cubic zirconia and moissanite appealing alternatives to diamonds is their appearance.

They both look very similar to a diamond, and they both yield a high degree of brilliance.

However, there are some things that are different between moissanite and cubic zirconia which we are going to talk about soon.

What Should I Think About When Considering Moissanite or Cubic Zirconia?

Moissanite

When comparing the two stones, there is going to be a bit of overlap, but both offer unique features that set them apart at the same time.

For those that don’t know a lot about either, you are going to think that they are pretty similar when you see them for the first time.

Price

When thinking about price, it is hard to compare the rings themselves, so we’ve got to look at the price per carat.

Price isn’t going to be the only factor, and you will want to consider other things at the same time.

Cut

Cut is how the gemstone has been cut, and holds a lot of weight when it comes to appearance and brilliance.

Depending on the gem, there might be a bit of emphasis on certain types of cuts, while some gems can’t be cut in the same way as diamonds.

Round cuts tend to produce a good degree of brilliance, but they also tend to be the most expensive. Asscher and emerald cuts are known for less brilliance, but they are more subtle with their shine.

Lastly, fancy cuts, like oval and pear, tend to showcase the bow tie effect.

Durability

This is how hardy the gem is.

  • Temperature resistance: this might or might not be an important thing to consider when deciding on your ring, but there are some gems out there that are going to suffer if they are exposed to certain temperatures
  • Chemical resistance: This of course is only going to be an issue for those that work in an industrial environment, and can expect everyday exposure.
  • Scratch resistance: This can be measured by the Mohs scale, with ten being the most resistant to scratches, and one the least. Diamonds are considered 10.
  • Chip resistance: this is measured by the fraction abrasion scale.
  • Brilliance: when we talk about diamonds, we are often thinking about the brilliance of the stone. Brilliance is how light is reflected off the surface, so how much it sparkles.
  • Resemblance to a diamond: this can work both ways. Some look at gems as a direct replacement of a diamond, and so want them to resemble a diamond closely. Others are looking for something that is going to be quite different in appearance.

What do Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite Have That is Similar?

You are going to see a bit of an overlap in other categories, but one factor that resembles cubic zirconia and moissanite closely is that they are both simulants.

This means that they don’t share the same properties of natural gems, the way that a gem might if it has been grown in a lab.

How Do They Compare?

Now that we have set out some basic comparison methods, let’s take a look at how these two diamond alternatives compare.

Price

Moissanite is a lot less expensive than a diamond.

In fact, there is some moissanite out there that is going to cost you 90% less than a diamond, which means that the most common price of a moissanite gem is $600 per carat.

Cubic Zirconia is also an incredibly affordable option. It is just $20 per carat.

What Colors Do They Come in?

Colors are dependent on personal style and taste.

When it comes to diamonds, people generally prefer them to be clear, however there are some rare diamonds out there that are blue and even pink.

Moissanite comes in almost all the same colors as diamonds, which means that they come in pink, yellow, gold, blue, purple – the list goes on.

Moissanite Colors

As far as cubic zirconia is concerned, they also come in a wide variety of different colors, including amber, golden brown, pink, yellow and aqua.

How Do They Compare in Terms of Clarity?

Clarity is the level of transparency. The higher the clarity, the more appealing it is.

Cubic Zirconia is known for always having a high level of clarity, because it usually resembles a diamond. When it comes to moissanite, it is also known for having a high level of clarity.

So, both have good levels of clarity, but moissanite is considered slightly better.

What Are the Most Common Cuts?

With cubic zirconia, you can expect a number of different cuts, including emerald, pear, princess, round, triangle, radiant, and heart.

With moissanite, you can expect pear, cushion, radiant, square, oval and heart.

What About Durability?

Let’s talk about another important factor when considering these diamond alternatives: durability.

Temperature

Moissanite is known for being able to withstand high levels of temperature, and fluctuations in temperature. Cubic zirconia is also heat resistant.

Chemical

Both are considered highly resistant to chemical exposure, and don’t tarnish easily.

Chip

Another concern is whether the gem is resistant to being chipped. Moissante is considerably chip resistant, although it is less resistant than diamonds.

Cubic zirconia is more brittle, which means that it is more vulnerable to chipping. Another issue is that with cubic zirconia you can expect a lot of imperfections.

Hardness

Hardness is the overall durability. Moissanite is rated 9 and a ¼ on the Mohs scale, while cubic zirconia is an 8 and a ½.

Another thing to think about with cubic zirconia is that it picks up oils and dirt, which means that it needs more cleaning.

Brilliance

Moissanite has a high level of brilliance, whereas zirconia tends to have rounded edges, meaning that the surface of a moissanite gem is better for light reflection.

Some say that if a gem has too high of a brilliance, it is actually easy to tell that it isn’t a real diamond.

How Closely do Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite Resemble Diamonds?

Of course, not everyone is looking for a clone of a diamond, so if this is the case, then you might want to go for cubic zirconia.

They are quite different in appearance from diamonds because they have smooth edges, and they are pure white, as opposed to diamonds that are slightly yellow.

Moissanite is slightly different to a diamond as well, with sharper edges, and a more colored appearance.

Which is the Better Investment?

We think that moissanite is superior to cubic zirconia. Zirconia is going to end up saving you a bit of money initially, but we think that long-term it’s going to be better to invest your money in moissanite.

Where Can I Buy Moissanite?

Moissanite

We believe that the best place to buy moissanite engagement rings and gems is Zulre.

They have the biggest range of moissanite stones, and the best part is that you can customize your ring to resemble exactly what you want.

They are online and they offer free shipping as well as a really solid returns policy.

FAQs

Is Moissanite a Real Diamond?

No, it’s not a real diamond, it’s grown in a lab and can’t be distinguished from a diamond with the naked eye. It is a simulant.

Is a Moissanite Worth Buying?

Yes, but just know that if you ever want to sell it, it’s not going to have the same value as a diamond.

Can I Pass Off My Moissanite as a Diamond?

Yes, most people won’t be able to tell the difference between a moissanite gem and a diamond.

Does a Moissanite Get Cloudy?

Yes, moissanites can get cloudy with frequent wear and tear, so you need to make sure that you keep it away from chemicals and creams that might affect its appearance.

The good news is that you can easily clean your moissanite ring with water and soap.

Written by Jason

Hi! I’m the editor at EarthWeb. I have a deep interest in technology and business. I also enjoy testing products out. Contact me to be featured!