It is typical for people to look for diamond simulants instead of purchasing real ones.
While the reasons may vary, the prices of these simulants are more affordable than natural diamonds.
Whatever your reasons are, there are many options available if you are looking for a gemstone that looks like a diamond but is not one.
You may already know that diamonds are known for their shine and durability and it is not easy to find something that can come close to matching these criteria.
However, there are two important natural gemstones that look like real diamonds and can work as good substitutes – Moissanite and White Sapphire.
In this article, we will discuss some important differences between these two gemstones.
Diamond Simulants – What Are They?
Before we learn more about the differences between Moissanite and White Sapphire, let us first look into the basics.
Also called simulated diamond, a diamond simulant can be described as a diamond alternative or imitation diamond that has similar gemological characteristics to those of a real diamond.
As you can guess by the name, these simulants are often used to imitate real diamonds in jewelry production.
While these simulants may look like real diamonds, they have different physical properties and chemical structures when compared to a diamond.
If you are trained in the art of gems and have the right equipment, you will be able to tell the differences between the simulants and a real diamond, even by inspecting it visually.
There are two types of diamond simulants – natural and synthetic. Natural diamond simulants include topaz, zircon, and quartz.
On the other hand, some classic examples of synthetic diamond simulants include GGG (Gadolinium Gallium Garnet), YAG (Yttrium Aluminum Garnet), Strontium Titanate, Rutile, Spinel, White Sapphire, Moissanite, and Cubic Zirconia.
You should also know that lab-grown diamonds, also known as cultivated or synthetic diamonds, cannot be categorized under diamond simulants.
These lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical composition and crystal structure as natural diamonds.
Similarly, the physical and optical properties of the two are identical as well.
The only difference between the two is that natural diamonds are mined from the earth while synthetic ones are created in laboratories.
What Is Moissanite?
As mentioned previously, both Moissanite and White Sapphires are two different diamond simulants that can replace diamonds.
However, before we can get into the differences between the two, let us first learn about both.
Moissanite is a near-colorless gemstone made of silicon carbide. The simulant was first discovered by the French scientist, Henri Moissan in a crater of a fallen meteor.
While the moissanite does look very similar to a diamond, there are some quite noticeable differences.
For instance, diamonds compose of carbons while Moissanites are made of pure silicon carbide, which is a naturally-occurring mineral.
However, moissanite is quite rare, and using its natural form for jewelry is almost impossible. Hence, most of the minerals are produced by laboratories.
Now, let us look into some differences between diamonds and moissanite:
When you look from afar, you may not notice the color difference between a diamond and moissanite.
However, you will notice significant differences when you look up close. If you want to grade diamonds, you will have to do it on a GIA Color Scale from D to Z.
However, color categorization does not apply in the case of moissanite. Additionally, moissanite is not colorless and will scale to K-grade in the GIA color scale.
Similar to diamonds, moissanite is typically imperfect. You will see small inclusions and blemishes when you view the mineral under magnification.
The scale used to grade the clarity of diamonds can also be used to grade moissanite.
You also need to understand that the moissanite clarity grade is not provided by the AGS, GIA, or any other gemological body – instead, the certification is provided by the seller or manufacturer.
In most cases, the clarity of moissanite is nearly as flawless as a diamond.
Moissanites, similar to diamonds, are available in a wide range of cuts.
You can purchase moissanite in various cuts like radiant, princess, cushion, pear, oval, round, etc. In most cases, moissanite is cut in a round shape.
Moissanite measures 9.25 on the Mohs hardness scale, while a diamond scores a perfect 10.
As we already know, diamonds are very resilient and durable, which makes them perfect for engagement rings and daily wear.
They are more resistant to daily scratches that can, otherwise, damage softer stones.
However, moissanite is also quite durable. With a score of 9.25, you can only scratch moissanite using a diamond or another piece of moissanite.
The brilliance between a diamond and moissanite is another obvious difference between the two.
Generally, moissanite will have more brilliance than a diamond. Brilliance is the term used to define the sparkle of the gem.
Moissanites are refractive, which means that the mineral is cut differently than diamonds.
Since moissanite has double the dispersion value of a diamond, it will have more display of spectral colors.
You will see a rainbow-like effect when you rotate the stone; on the other hand, a diamond will only reflect whiter light.
What Is White Sapphire?
Typically, sapphires are mostly available in different shades of blue; however, they also exist in various other colors, including white.
The white sapphire variant has been used as a diamond simulant for years now. However, there are some subtle differences between the two.
White sapphires are known to have an aura of unique charm, which helps them stand taller than other types of colorless stones.
These stones are mostly mined; however, they can also be manufactured in a laboratory.
White sapphires are perfect alternatives to diamonds because they sell for a lower price.
Additionally, these gems do not have to go through the Kimberley Process, something which is done in the case of diamonds.
Now, let us look into some differences between diamonds and white sapphire:
For a white sapphire, the color is of utmost importance. The more colorless the gem is, the better.
The fire and brilliance of the sapphire do not matter as much as diamonds. This is because sapphire is known to offer less sparkle than diamonds.
All you need to do is look through the stone with your naked eyes. You need to ensure that the color is consistent throughout the stone.
With more consistency, a white sapphire will have more value.
A white sapphire will sparkle; however, it will not sparkle in the same colorful and dazzling manner as a diamond.
Overall, diamonds are much better in the terms of clarity, thanks to their mirror-like facets.
Meanwhile, white sapphires will also look similar; however, you will notice a milky and cloudy quality of the gem when you examine it more closely.
When it comes to cut, a well-cut diamond will have more scintillation, dispersion, and brilliance than a white sapphire.
This means that the diamond will have more light sparkles, have more colorful flashes, and will look brighter than a well-cut sapphire.
In the case of white sapphires, these gems will always look softer than diamonds.
When it comes to selecting any one of these two on the basis of cut, you will have to decide which one looks more appealing to you.
When it comes to hardness and durability, white sapphire loses to the diamond – but, only by a small fraction.
As we already know, diamonds are the world’s hardest minerals that occur naturally. This makes them highly resistant to blemishes and scratches.
However, white sapphire is also known to be very durable and resilient. It is often compared with diamonds, which speaks volumes about the hardness.
In short, it is safe to say that they can withstand a lot.
There is no doubt that white sapphires are extremely beautiful. However, they do not have the sheer brilliance of a diamond.
One reason why a diamond is more brilliant than a white sapphire is the dispersion.
Dispersion can be defined as the way different light wavelengths pass through the stone, which results in a wide range of sparkling colors.
White sapphires do not possess this type of brilliance quality and will look comparatively dull when you place them next to a diamond.
Moissanite Vs White Sapphire – What Are The Differences?
As mentioned before, moissanite and white sapphires are considered the best alternatives to diamonds.
However, there are some significant differences between the two gems.
If you do not have any clue on how to choose the right one, you can consider the following comparison between moissanite and white sapphire to make the best decision:
Moissanite and white sapphires are known to be cut in the most effective style, which means that the brilliance of both gems will be maximized.
But white sapphire has an extra layer of corundum and rutile known as luster.
Meanwhile, moissanite simply has a layer of zirconium oxide, which is a crystal-like structure created by its coating.
Depending on what you are looking for, you can select either of the options. This is because both gems will require special care to maintain their sparkle.
Overall, the white sapphire looks very different from the moissanite. While the latter will have a clean and clear look, the color of the former may not appear as clear or bright.
Additionally, there will also be some significant differences in transparency. Since moissanite is more transparent, it will allow more light to pass through.
Meanwhile, the transparency of the white sapphire will range from translucent to opaque.
In terms of shine and luster, it is safe to say that both the gems will have very different and distinctive appearances.
One of the most common differences between white sapphires and moissanite is the hardness.
The hardness of a gem is defined as how well it can resist scratches and blemishes. It is measured in the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Based on this scale, the hardness of the white sapphire and the moissanite are 9 and 9.5 respectively.
Both the moissanite and the white sapphire are capable of lasting for a very long time.
However, it has been found that the moissanite is a bit stronger than the sapphire. In fact, the toughness of moissanite can be compared with titanium.
Meanwhile, white sapphire is only as tough as calcite. This implies that white sapphire is more susceptible to scratches and blemishes than moissanite.
If you are looking for something that is more resistant and durable, you can opt for moissanite.
Even though white sapphire is rarer than moissanite, they are also quite a popular choice for wedding and/or engagement rings.
Since they are more difficult to find, they tend to be more expensive.
However, moissanite is more readily available, which means that they are more pocket-friendly than sapphire.
Final Thoughts: Moissanite vs White Sapphire
When it comes to cost, appearance, and durability, the moissanite is a much better alternative to white sapphire.
However, white sapphire has always been the preferred choice for weddings and engagements.
If you are looking for a natural and earthy gem that is just as rare as diamonds, you can always opt for white sapphires.
However, if you are looking for the high-quality sparkle of a diamond, then the moissanite is the best choice.
Overall, the gem you choose will depend on your preferences and needs. If you have any questions and queries, you can leave them in the comment section below.