Natural Diamonds vs Lab-Grown Diamonds vs Moissanite vs White Sapphire

Natural Diamonds vs Lab-Grown Diamonds vs Moissanite vs White Sapphire

Natural Diamonds vs Lab-Grown Diamonds vs Moissanite vs White Sapphire

Posted by Sharif Khan on 18th Apr 2019

James Allen

Are you shopping for a new jewelry or interested in buying an engagement ring? Some of the most popular precious stones that are being used in making engagement rings include natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, natural gemstones, white sapphires, and moissanite. However, there are significant differences in their brilliance as well as cost. In this article, will share comprehensive information about each of the listed stones in order to help you make the right decision before splashing out your hard earned cash.

James Allen

In a nutshell, here is Sharif’s core recommendation…

“Friends, I have worked with thousands of clients, including ones that had a very tight budget. I personally looked at many alternative options and here is what I have concluded. The best option by far is a natural un-enhanced diamond that is graded by GIA. In the second category, I would highly recommend Moissanite, especially for Forever One Mossanites. I would recommend lab-grown diamonds, but are expensive and not worth the extra price. A key reason that makes diamonds alluring to everyone is their naturalness. If you take that away, a lab-grown diamond is as good to me as a nice shiny glass or CZ. I also strongly do not recommend white sapphires. They are dull and lack fire and brilliance. I bought two white sapphire three years ago and set them in beautiful diamond settings, but didn’t even feel like selling them to our clients. Eventually, I removed them from the settings and through them away. It was a waste of money. Again, to sum it up, if you have a decent budget, buy a GIA graded natural diamond. If not, buy a nice Forever One Moissanite, it will be worth it. Watch the video below that we produced a couple of years ago where we show the difference between Moissanite and diamonds. I hope this helpful as it toke me a good two years to reach this conclusion after tirelessly wanting to find a good budget alternative to natural diamonds for our clients. That alternative to me is  Forever One Moissanite.”

  • 1.Diamonds...

Diamonds are considered to be among the widely used and most popular stones in the jewelry industry. Right from the first engagement ring made from diamond which was recorded back in 1477 to today, diamonds are always on high demand. Popularly known for their fire and sparkle, most people are known to spend lots of billions on jewelry made from diamond every year. The total amount spent in buying diamond rings is often more than all the other stones combined.

How Diamonds are formed

Diamonds do form naturally below the curst of the earth. At first, they start as carbon which is exposed to extreme high temperatures which is approximately 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and thereafter squeezed using immense pressure of around 725,000 pounds in every square inch. The hot rocks are thereafter blasted to the surface through the deep  eruptions of the volcano. They cool down at the surface retaining their shape.

After the diamond has surfaced, the natural form of the diamond is rough with milky skin which is responsible for hiding the spark inside. It is never easy to get precise cuts and it will take an experienced cutter to get cuts that will give the diamond the brightest shine.

The facets are known to work like mirrors which make light bounce in and out of the stones clearest part.

Durability

“Diamond Forever” is one of the most common slogans used in the world. This slogan not only symbolizes everlasting love but it is a real diamond without any limit to existence when taken good care of. A portion of the eternal appeal of the diamond lies in its durable nature. This means that indestructible or invincible, the diamond get to 10 on Mohs hardness scale making them the hardest known naturally found material on earth. This makes them scratch resistant not unless they get scratched by another diamond. They are also resistant to chipping and breaking. The diamonds are also known to be very stable since they do have the capacity to withstand extreme temperate and chemical changes. This makes diamond one of the greatest investments and will always be passed to the next generations.

Characteristics of Diamonds

Every diamond that comes from the earth will always be unique and will be issued with a value and identity depending on the following factors:

Diamonds are available in a wide range of colors from brown to yellow. However, most people are known to covet and recognize the colorless diamonds. Diamonds are known to have a very high brilliance, lots of fire and a 2.4 refractive index. Although this might appear to make diamonds perfect, there are other few natural features that also do. Several diamonds are known to have imperfections which are referred to as inclusions. The naturally made irregularities together with several other factors like carat weight, cut and color will affect the diamond cost. Although there are diamonds which are clearer that can be found at a steeper cost, lots of people are proud of their uniqueness and inclusion. The diamonds carat weight is an obvious factor for determining the value.

Reasons Why You Should Choose Diamond

Diamonds are considered to be among the most popularly and sought out engagement ring stones. In case you or your partner is interested in a durable, white and sparkly treasure which is naturally found in earth and you have enough budget and not interested in the stone’s origin, then diamond is the right stone for you. Diamonds do have extreme durability and refractive index making them last forever.

  • 2.The Lab-Grown Diamonds...

Most people are known to think that the lab-grown diamonds are never real diamonds. Although the lab-grown diamonds are never extracted from earth but are cultured from laboratories instead, their physical characteristics and chemical composition are usually similar to the diamonds.

This stone is known to be as great and as dazzling as the mined diamonds. The lab-grown diamonds are also known as synthetic diamonds due to their man made nature. However, there are people who feel that the word synthetic does not fit well to their diamond nature. The difference between a mined diamond and a lab-grown diamond is just their origin.

With the word synthetic being associated with consumers having imitation items, the artificial diamonds are made from same material type.

How Lab-grown Diamonds are made

Most of the lab-grown diamonds are usually grown using technique referred to as high pressure high temperature crystal formation or the chemical vapor deposition. The carbon atoms are removed from the carbon rich vapor found in the chamber. The crystal structure of the stone forms and is built up until diamond forms. This procedure can take up to three months for most of the lab-grown diamonds. There are times when it can take much longer. The natural diamonds do take several years to form.

Reasons Why You Should Choose the Lab-grown Diamonds

In case you are pleased with the sparkle, history and appearance of the diamond but you are concerned with the sustainable and ethical origin of the bling, then going for the lab-grown diamond is the best way out if interested in an engagement ring. With the lab-grown diamond, you will not only be getting a genuine diamond but you will also get to know the origin of your diamond since it was made from the laboratory. However, we need not to forget that the lab-grown diamonds are a bit expensive when compared to the mined diamonds.

  • 3.White Sapphire...

White Sapphire is used to refer to a colorless sapphire. Although most people do consider the sapphires to be of blue gemstones, they are available in a variety of colors such as yellow, white, green, and pink.

Being part of the corundum minerals family, the sapphires are an aluminum oxide type that consists of copper, iron, titanium and chromium traces. The minerals that are available in the composition of the stone will help in designating its color.

The white sapphires are normally used as a substitute of diamond thanks to their lower price and lack of color. From the cut perspective and color, the sapphire ring will provide a similar appearance to the diamond jewelry with only a few compromises.

The white sapphires are cheaper compared to the diamonds. In most cases, the white sapphires will always be grey or yellow stones which have been treated free or by use of chemicals. This means that they will undergo a particular procedure to help them achieve their clear color.

Despite there being natural white sapphires, they are very rare to come by. Majority of the natural sapphires are usually found in Africa, Southeast Asia and Western part of the US and in the Middle East.

We do have two main types of white sapphires used in making jewelry:

  • Lab created white sapphires
  • Natural white sapphires

Despite the white sapphires being clear in color, they are known to exhibit a cloudy white hue which offers one way to identify them when compared to the diamonds. These white sapphires do measure 9 on the hardness mohs scale making them among the most durable stones.

4C’S of White Sapphire

Diamonds are usually evaluated depending on their four C’s which are cut, color, clarity and carat. However, this is totally different in the white sapphires.

For instance, the GIA never grades the white sapphires but instead they will always offer a report containing basic details like treatment, color and carat weight. The 4C’S are important components which should always be considered although there are other features like saturation level, purity and color tone which must be looked into well.

The conventional standards used in white sapphire grading do not exist in the same way they do for diamonds. The subjective characteristics that vary from one individual to another instead of something which can be measured is the beauty of color.

It is because of this that it is widely recommended that the white sapphire be evaluated depending on how appealing it is to you without any form of magnification.

Cut

There are wide ranges of cutting styles that exist when talking about the colored gemstones. Grading scales and details of each cutting style and colored gemstone would be an unfruitful and large undertaking for any laboratory.

The laboratory grading system has never figured out the need of having most of the colored gemstones go through the standard grading cut.

It is important you take not of the following when analyzing the quality of the white sapphire’s cut.

You can consider having a lot at this stone without the window. Window is used in this context to refer to the stone’s back that is visible through the table. In case the window is available in the white sapphire, it will reveal that there is no color or light reflection.

The review symmetry grade will help in assessing the balance and proportions of the stone together with its length to width ratio.

Balance assess: check if the girdle is uneven and culet off center. All these factors will affect the balance of the white sapphire and it is advisable to consider them.

Consider the size of the table. It is important that you have a look for the white sapphire using a table size ranging 33-67%. This means the table will not be too large or too small for light to freely pass through.

Brilliance watch; it is important you consider if the light reflect and sparkle from the sapphire or if the stone is dull.

Color

Colored gemstone hue is one of the most sensitive elements you need to factor in when shopping for a white sapphire. The purer the white sapphire is the better it is. Fire and brilliance does not matter a lot in the white sapphires when compared to the diamonds. You should judge the color of the sapphire with what you see with your naked eye and the appeal of the stone. In case the color is consistent all through, then you should conclude that the stone is valuable. However, a white sapphire with uneven coloring will be less appealing.

Most of the white sapphires are color treated which makes them lesser expensive compared to the white sapphires that are naturally occurring. The stone can either be chemically or heat treated depending on the composition of the stone and desired effect.

Clarity

Gemstones that are colored tend to have more blemishes and inclusions than diamonds. However, majority can only be noticed under 10 x magnifications. In order to evaluate the clarity of the white sapphire, it is important that you closely review the stone using your own eyes in order to determine if there are any inclusions and blemishes visible and if they can take away from the overall beauty of the stone.

Carat

You need to remember that sapphire’s weight can also be referred to as carat. For example, a 1- carat sapphire will be equivalent to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams. This means that its weight is nearly the same as raisin quarter. With carat being used in measuring weight depending on the shape of the sapphire and how it has been cut, 2 one carat sapphires can be of totally different sizes. It is important for one to consider the weight of the carat although the overall beauty of the sapphire needs to carry more benefits.

Pricing and Rarity

Just like other types of gemstones, the white sapphires price does vary depending on their rarity, size and quality. By now, you are aware of how the rarity and size of the white sapphire is capable of affecting the price and the availability of the sapphire.

  • 4.Moissanite...

Moissanite is known to be among the rarest minerals that occur naturally. This stone was first discovered a century ago at a place where meteorite strikes in Arizona. It does have similar looks to diamonds. However, scientists managed to develop a thermal growing process aimed at creating silicon carbide crystals which makes the Moissanite in the laboratory.

Durability

Moissanite is known to be among the hardest gemstones currently available on earth. In terms of durability, it is only second to the diamonds. Moissanite is harder than stones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and a great option for our day to day wear. The moissanite is capable of withstanding day to day exposure and has great resistant to breaking or scratching. On Mohs scale, it has a 9.25 ranking. It is also a very tough stone hence can never cleave or chip easily. It is also capable of withstanding high temperatures and in a position to maintain sparkle.

Selecting the Moissanite Color

There are three color groups you can always choose from when selecting Moissanite to purchase. There is the colorless (D-E-F), there is the near colorless (G-H-I) and there is the slightly tinted (J-K). The gemstones which are colored are more desirable and are always premium.

Moissanite usually tends to have the brown, green or yellow tints; hence, it is always advisable for one to have a careful look at the stone before buying it. This will help in ensuring there are no any undesirable colors. In case you are interested in a colored Moissanite, getting one can at times be pretty difficult. Currently, the initial makers of Moissanite jewelry Colvard and Charles are known to offer only the green Moissanite although they didn’t have any listed on their website at the time of this writing.

Characteristics of a Moissanite

Carat Size of Moissanite

Despite having a similar look, Moissanite is known to be denser than the diamonds. This means it is heavier. When comparing the Moissanite and the diamond of same carat weight, the Moissanite will always be smaller in appearance. You will always notice that there are vendors who go for carat weight as others opt to take Moissanite measurements in millimeters when shopping for Moissanite.

Sparkle

Moissanite is known to have an excellent sparkle and is considered to be one of the greatest gemstones. This stone is known to have what is popularly known as the rainbow effect which is of colorful and fiery flash of color when viewing the stone under light. All this can be attributed to the high refractive index of Moissanite which is at 2.65.

Although this is never visible in the smaller stones, the larger Moissanite is capable of exhibiting stronger rainbow effect. In case this si something you would like to avoid, then the smaller stone will be suitable for you.

Clarity

Since Moissanite are created in the lab, there is always lots of control over the final product. Majority of the Moissanites are known to have faint inclusions. They are usually in shape of small and thread like inclusions which form during the creation process of the stone. In most cases, the flaws will only be visible through magnification and the stone will always appear eye clean.

Resale Value and Price

With Moissanite being considered as an alternative to the diamonds, never expect the stone to be cubic zirconia cheap. Since cubic Moissanite is a relatively affordable gemstone, when they are of high quality they are still in a position to command high prices. It does take lots of effort and it is resource consuming to create the Moissanite which is never cheap.

The Moissanite prices do vary depending on the quality and brand. However, in general, 1 carat colorless stone can cost approximately $ 600. The resale value of the Moissanite is never known at this stage since it is still a new gemstone. With the technology used in creating it still expanding and advancing, estimating its resale value is still difficult.

Reasons Why You Should Choose the Moissanite

  • 1.They are cheaper compared to other gemstones

For example, one carat of Moissanite goes for $600 while a near colorless one diamond carat costs $500. However, the Moissanite price will be determined by it is enhanced or not and the size. Going for an enhanced Moissanite means it has been subjected through a process that will make it whiter. Otherwise, the Moissanite tends to have a yellow tint in most cases. It is always advisable for one to research on Moissanite prices before they go shopping.

  • 2.Extreme Brilliance

Moissanites are known to be very sparkly. They are known to have an excellent refractive index. This will create a higher sparkle compared to that of the diamond. All the sparkles are rainbow colored instead of being colorless.

  • 3.Better Clarity

No moissanite will be sold unless clarity grade is VS or above. The grade means there are no any visible flaws. On the other hand, the diamonds do have flaws which can be seen using naked eyes.

  • 4.Ethically Created

The Moissanites are never mined from earth unlike the diamonds. In most cases, the moissanites will be grown in controlled lab environment. This will do away with the warfare and unfair labor practices. They do have a much smaller carbon footprint. All the reasons listed are what make the moissanites environmentally friendly engagement ring choice.

Natural Gemstones as an Alternative…

As you already know, a gemstone refers to a rock or a mineral that can be used in jewelry after faceting or cutting and polishing. The gemstones are known to have varying beauty features and most gems are available in a great variety of colors. The gemstones have been used in the jewelry industry for years. Diamonds are among the most popular gemstones although there are other types of gemstones that appear great in jewelry.

There are many varieties of gemstones and purchasing a gemstone or jewelry made from gemstone has never been an easy task. It is important for any aspiring buyer to first get some knowledge on gemstones together with their characteristics before making any purchase. You can always get a detailed guide on every gemstone aspect in our guide.

The tips mentioned below will be of great help in enabling one get the most suitable color stone. In most cases, people are known to consider the 4C’s which are clarity, color, carat and cut. However, the system of grading is not that uniform. The 4C’s will help in selecting the best gemstones.

Gemstone Color

  • When shopping for a colored gemstone, you should always prioritize the gemstone color. They should never be too light or too dark. The best gemstone is one with a pure, bright, rich, vivid color and intense color.
  • One best way you can always use to see the best gemstone color is by having a look at it against the white surface.
  • It is advisable that you always check the gemstones under different light conditions when buying them. In case the gemstone contains color range features, then they should display a strong color change between alternative exposure to  incandescent light and day light sources.

Gemstone clarity

  • In most cases, the colored gemstones will be examined from the face or top up position. When shopping for a gemstone, you need to always check it from the top and if a flaw or inclusion does not reveal in the face up position, it will never affect the beauty and value. In the same scenario if a gemstone hides an inclusion, it will never affect the beauty and value.
  • It is always possible to use the microscope or the jewelers 10X magnifying glass in order to examine the imperfections of a gemstone.
  • When shopping for a gemstone, it is advisable that you give more importance to its color instead of clarity.

Gemstone Cut

  • When shopping for a gemstone, it is advisable that you always go for an ideal gemstone cut of the right shape. Having a good cut will never cost more but can either add or subtract beauty of gemstone.
  • It is important that you ensure gemstone is well polished and has an excellent symmetry. It is important that you ensure the stone is symmetrical in all measurements to have it balanced.
  • Always give preference to the personal choice of the wearer when shopping for a gemstone. The gemstone carat weight will always depend on your budget.
  • You will have to purchase a gemstone that is averagely sized with good clarity, color and cut instead of purchasing a gemstone that is large in size but have no good clarity, color and cut.
  • ‘Carat’ is totally different from ‘Karat’ which is used in describing purity and fineness of gold.

Treated/Enhanced Gemstone

  • When shopping for a gemstone, it is always important to check whether the gemstone is treated or natural and if it has been enhanced or treated, what treatment method was used.
  • Enhanced or treated gemstones are available in lesser price compared to the no treated or natural gemstones.
  • When shopping for the enhanced or treated gemstones, it is always advisable that you ask the jeweler whether the treatment is temporary or permanent and if the stone will require any special care.

Gemstone Certificate

  • When shopping for a costly gemstone, it is always advisable that you ask for gemstone certificate. Although it might cost you little more money, it will offer you with the required peace of mind since you will be sure that you will be getting your value of money.
  • Have a gemstone certificate will provide you with the stones right details and depending on this information, you will be in a position to make some comparison before you carry out the actual purchase.
  • Having a gemstone certificate will make it possible for you to pay money depending on the characteristics of the stone. The jeweler will never be in a position to charge you more and you will have higher chances of getting the best deals.
  • On gemstone resale together with its certificate, you will be in a position to get improved prices.
  • You will need to produce your gemstone certificate in order to be issue with insurance for your gemstone.

Conclusion

Each of the gemstones which have been reviewed above is known to be a completely different mineral having its own inherent properties and chemical makeup. All these stones are clear each can have a similar attribute in some cases or at times pretty different in others. At times, it can always be easier to see a clear gem and have the perception that it will have similar properties. One of the stone most people are familiar with is the diamond. However, it is important to know some of the key differences between the white sapphires, lab-grown diamond, diamonds and the moissanite before making a final choice on which is the right stone for you.

It is important that any buyer first sets their budget when shopping for a gemstone before they can explore all the options. This will help them get a variety of gemstones having different carat qualities and weights that are within your budget. Purchase a gemstone from a known, licensed and reputed jeweler. In case you have no idea of any good jeweler, you can always ask your close friends or family members for recommendations. You need not be in any hurry when shopping for a gemstone. Instead, always shop for one at your own convenient time and pace.