If you are trying to sell a moissanite — or you’re deciding between a moissanite or diamond purchase — there’s a lot of information (and misinformation) to sift through.
While historically, diamonds have been the preferred gemstone for engagement rings and other fine jewelry, today’s jewelry buyers have taken a more vested interest in ethically sourced gemstones1 like moissanite and lab-grown diamonds.
A recent survey by The Knot wedding site2 found that 40% of millennial couples would contemplate an engagement ring without diamonds.
Plus, the large cost savings of moissanite vs. diamond jewelry is nothing to scoff at, though the former is more difficult to resell.
In this post, I’ll explain the differences between moissanite and diamonds and offer advice about where and how to sell moissanites you no longer want:
What is moissanite?
While moissanite was discovered as a naturally occurring mineral, moissanite sold today is a lab-created gemstone made of silicon carbide engineered to look like a diamond.
Often called a diamond simulant, moissanite has a 9.25 rating on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, while diamonds (even those created in a lab) hold a 10 rating. Moissanite has a higher refractive index than a diamond — which makes it appear more sparkly — and is often distinguishable by its flashes of rainbow colors and faint green hue, especially in sunlight.
The history of moissanite
According to the American Gem Society, moissanite was discovered in Arizona in 1893 by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Henri Moissan, after whom it was named3. He found the mineral in the crater of a meteorite and spent his life trying to recreate it, but was never successful.
Nearly 100 years later, researchers in North Carolina developed and patented a process for creating pure silicon carbide in a lab, which they used to create semiconductors, LED lighting, drilling tools, and abrasives (compounds used to smooth other materials, like sandpaper).
In 1998, North-Carolina based jeweler Charles & Colvard were awarded the first patents to create and sell lab-grown silicon carbide gemstones as a diamond alternative.
This video from Charles & Colvard — which heavily promotes its moissanite products’ environmentally friendly aspect with its “Made, not mined” tagline — dives more into the history of moissanite:
The science of moissanite
Moissanite is a mineral composed of silicon and carbon, formed through a combination of pressure and heat.
Natural moissanite is extremely rare and has only been found in a few deposits worldwide, in specific types of meteorite and igneous rock formations. The largest discovered moissanite deposit was found in 2014 in Israel and measures just 4.1 mm4.
It takes several months to create a single lab-grown moissanite gemstone.
Moissanite vs diamond: Their characteristics
Though they may appear the same to the untrained eye, moissanites and diamonds are not the same stone. These are some key differences:
|Composition||50% carbon, 50% silicon||99.95% carbon (the 0.5% is made of trace elements that don’t impact the diamond’s composition but can change its color)|
|Color||Moissanites available on the market are all nearly colorless, with slight undertones of green, yellow, or gray.||Diamonds are valued based on their colorlessness — the less yellow they appear, the higher their value (with the exception of colored diamonds)|
|Hardness||9.25 on Mohs Scale of Hardness||10 on Mohs Scale of Hardness|
|Brilliance||Moissanites have a higher refractive index of 2.65 and are doubly refractive, which causes them to give off a signature rainbow “disco ball” light||Diamonds have a 2.42 refractive index and tend to have a more clear, white sparkle; they are singly refractive|
|Conductivity||Moissanite is 25% more thermally conductive than diamonds and can conduct electricity||Diamonds cannot conduct electricity|
Is moissanite a true diamond?
No, moissanites are not diamonds, though the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)5 once called moissanites “much closer to diamond in overall appearance and heft than any previous diamond imitation.”
Is there a moissanite diamond?
No, moissanites and diamonds are compositionally different. Diamonds are made of 99.95% carbon, while moissanites are made of 50% carbon and 50% silicon.
Will moissanite pass a diamond tester?
On some standard diamond testers, a moissanite will test as a diamond because diamonds and moissanites have nearly the same range of thermal conductivity. Professional grading labs and jewelers have tools to test gemstones based on Mohs Scale of Hardness (diamonds have a higher hardness rating).
Professionals may also test how well the stone conducts electricity. Moissanites are electric conductors, and diamonds are not. While there are moissanite testers available to purchase online, most have poor reviews and cost hundreds of dollars.
The simplest and most cost-effective way to determine if your stone is a diamond or moissanite is to examine it under a 10x loupe — a small magnifying glass used by jewelers — to look for double refraction, a key characteristic of moissanite.
When you tilt the stone at an angle, a moissanite’s flat triangle features (known as facets) will appear doubled or fuzzy. Diamonds are singly refractive, so they won't display this quality.
To the naked eye, you may be able to tell the difference between a diamond and a moissanite, as the latter's sparkle has more rainbow colors, as well as a faint green hue under certain lights.
Here’s a video that shows a moissanite’s double refraction under magnification:
How is moissanite graded?
The GIA does not grade moissanite — nor does it list moissanite as an official gemstone6 — though they will help you determine if your stone is a moissanite or diamond. However, independent laboratories and jewelers may grade moissanite based on the four Cs used in GIA’s diamond grading scale:
- Carat – Moissanite is about 15% lighter than diamond, which means a 1-carat moissanite would be 15% larger in size than a 1-carat diamond. Most moissanites are measured and sold strictly by their dimensions in millimeters.
- Color – Moissanites typically carry undertones of green, yellow, or gray. However, most moissanites available for purchase are near-colorless. Diamonds are graded based on GIA’s color scale5 from D (colorless) to Z (the most yellow). Some jewelry companies, like Brilliant Earth7, classify moissanite into two categories — Premium (comparable to a G or H on the diamond color scale) and Super Premium (comparable to diamonds in the D-F range).
- Clarity – Most lab-created moissanite gemstones do not have visible inclusions (imperfections) that can be seen by the naked eye.
- Cut – Moissanites are cut into the same shapes as diamonds and other gemstones, with some styles in higher demand than others (depending on current trends).
Moissanite vs diamond: Price
There is no direct correlation between the price of a diamond and the price of a moissanite gemstone, and market demand for each stone can impact pricing.
On ethically sourced jeweler Brilliant Earth’s website, we compared the cost of a 6.5-mm round moissanite and a 1-carat round diamond in the same 18k white gold engagement ring setting. According to the International Gem Society8, a 1-carat round diamond is typically about 6.5 mm in size.
This moissanite ring was priced at $1,400 as of June 2023. It has a Super Premium Colorless rating (comparable to a D-F color range diamond):
This diamond ring was priced at $9,380 as of June 2023. It has a D color grade and VS2 clarity grade, which a representative from Brilliant Earth told me would be the most similar to the moissanite clarity:
I also priced a lab-grown diamond of the same size and grading in the same setting, which cost $2,440.
It’s important to note that this is not an exact comparison, since Brilliant Earth only officially grades moissanites on color.
Is moissanite as valuable as a diamond?
No, moissanites are not nearly as valuable as diamonds. Our cost comparison found the price of a moissanite ring from Brilliant Earth was about 15% the price of a similar-quality diamond ring from the same company.
However, this is not a 100% exact comparison, nor is it an indicator of the cost for all moissanites vs. diamonds.
Why are moissanites so cheap?
Moissanites are so cheap because they’re created in a lab. While diamonds can also be created in a lab, lab-grown diamonds have a slightly higher price point because they still possess the same qualities as a natural diamond, including its 10 rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale (compared to moissanite’s 9.25 rating).
Moissanite vs diamond: Resale value
Both moissanites and diamonds lose a significant portion of their value after initial sale.
What is the resale value of moissanite?
Dustin Lemick, CEO of BriteCo Jewelry Insurance, says moissanite does not have resale value in the same way that diamonds do.
Most independent jewelry stores claim you can sell moissanite for between 25% and 75% of its original retail value.
What is the resale value of diamonds?
A diamond’s resale value depends on its size, cut, clarity and color, as well as the current market demand for diamonds.
Like moissanite, the value of a diamond depreciates drastically after it's been purchased. Most independent jewelers claim diamonds sell for between 25% to 50% of their original value.
These are some recent diamond resale trends, as of July 7, according to RapNet Diamond Index:
Rapaport expects these higher prices to continue to drop during the first half of 2023.
Where to sell moissanite: Finding the right moissanite buyers
In a recent Reddit thread, someone asked for advice to sell their wife’s moissanite ring from a previous marriage. They said they’d had difficulty selling on popular resale platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Offerup, since uneducated buyers mistook the moissanite ring as a “fake diamond.”
Reddit users directed the original poster to try selling in the r/MoissaniteBST subreddit, which requires proof of purchase for all moissanite rings and other jewelry posted for sale.
Here’s more about where to sell moissanite:
Who buys moissanite?
While you may be able to sell moissanite to a pawn shop or local consignment store, some Reddit users warn you may only be paid for the price of any gold or silver contained in its setting.
If you do not have success reselling your moissanite — which is very possible — the gold, platinum or silver setting should be worth its weight as scrap metal.
Who buys diamonds?
There are a number of online and local options for selling diamonds, including:
- Pawn shops
- Jewelry stores
- Antique, auction, estate, and consignment sales
- Online marketplaces
- Online diamond buyers like Diamonds USA, which buys all sizes of diamonds, including small stones (plus gold, silver, and other gemstones)
Diamonds USA is our No. 1 recommendation for selling diamonds because:
- A+ BBB rating
- Payouts within 24 hours
- 10% bonus when you send in your shipment within a week
- Family-owned company
- Price match and free return guarantee
- Choice of mailer: FedEx or USPS
Tips for selling a moissanite ring
These are some tips for selling a moissanite ring, which are similar to the tips for selling any engagement ring:
- Gather all the information you have about your ring, including what materials and other gemstones are in its setting and the size of the moissanite it contains. It helps to have your original proof of purchase so buyers know what you initially paid for your ring and where it came from.
- Consider getting an appraisal of your ring, but only if it’s potentially worth a significant amount of money (jewelry appraisals can cost several hundred dollars). In most cases, paying for a moissanite appraisal will not be worth the money.
- Get offers from multiple buyers, including local and online jewelry buyers. If you’re selling online, clean your ring and take quality pictures in different lighting to draw in more buyers.
Can I sell my moissanite engagement ring?
Yes, you can sell a moissanite engagement ring in a number of places, though some places may only pay you for the precious metal value of your ring.
People who have successfully sold moissanite engagement rings recommend posting in the r/MoissaniteBST subreddit and selling on online consignment sites and online jewelry classified sites like DiamondBistro and Loupe Troop.
Moissanite vs diamond FAQs
Which is better moissanite or diamond?
In terms of durability and pricing, diamonds are widely considered to be the “better” stone. However, which one you choose to buy is largely a personal decision.
Moissanites are ethically sourced, since they’re created in a lab and don’t need to be mined from the earth, and they’re a cost-effective alternative to natural and even lab-grown diamonds.
“I also think the younger millennials and older zoomers are less concerned with upholding the tradition of a mined diamond ring or using the family jeweler that sold their parent’s rings,” says Ilah Cibis, a jeweler and designer based in Worcester, Mass., who specializes in lab-grown diamond pieces but also sells moissanite.
She says with the increased cost of consumer goods, people are primarily looking for ways to maximize their dollar, followed by human rights and environmental concerns.
However, Daphna Simon, a New York-based jeweler and designer, says clients who are looking to invest in an heirloom-quality piece will rarely go for moissanite over diamonds.
“While moissanite may look similar and is of course much more affordable, it simply doesn't carry the same association with love as diamonds always have,” Simon says.
Is diamond more durable than moissanite?
Yes, diamonds are rated 10 on Mohs Scale of Hardness, while moissanites have a 9.25 rating.
What are the pros of moissanite?
- Less expensive (15% the cost of comparable diamonds, based on our cost comparison)
- Ethically sourced (lab created vs. mined)
- More brilliant than diamonds
What are the cons of moissanite?
- Not as valuable or historically revered as diamonds
- Some people are turned off by moissanite’s overly sparkly “fiery” appearance
- Less durable than diamonds, though still suitable for everyday wear
Bottom line: Understand the differences of moissanite vs diamond before you buy or sell
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about moissanite and its value as a diamond simulant. If you’re trying to sell moissanite, being educated about its unique characteristics can help you better market your stone to the right buyers and inform uneducated buyers who think moissanite is nothing more than a “fake diamond.”
Likewise, if you’re deciding between a moissanite vs. diamond piece, understand the pros and cons of each — including a potentially huge cost savings if you purchase a moissanite.
- “The engagement ring trends you'll see everywhere in 2023,” February 21, 2023. Vogue France. https://www.vogue.fr/wedding/article/engagement-ring-trends-wedding-diamonds-2023
- “The Rise of Moissanite: An Analysis of the Popularity of Non-Diamond Engagement Rings,” May 2, 2023. Medium. https://medium.com/@beverlydiamondstop1/the-rise-of-moissanite-an-analysis-of-the-popularity-of-non-diamond-engagement-rings-5fd41269a6c4
- “Moissanite History,” 2023. American Gem Society. https://www.americangemsociety.org/moissanite-history/
- “Record-Size Natural Moissanite Crystals Discovered in Israel,” Gems & Gemology, Summer 2014, Vol. 50, No. 2. https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/summer-2014-gemnews-moissanite-crystals-israel
- “Synthetic Moissanite: A New Diamond Substitute,” Gems & Gemology, Winter 1997, Vol. 33, No. 4. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/diamond-color-chart-official-gia-color-scale/
- “Gem Encyclopedia,” 2023. Gemological Institute of America. https://www.gia.edu/gem-encyclopedia
- “Diamond Color Chart: The Official GIA Color Scale,” 2023. Gemological Institute of America. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/diamond-color-chart-official-gia-color-scale/
- “Diamond Measurements: What You Should Know Before You Buy.” International Gem Society. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/diamond-measurements/