Home Knowledges Diamond vs Moissanite Emerald Cut: How to choose?

Diamond vs Moissanite Emerald Cut: How to choose?

by Madonna

When it comes to choosing an engagement ring or a piece of fine jewelry, the decision often comes down to two popular gemstones: diamond and moissanite. Both of these gems offer unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal, but they differ significantly in several aspects. In this article, we will delve into the detailed comparison of diamond and moissanite, focusing on their emerald cut varieties. We will explore their origins, physical and optical properties, costs, and other factors that influence buyers’ decisions.

Origins and Composition

Diamonds are naturally occurring gemstones formed deep within the Earth’s mantle under extreme pressure and temperature. They are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure. Diamonds are renowned for their unparalleled hardness, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale, making them the hardest known natural material.


Moissanite, on the other hand, is a gemstone that was originally discovered in a meteorite crater by French scientist Henri Moissan in 1893. Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, so most of the moissanite available today is lab-created. Moissanite is composed of silicon carbide, a compound of silicon and carbon, and it ranks 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it one of the hardest materials used in jewelry.


Appearance and Brilliance

Cut and Shape: The emerald cut is characterized by its rectangular shape with cropped corners and step-cut facets, which create a “hall of mirrors” effect. This cut emphasizes clarity and luster over brilliance and fire, providing a sophisticated and elegant look.


Diamond: In an emerald cut diamond, the broad facets allow for a high level of clarity and a reflective sheen. Diamonds exhibit a unique sparkle known as brilliance and fire, resulting from the dispersion of light into various colors. The emerald cut, however, showcases less fire than brilliant cuts but makes up for it with its elegant and timeless appeal.

Moissanite: Emerald cut moissanite stones also possess a similar shape and step-cut facets. Moissanite is known for its exceptional brilliance, which is even higher than that of a diamond. This is due to its higher refractive index (2.65 compared to diamond’s 2.42). The emerald cut of moissanite may display more noticeable brilliance and fire than a diamond, which can be both a pro and a con depending on personal preference.


Diamond: As the hardest known natural material, diamonds are incredibly durable and resistant to scratches. This makes them ideal for daily wear and ensures that they maintain their beauty over time.

Moissanite: While not as hard as diamonds, moissanite is still highly durable. Its hardness of 9.25 on the Mohs scale means it is resistant to scratching and suitable for everyday wear. Moissanite’s toughness, or resistance to breaking and chipping, is also commendable, though slightly lower than that of a diamond.

Color and Clarity

Color: Diamonds are graded on a color scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Colorless diamonds (D-F) are the most sought after, while near-colorless (G-J) diamonds offer a good balance of quality and value.

Moissanite is generally created to be colorless or near-colorless, often equivalent to G-H on the diamond color scale. However, some moissanite may exhibit slight yellow or greenish undertones under certain lighting conditions, especially larger stones.

Clarity: Diamond clarity is graded based on the presence of internal inclusions or external blemishes. The scale ranges from Flawless (no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions and/or blemishes visible to the naked eye).

Moissanite typically has fewer inclusions than diamonds because it is lab-created under controlled conditions. High-quality moissanite stones are often comparable to VVS1-VVS2 diamonds in clarity, meaning they have very few inclusions that are difficult to see even under magnification.


One of the most significant differences between diamond and moissanite is the cost. Diamonds are considerably more expensive than moissanite, primarily due to their natural rarity and the costs associated with mining, cutting, and grading.

Diamond: The price of a diamond is influenced by the four Cs: carat, cut, color, and clarity. Larger diamonds with higher color and clarity grades command higher prices. An emerald cut diamond of high quality can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on these factors.

Moissanite: Moissanite offers a more affordable alternative to diamonds. A comparable emerald cut moissanite costs a fraction of the price of a diamond. This makes moissanite an attractive option for those seeking the look of a diamond without the hefty price tag.

Ethical Considerations

Diamond: The diamond industry has faced scrutiny over ethical issues, including environmental impact and labor practices. Conflict diamonds, also known as blood diamonds, are those mined in war zones and sold to finance armed conflict. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was established to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds, but concerns still exist about the effectiveness of this system.

Moissanite: Since most moissanite is lab-created, it generally has a lower environmental impact and avoids the ethical issues associated with diamond mining. Consumers who prioritize sustainability and ethical sourcing often choose moissanite for this reason.

Thermal Conductivity and Heat Resistance

Diamond: Diamonds have high thermal conductivity, meaning they can dissipate heat quickly. This property makes them useful in industrial applications, such as cutting tools and heat sinks, and ensures that they remain cool to the touch even when exposed to high temperatures.

Moissanite: Moissanite also exhibits high thermal conductivity, though slightly less than diamond. It can withstand high temperatures without damage, making it suitable for various jewelry settings and everyday wear.

Refractive Index and Dispersion

Diamond: The refractive index (RI) of a diamond is 2.42, which measures how much light is bent as it enters the gemstone. Diamonds also have a dispersion value of 0.044, indicating their ability to separate white light into its spectral colors, contributing to their fire and brilliance.

Moissanite: Moissanite has a higher refractive index of 2.65, resulting in greater brilliance than diamonds. Its dispersion value of 0.104 is also higher, meaning moissanite exhibits more fire than diamond. This can be visually striking but may also appear different from the traditional diamond look.

See Also: Are Emerald Cut Diamonds More Expensive?

Heat Sensitivity and Cleaning

Diamond: Diamonds are not sensitive to heat and can be cleaned using various methods, including ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaners, and chemical solutions. They are less likely to suffer damage during routine cleaning and maintenance.

Moissanite: Moissanite is also resistant to heat and can be cleaned using similar methods to diamonds. However, care should be taken with ultrasonic cleaners as the intense vibrations may cause damage to the setting or the stone itself.

Popularity and Market Trends

Diamond: Diamonds have long been the traditional choice for engagement rings and fine jewelry, symbolizing luxury, status, and enduring love. The diamond industry has a well-established market with a wide range of choices in terms of size, quality, and price.

Moissanite: Moissanite has gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to diamonds, especially among younger consumers and those seeking ethical and sustainable options. The market for moissanite is growing, with more jewelers offering a variety of cuts and settings to meet the increasing demand.


Choosing between a diamond and moissanite emerald cut gemstone ultimately depends on personal preferences, budget, and values. Both stones offer unique benefits and aesthetic appeal, making them suitable for different occasions and tastes.

Diamonds are prized for their natural origin, unparalleled hardness, and timeless elegance. They are a symbol of luxury and are often chosen for their traditional appeal and status.

Moissanite provides a more affordable and ethically sound alternative without compromising on beauty and durability. Its superior brilliance and fire make it a captivating choice for those seeking something different.

When selecting an emerald cut gemstone, consider factors such as appearance, cost, durability, and ethical considerations. Both diamond and moissanite have their strengths and can be the perfect choice depending on your individual needs and preferences. Whether you opt for the timeless allure of a diamond or the modern brilliance of moissanite, your choice will shine brightly in any jewelry piece.


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