In some ways engagement ring shopping in the past was easier, the options for the center stone typically was only a natural diamond. However, in todays market there are a varity of different options, each one is durable, each one sparkles and to the naked eye they all appear similar. In this post I will attempt to explain the differences between natural diamonds, lab diamonds and moissanite.
As the name suggests natural diamonds were formed in the earth over thousands of years. They remain one of the top choices for engagement rings as their briliance and durability our almost outmatched. Natural diamonds have a Mohs hardness ranking of 10 which is the highest score that a gemstone can have. Natural diamonds also have a high refractive index, which results in the sparkle that the stone has.
10 on the Mohs hardness scale
High refractive index
one of the most popular choices in engagement rings
good resale value
Common to find imperfections in the stones compared to lab diamonds or moissanite
Less envrionmentally friendly
As their name suggests lab diamonds are made in a laboratory not in the earth, these diamonds typically only take a couple of days to weeks to create. Lab diamonds have grown in popularity in the past number of years as they are more affordable than natural diamonds, it is easier to find stones of higher clarity and because they are more affordable you are able to get a larger diamond for the same price you would have spent on a smaller natural diamond. Lab diamonds have the same hardness as natural diamonds and are graded in the same method, looking at color, clarity and cut. Lab diamonds are not fake diamonds, they are almost identical to natural diamonds, the only difference being they are were created in a lab rather than in the ground.
Mohs hardness of 10
Easier to find larger stones with good clarity
More environmentally friendly
minimal resale value
some companies over charge for lab diamonds
In recent years moissanite has gained significant popularity due to its similarity to diamond in both hardness and color. However, moissanite itself is not a diamond nor is it a lab diamond. Moissanite is made from silicon carbide while diamonds and lab diamonds are made from carbon. Moissanites are made in a lab, similarly to lab diamonds. For diamonds and lab diamonds, most jewellers charge similar prices, however moissanite is a little more complex to purchase, the prices seem to range drastically depending on where you are buying the stones from. I have seen prices range from 1400-4000$ just for a 1 carat stone. If you see a 1-2 carat moissanite ring costing more than 2000$ canadian do not buy that ring, it means the jeweller has placed a significant markup on the stone.
Lower cost to diamonds and lab diamonds
Mohs Hardness of 9.5
Easy to find larger sizes
high refractive index
Less hard than diamonds
minimal resale value
companies tend to price moissanite higher than it should be.