Which one is better, moissanite vs white sapphire? In this post, We will discuss the differences between moissanite and white sapphire.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
What is moissanite?
Moissanite is a very durable stone, and it also has a very unique appearance. It’s also more affordable than a diamond.
Moissanite was discovered in 1893 by Nobel Prize-winning French scientist Dr. Henri Moissan. He originally thought he had discovered diamonds while analyzing rock samples from a meteor crater in Arizona, but later determined that the gemstone was Silicon Carbide (SiC) instead.
What is white sapphire?
White sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, which is the same mineral as ruby. It ranks 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, so its quality can be compared to that of a diamond.
While white sapphire does occur naturally in nature, it’s much more common for this stone to be heat treated and enhanced to better represent white color and clarity. The popularity of white sapphires comes from their diamond-like appearance at a fraction of the cost!
The differences between White Sapphire and Moissanite
Here are the main differences between White Sapphire and Moissanite:
- Hardness. The first noticeable difference is that moissanite is much harder than a white sapphire. Moissanite rates as a 9.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is second only to diamond which rates at 10/10. In comparison, white sapphire is lower with a rating of 9/10 on the same scale. This means that moissanite will be much less likely to chip or scratch compared to white sapphire, which may suffer from some surface damage over time.
- Appearance and Availability. Moissanite’s hardiness also means it has a superior brilliance compared to white sapphire, which can look somewhat dull in comparison due to its lower refractive index of 1.76-1.77 versus 2.65 for moissanite (which makes it quite similar in this respect to diamond).
- Moissanite also tends toward more vivid fire than most diamonds and white sapphires because it was created by scientists who were able to increase its dispersion value beyond what occurs naturally (dispersion refers to how well a gemstone splits light into different spectral colors). However, some people might also find this enhanced brilliance flashing effect distracting or unappealing depending on your personal preferences
- White Sapphire tends towards being more available as it isn’t limited by lab production while moissanites are all laboratory-created gems, so you may find more variety in cut, shape, and size for this stone type if that’s important for your ring design
It’s easy to see why hardness is important for an engagement ring. An engagement ring is a piece of jewelry that the wearer will be wearing every day, and so it needs to be tough enough to withstand the daily wear and tear that comes with life.
Hardness is measured on the Mohs scale. The higher a gemstone ranks on this scale, the harder the gemstone is. Sapphire ranks a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, while moissanite ranks a 9.5 out of 10. This makes moissanite one of the hardest naturally occurring gems in existence, only second to diamonds which rank a 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale.
To the naked eye, moissanite is more sparkly than a white sapphire. This is because it has a higher refractive index (RI). The RI indicates how much light enters and bounces around inside of a gemstone after passing through its top surface. This makes it more colorful than white sapphire which has a lower RI, making it look clearer.
The second way to tell the difference between white sapphire and moissanite is by looking at how they’re cut. Moissanite tends to be cut with more facets, making it more brilliant than sapphire and giving off even more sparkle within a given carat size.
Finally, you can compare the two side-by-side in various lighting conditions. If you notice that one stone reflects rainbow flashes of color while another doesn’t, chances are good that you’re looking at moissanite!
Pros and Cons of White Sapphire
- More affordable than a diamond
- It will stay white forever and never need to be re-cut or polished
- Not as durable as a diamond, however, sapphire’s hardness on the Mohs scale is 9, making it very durable for everyday wear. It’s just not quite as tough as a diamond, which has a 10 rating.
Pros and Cons of Moissanite
- It’s cheaper. Moissanite is less expensive than a diamond and the price difference can be quite significant depending on the carat of a stone.
- It’s durable. Moissanite is 9 on the Mohs scale, making it a hard, sturdy stone that will stand up well to wear and tear over time.
- It’s eco-friendly. Unlike diamonds, which are mined from the earth, moissanite is lab-created in facilities like this one in North Carolina (where they make my favorite brand of moissies). So if you’re an ethical consumer who wants to buy rings or jewelry that aren’t made at great cost to our planet or people, consider using moissy instead of a diamond!
- It’s not as sparkly as a diamond. The sparkle factor—or optical dispersion—of diamonds is 2.42 compared to moissy’s 2.65, which may be what makes you subconsciously prefer the look of diamonds over stones with similar specs like white sapphires or moissanite.
Which is better white sapphire or moissanite?
So, which is better: white sapphire or moissanite?
- Hardness: Moissanite is harder than a white sapphire. In fact, it’s the second hardest stone after diamonds (diamonds are a 10 on the Moh scale and moissanite is a 9.25). White Sapphire is a 9 on the Moh scale, so it’s not as hard as moissanite.
- Appearance: Moissanite has much more brilliance than a white sapphire. It has more of that sparkle that people know and love about diamonds! If you prefer something a little more subdued, then white sapphire might be right for you.
- Price: White sapphire is by far less expensive than moissanite. You can get an amazing quality one carat (or larger!) stone at a fraction of the cost of moissanite!
There are quite a few gemstones that could be used as diamond alternatives to create an engagement ring or other jewelry. But if you’re interested in saving money without sacrificing quality, Moissanite is probably your best bet.
Moissanite stones offer unique benefits and can be more affordable than diamonds on average, though the two do share some similarities. Read on to learn more about Moissanite and whether it makes a good diamond alternative for you!
White Sapphires can be so cheap because they are not as rare as diamonds. While diamonds are a 10 on the Mohs scale, White Sapphire is a 9. This means that it is less durable and more prone to scratches, nicks, and cuts than harder stones such as diamonds. Because of this, White Sapphires can be cheaper than diamonds by up to 70€ per carat!
No. The average person cannot tell the difference between moissanite and diamond by looking at them with their naked eye. To be able to tell them apart you would need special equipment. However, a trained jeweler can often distinguish diamonds from moissanite right away.
Moissanite can be identified by a jeweler with a magnifying glass because of its double refraction, which causes light to reflect from each facet at different angles.
Moissanite can be visible to the naked eye when viewed from the side. It has more sparkle and fire than a diamond, which makes it look fake to some people.
It’s true that white sapphire can get cloudy in high heat. For example, a hot shower or washing your hands with warm water may cause the gem to appear milky for a few minutes. Exposure to extreme heat or chemicals may also cause discoloration or cloudiness.
To the naked eye, white sapphires and diamonds appear very similar. However, because of the diamond’s high refractive index value, the sparkle factor is unmatched by any other gemstone. So even though white sapphires do have some sparkle to them, diamonds will have more brilliance and fire. Diamonds are also known for having a sharper “sparkle” look to them, whereas sapphires usually have a bit of a softer or more subtle look to their sparkles.
White sapphire, despite its hefty price tag, is a stone that has proven itself to be more valuable than moissanite. Buyers of the stone have enjoyed it as a symbol of generosity and beauty, which makes it all the more worthwhile.