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Moissanite vs Diamond vs Cubic Zirconia

Published by MarlowsDiamonds at Nov 06, 2023

Choosing the perfect stone for an engagement ring is a decision that carries immense significance. While the timeless gemstone choice is diamonds, moissanite and cubic zirconia are emerging as potential options for the centrepiece of your engagement ring.

By understanding the types of diamond and diamond simulants available, you can find a gem that aligns with your personal preferences, values, and budget. Let's explore the differences and see which stone is best for your engagement ring.

What is Moissanite, Cubic Zirconia, and Diamond?

Moissanite, cubic zirconia, and diamonds may all sparkle, but each has its unique origin, properties, and value. Below we highlight the characteristics of these gemstones:

Moissanite Characteristics

When moissanite was first discovered by Henri Moissan in 1893, he initially assumed the microscopic particles he found in a meteor crater were diamonds. On closer inspection, he discovered that the particles were made from silicon carbide instead of carbon.

These gemstones, named after their discoverer, have a distinct sparkling allure. The silicone carbide composition and structure of this gemstone also allow it to disperse light into various colours, giving it a fiery brilliance. Moissanites rank 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, coming in just behind diamonds. This allows moissanites to be highly durable stones, making them a practical choice for jewellery you can wear daily.

Once from the stars, all moissanite available today is synthesised in labs. This production means that moissanites are an affordable choice for jewellery, making them a favourite among those looking for budget-friendly alternatives.

Cubic Zirconia Characteristics

Cubic zirconia is also a lab-created gemstone. It is made from zirconium dioxide, a crystalline material that is hard, optically flawless, and usually colourless. It's synthesised in laboratories and then cut and polished to produce gemstones that are ready to adorn jewellery.
These gemstones have a bright and sparkly appearance. However, cubic zirconia does not disperse and reflect light in the same way as a diamond or moissanite, resulting in a lack of fiery brilliance.

Cubic Zirconia places an 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which doesn't match the hardness of diamonds or moissanite. This means it's more susceptible to wear and tear over time, reducing the long-term visual aesthetic of these stones. For those prioritising budget, cubic zirconia becomes an attractive choice. It allows wearers to sport sizeable gemstones at a fraction of the cost of similar-sized diamonds.

Diamond Characteristics

Diamonds are nature's masterpiece which form deep within the Earth's mantle under extreme heat and pressure. These precious gemstones are brought closer to the surface by volcanic eruptions, where they reside in volcanic rock known as kimberlite. The formation of a diamond is billions of years long, making them shimmering pieces of history.

Diamonds are renowned for their unrivalled brilliance and fire. Their internal and surface reflections give them a unique sparkle, making them instantly recognisable. While diamonds can come in various colours, including blue, green, and pink, the most prized are those that are colourless, allowing for maximum light reflection.

Diamonds rank a solid 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This remarkable hardness ensures that diamonds are highly resistant to scratches and damage. Their durability makes them an enduring choice for everyday wear, especially as the centrepiece of an engagement ring.

While diamonds are naturally occurring gemstones, there are also lab-grown diamonds available today. These diamonds are created in controlled environments that mimic the conditions under which natural diamonds form. Lab-grown diamonds generally come at a more affordable price point compared to their natural counterparts.

How To Tell the Difference Between Diamond vs Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite

There is a reason that moissanite and cubic zirconia are known as diamond simulants, or fake diamonds. Without knowing the differences, it can be difficult to discern between these gemstones and real diamonds.

We compare the differences between these gemstones so that you can make the best choice for your engagement ring:

Moissanite vs Diamond

Both diamonds and moissanites offer captivating brilliance, but in distinct ways. Moissanite has a fiery brilliance, but it doesn't match the level produced by authentic diamonds. Diamonds are also celebrated for their iconic white light reflection, which allows them to produce their signature sparkle.

When considering durability, diamonds have an edge over every other gemstone by ranking a perfect 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Moissanite, while durable, doesn't quite reach the level of resilience that diamonds offer.

Cubic Zirconia vs Diamond

Cubic zirconia, though sparkly, lacks the profound depth and radiance that diamonds naturally exhibit. A diamond's iconic brilliance comes from its unique ability to refract and disperse light, producing that sought-after shimmer. While cubic zirconia might catch the light and sparkle, its lustre isn't as enduring or as captivating as a diamond's.

Cubic zirconia is considerably softer than diamond. Over time, cubic zirconia is more prone to becoming scratched, cloudy, or losing its initial brilliance. This difference in durability reinforces why diamonds have remained the preferred choice for engagement rings that are meant to last a lifetime.

Moissanite vs Cubic Zirconia

It is easy to distinguish between moissanite and cubic zirconia. While both are clear, sparkling gemstones, cubic zirconia lacks the same fiery brilliance as moissanite. Cubic zirconia is also softer than moissanite, lacking the same quality and durability that moissanite can offer as a diamond simulant.

Choosing an Engagement Ring Stone

Choosing an engagement ring is a significant decision that intertwines emotions, financial investment, and lifelong commitment. This means that the stone you choose as the centrepiece should resonate with your love, values, and budget.

We highlight the essential aspects to consider when comparing moissanite vs diamond vs cubic zirconia for your engagement ring:


An engagement ring is an emblem of everlasting love, designed to be worn every single day to showcase your lifelong commitment. This makes durability an essential consideration when selecting an engagement ring. Diamonds are unmatched as hard and durable gemstones, making them the ideal choice for an engagement ring that will be worn every day.


From a budget perspective, moissanite and cubic zirconia are cheaper than diamonds. However, lab-grown diamonds offer a budget-friendly alternative to mined diamonds that can allow you to have the diamond engagement ring of your dreams at a lower cost.

While moissanite and cubic zirconia may initially appear cost-effective, it's also important to consider the ring's long-term value. Diamonds either maintain their value or appreciate, making them a financial investment as well as a symbol of your love.

Symbolic Significance

For hundreds of years, diamonds have been symbolic of love, commitment, and timeless appeal. This symbolic significance of diamonds means that you are not just simply choosing a stone for a ring, but a gemstone with rich meaning and tradition.

Ethical Values

In recent years, the origin of gemstones and their ecological impact has come under scrutiny, leading many to seek ethically sound alternatives. As both moissanite and cubic zirconia are man-made gemstones, many prefer these due to ethical considerations. However, lab-grown diamonds offer an ideal way to still have a diamond engagement ring without any ethical concerns.

Find Perfect Diamond Engagement Rings at Marlow's Diamonds

Look no further for a genuine diamond engagement ring than Marlow's Diamonds. When seeking authenticity, quality, and timeless design, Marlow's Diamonds ensures you will find a ring that meets your needs and desires. We offer both mined and lab-grown diamonds that are expertly crafted into a spectacular collection of engagement rings.

If you have any questions or concerns about choosing a diamond for your engagement ring, get in touch to receive expert advice and guidance.

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