Diamond alternatives have been gaining popularity. Yet, still, there are many misconceptions and understandable doubts about alternatives, from cubic zirconia, to gemstones like moissanite, and companies offering other diamond simulants, like Diamond Nexus.
In fact, the confusion surrounding diamond simulants– and Diamond Nexus’ name — showed up in recent headlines concerning consumer labeling of lab-grown vs natural diamonds.
One Fresno, California couple ran into that very issue when they bought an engagement ring, which had the desired cut and clarity– but the couple was surprised to learn that the diamond was not a natural diamond, but a diamond simulant, which is far less valuable.
As these regulations are debated, one thing is clear: diamond alternatives like Diamond Nexus lab-grown diamonds and stones like moissanite may have increased in popularity, but far too many consumers aren’t sure about the main difference between these alternatives and natural diamonds are.
In this article, I compare and review the differences between the diamonds offered through Diamond Nexus and the gemstone, Moissanite and tell you the pros, cons, and ultimately, if either is a viable option for a diamond alternative.
Main Differences Between Diamond Nexus vs Moissanite
The Main Differences between Diamond Nexus vs Moissanite are:
- Moissanite is more resistant to temperature, while Diamond Nexus offers diamond simulants that more closely resemble diamonds on surface-level appearance
- Moissanite has multicolored refraction, while Diamond Nexus diamonds have the same refraction as natural diamonds
- Moissanite is sold from Forever Moissanite, Charles & Colvard and Brilliant Earth
Why should I consider a diamond alternative?
Diamonds are undoubtedly attractive to many people. As the hardest gemstone and extraordinarily valuable, natural diamonds have been the choice for engagement rings for decades. Diamonds don’t scratch easily, hold up against most environments, and, in the best clarity, cut and color, offer gorgeous scintillation.
However, natural diamonds may not be your best option.
Natural diamonds, while valuable, tend to have more imperfections and inclusions than lab-grown diamonds or other precious gemstones. This is because, as they are naturally occurring, there simply is more variety than man-made gemstones and diamonds.
You do select diamonds by grade– which in part rates those inclusions and imperfections. Diamonds are officially graded by cut, color, clarity, and carat by the Gem Institute of America (GIA). To learn more about the 4 C’s of diamonds, click here.
Regardless, even the highest graded diamonds will not appear as universally perfect as their lab grown counterparts.
In addition, natural diamonds may be connected to ethical concerns– from unfair or dangerous working conditions, to mining practices destructive to the environment, to even financing civil wars. The good news is that some measures have been taken to regulate these ethical concerns attributed to diamonds.
The Kimberley Process is followed by reputable American jewelry companies and ensures that diamond proceeds do not go towards financing civil insurrections and wars – however, there are still fair labor practices and environmental concerns that go ignored. One of the few companies that address all of those issues is the ethically responsible diamond company, Brilliant Earth.
One of the main reasons I see consumers seeking out a natural diamond alternative is cost. Natural diamonds are fairly rare, and the cost can quickly add up as you increase carat, color and clarity– and even go for a more expensive cut. The average .5 carat diamond in a round cut, with an I color rating, will cost you a little over one thousand dollars. That’s not the highest quality possible, nor the most expensive cut– and a modest carat size. Overall, you can get gemstones of the same cut, clarity, and carat at a portion of the price.
What is the best alternative to a real diamond?
There are countless diamond alternatives – but some are better than others. Your cheapest option is cubic zirconia, also known as a diamond simulant. Cubic zirconia vs diamonds are far cheaper, easier to find, and offer an enormous selection and variety.
However, cubic zirconia does not resist dirt well, is relatively soft on the Mohs hardness scale, and does not resemble diamonds as much as other options. That’s important to keep in mind for Diamond Nexus. While they are man-made, it is not the same as lab-grown diamonds.
As diamond simulants like Diamond Nexus have different properties than diamonds, they are not always the closest alternative.
The closest diamond alternatives– if you like the look and value of diamonds– are moissanite and lab-grown diamonds. Both come close to hardness, variety, and even appearance to natural diamonds and may be among her best options for an engagement ring.
Because both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite have become fairly popular, you’ll also easily be able to find styles and cuts of your choice.
Are Diamond Nexus Diamonds good?
Before I get into comparing Diamond Nexus diamonds vs moissanite, we need to be clear what Diamond Nexus diamonds are– and aren’t.
Diamond Nexus diamonds are lab-grown diamond simulants, not natural diamonds. It appears that now, perhaps in response to criticism, they are labeling their diamonds as “man-made.”
Lab-grown diamonds are considered a common and acceptable alternative to many vs natural diamonds, with pros and cons. But stimulants are cheaper to make, and do not wear as well. Lab grown diamonds have the same chemical properties as natural diamonds; stimulants do not.
With this in mind, my comparison will focus on lab grown diamonds, but also include a small discussion about Diamond Nexus as a company– from its pricing and customer service to overall quality and reputation.
Is Diamond Nexus or Moissanite the better choice?
Diamond Nexus and moissanite are both two popular options that fit the bill: diamond alternatives that can offer some of the same variety, relative attractiveness, and good value, at least in theory.
As someone who cares about ethical and environmental concerns- and values frugality as much as possible–I also understand that many love the look and feel of a real diamond.
I decided to take a look at Diamond Nexus and see how this company compared with your choice of moissanite across the market– to see which one, if either, is the best option for your ring, or even fine jewelry.
I’ll focus on the most important qualities you should look for in a diamond alternative so you can decide if Diamond Nexus diamonds or moissanite is the best choice for you.
Hardness, rated on the Mohs scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest possible (and the hardness rating for a natural diamond), informs how easily a gemstone is scratched on the surface. A gemstone with a hardness lower than 5 can easily be scratched even by everyday dirt and dust, making it impractical for everyday use.
Diamond Nexus diamonds are lab-grown simulants and are not hard as natural as diamonds..In fact,
Moissanite comes at a respectable hardness rating of 9 1/4, making it fairly scratch resistant and well suited to everyday use. In fact, moissanite is one of the hardest gemstones you can find.
Moissanite is harder than diamond simulants.
Stability is a key factor in wearability. One issue at hand temperature resistance. Fluctuations in temperature, especially extreme ones, can cause some gemstones great damage. Chemical resistance is another factor in wearability and refers to how the gemstone reacts to harsh chemicals, cleaning agents, but also everyday pollutants.
Moissanite is praised as being highly resistant to everyday chemicals and will not tarnish or decline in quality. In terms of temperature fluctuations, moissanite will not corrode and can handle up to 2,000 degrees fahrenheit in fluctuating temperatures.
Stimulants are more prone to chemical abrasions but can be more temperature resistant than even moissanite, withstanding a very generous temperature range
Both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite are considered fairly stable, but stimulants like Diamond Nexus are not suited to extreme environmental pollutants.
Toughness is often confused with hardness. While hardness measures the degree of scratch resistance, toughness measures how easily the gemstone can become chipped or even break off from impact.
Moissanite is known to be exceptionally tough, able to endure direct force and pressure. It’s considered among the most chip-resistant gemstones due to its chemical structure and has a different structure that does not have the same direction of cleavage as a lab-grown diamond does.
Diamond Nexus, simulants, if taken care of, can be wearable but chip far more easily than moissanite or natural diamonds.
Moissanite is more chip-resistant than the diamonds you can buy from Diamond Nexus, though lab-grown diamonds are still more chip-resistant than some other gemstones.
Color and Clarity
Color is a big factor in how your gemstone will appear and impacts overall value as well. In general, for diamonds, the more clear and transparent the diamond, the more valuable– with the exception of natural diamonds of rare colors, like a blue diamond. This also follows generally for lab-grown diamonds and for moissanite.
For a natural gemstone, the highest quality moissanite is praised for its high level of clarity. Infractions can be found at a microscopic level, but most moissanite sold is said to be rated at exceptional levels of clarity.
In terms of color, you have a few options. In the past, nearly all moissanite sold was colorless and near-colorless, with a few options for dyed gemstones. However, most moissanite has a slight yellow undertone. Now, a stark white colorless option is available from Charles and Colvard in their Forever One Moissanite collection.
Diamond Nexus’ lab-grown diamonds are available in clear hues, though they do have a small selection of man-made colored gemstones, such as emeralds and sapphires. In terms of clarity, they are rated as (D) completely colorless, mimicking a natural diamond.
Diamond Nexus is ever so slightly closer in clarity and color to a natural diamond, but the Forever One Moissanite comes very close.
Refraction plays a key role in the overall brilliance of diamonds and diamond alternatives. The term refers to how light is reflected and absorbed. While both moissanite and lab-grown diamonds exhibit notable brilliance, that refraction is different in a few notable ways.
The refractive quality is excellent, supplemented by an ideal cut. These stimulants are singly refractive and display white scintillation.
Moissanite is doubly refractive. With this, the scintillation is instead multicolored. You may notice red, yellow and other hues as light hits the gemstone.
Both moissanite and simulant diamonds can exhibit beautiful brilliance, but lab grown diamonds are more similar to natural diamonds than moissanite.
While price point should not be the first determining factor, it is something to consider if you’re looking for a specific carat size, cut, and color. In other words, you can always opt to buy a lower carat or less desirable cut for a tighter budget, but one will take you further with your budget.
Costs depend a great deal on cut, clarity, carat, and color–and in part by the seller.
Moissanite is typically less expensive than lab-grown diamonds. The average cost of moissanite is around $600 for 1 carat, vs an average of $4,000 per carat for lab-grown diamonds of a similar grade.
Diamond Nexus diamonds are exceptionally affordable, and cheaper than the average moissanite. In fact, you can get some stones for under twenty dollars.
Availability and Reputation
Availability of course is important if you’re shopping for a diamond alternative – ideally, you want as many options as possible. But the reputation of who is selling moissanite or lab-grown diamonds is especially important.
Moissanite is rarer than lab-grown diamonds. The leading seller of moissanite is Charles & Colvard, especially well known for their supply of Forever One Moissanite. A new up and coming retailer specifically dedicated to moissanite is Forever Moissanite (my top pick for selection + prices). Finally, Brilliant Earth is also a seller of some moissanite options.
Charles & Colvard is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and boasts an A plus rating and four and a half stars, according to consumer feedback. Outside reviews have it fairing just as well, with an average of over four out of five stars.
Customers loved the value of the products and found that the gemstones held up well and were as expected, though there were some complaints both about customer service and skimpier warranties– and a minority of consumers had some issues with colored gemstones fading over time.
Brilliant Earth also is accredited and has an A-plus rating with BBB. Across sites, it averaged a bit over 4 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews. A majority of consumers felt that the overall quality was as expected or better, and a small minority had some communication issues with customer service.
Diamond Nexus is accredited with the Better Business Bureau with an A-plus rating. It fared just slightly lower than Charles & Colvard or Brilliant Earth, but still, most sites reported an average of four out of five stars (with one reporting a little over 3 out of 5 stars).
Reviews were more divided: many loved their purchase and extolled the quality and service, while other customers had issues with chipped gemstones, or gemstones that they claimed did not appear as advertised. I did notice that Diamond Nexus replied to these complaints, though it is unclear how they were resolved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Moissanite and diamonds are not identical in appearance. The main way to tell the difference between moissanite vs a diamond is in its refractive quality. The light coming off of moissanite will be multicolored.
As such, you cannot pass off moissanite as a diamond, though it does resemble a diamond in other ways and can even include the same cuts and level of clarity, making it a favorite as a diamond alternative.
Answer: Lab-grown diamonds are not as valuable as natural diamonds. That said, lab-grown diamonds are better for a tight budget, better for the environment, and do not have the same ethical concerns tied with them as some natural diamonds. Due to their popularity, you may also have a greater choice in terms of a lab-grown diamond vs natural diamonds for cut and color.
Final Decision: Moissanite over Diamond Nexus
While there are some things I like about Diamond Nexus, in theory, I think you’re better off with moissanite via a retailer like Forever Moissanite. The complaints about quality as well as Diamond Nexus’ history of obscuring that they are not selling natural diamonds outweigh the slight pros. Moissanite is as hard as lab-grown diamonds, even a little more durable, and still can be bought at a great price.
Not only that, but diamond simulants simply are not true replacements for diamonds. If you have a small budget, you’re better off buying an alternate gemstone. Simulants are not very valuable and do not wear well with time.
Looking for moissanite? I recommend Forever Moissanite as your first stop, then check out and compare against Charles & Colvard. You can also read our comprehensive guide on where to buy moissanite engagement rings.
Want something that looks like a natural diamond? I recommend Brilliant Earth lab grown diamonds.