Morganite vs Moissanite Ring: What’s Your Favorite Choice?

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In the past, the most common question when it came to selecting an engagement ring dealt with what cut of diamond, or how many carats. Now, some consumers are leaving diamonds out of the picture entirely, in search of finding the best diamond alternatives and trying to make analytical comparisons for other gems like morganite vs moissanite.

While sales of engagement rings without diamonds are still relatively modest–by some estimates, a little under five percent of total market value – others report that alternative rings could comprise as much as thirteen percent of sales.

And even if sales have not caught up exactly yet, surveys indicate that customer attitudes and preferences towards alternative rings with gems like morganite and moissanite are also on the upswing.

Though an imperfect measure in many ways, an online survey through Life & Style indicated that around two percent would at least like their engagement ring to have another gemstone incorporated, and as much as twenty-two percent who said they were ‘open’ to possibly having a stimulant, like a moissanite.

Even more so, forty-six percent of respondents said they didn’t think an engagement ring needed to feature a diamond. To be sure, diamond engagement rings remain the most popular option, and there are many good reasons for this, even beyond tradition and popular culture.

But as millenials and Gen Z’s begin to demand more transparency, and more affordable options–as well as the availability of online markets for engagement rings–it’s clear that alternatives such as morganite and moissanite may become key players.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you might want a diamond alternative, what to look for in a diamond alternative, and finally, how morganite vs moissanite compare.

Why is there a push for diamond alternatives? 

diamond ring

The main drive behind diamond alternatives comes from millenials, and, possibly more in the future from Gen Z. Of course this makes sense when you consider that the average age in the United States is around twenty-nine for men and twenty-seven for women; in other words, those of marrying age are most likely the ones with the greatest influence on wedding and engagement ring trends.

But it goes beyond that. A report by Business Insider suggests that millennials are demanding engagement rings be two things: more affordable and ethical. However, that does not always mean they flock to diamond alternatives, as the diamond industry itself seems to be responding.

A myriad of companies selling diamonds now adhere to the Kimberley Process–a standard that requires that diamonds do not finance civil wars. Some companies go even further; Tiffany and Company recently launched a line of diamonds in compliance with the Initiative for Responsible Mining.

And there are countless options for lab grown, also known as synthetic diamonds. Not only are these more affordable than natural diamonds, but they are also more widely available and not involved in concerns with human and labor rights the way many diamonds still are.

What about diamond alternatives?

Why not just go with a lab-grown diamond? Lab-grown diamonds are quite popular for the following reasons:

  • More affordable, and more widely available
  • More options
  • Less imperfections (no natural diamond is flawless)
  • Less connected to ethical and labor violations

Still, lab-grown diamonds are not for everyone. They still are reasonably more expensive than diamond alternatives, and many now like the idea of finding a gem that is not a diamond. While some may see the differences between diamonds and diamond alternatives as negative, others may very well see it as an opportunity to have an engagement ring that seems a bit more unique.

What are the main downsides to purchasing diamond alternatives?

While there are many reasons a diamond alternative might prove a good option for you, there are also admittedly many downsides. One reason diamonds continue to be the most popular option for engagement rings is their durability.

Diamonds are considered relatively tough (resistant to chipping); hard ( with a ten on the Mohs scale, they are the hardest gemstone who can find, meaning that they are resistance to surface level scratches); and stable (aside from extreme temperature changes, diamonds do not corrupt with everyday chemicals and elements such as heat and humidity).

Most diamond alternatives simply do not have the same level of quality. In other words, you’ll likely be buying a gemstone that is a bit softer, a bit less tough, or otherwise less durable in one category. Even for gemstones that are quite hard–some are as high as nine and a half on the Mohs hardness scale–there is the issue of brilliance and scintillation.

Many gemstones, even with ideal cut, cannot match the brilliance of natural or lab-grown diamonds. In the case of some, that brilliance may be just as prominent, or even more so, but it looks different. In some instances, of course, it also comes down to matters of personal preference and taste – some openly embrace alternatives, while others do not.

What are the different types of diamond alternatives?

gemstone rings

Of course, when it comes to diamond alternatives, whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring or even just fine jewelry for a special occasion, not all diamond alternatives are created equal.

The main types of diamond alternatives fall under one of three categories:

  • Natural gemstones are sourced through mining around the world. While natural gemstones are often refined and polished before being sold, they tend to have less even coloring than lab grown and are more expensive.

  • Synthetic, or lab grown: While these are also terms we’d use with different types of diamonds, it’s important to understand what kind of gem you’re purchasing. A synthetic or lab grown gem is one that shares the same physical and chemical properties with its natural occurring counterpart but is grown under a controlled environment.

  • Simulant: A simulant looks more or less like the gem or diamond, but it does not share the same chemical or physical properties. Most commonly, simulants are made a composite of different materials. Examples of diamond simulants include cubic zirconia and rhinestone. They tend to be far cheaper, but also less durable.

How do I know if a diamond alternative like morganite or moissanite is right for me? 

ring with morganite stone

First, you need to understand exactly what type of diamond alternative you’re purchasing, as well as what to expect for characteristics and price point. You need to be realistic in terms of your expectations as well–you should genuinely like what you’re buying, rather than only thinking of it as a less costly diamond, even if that’s main drive behind your purchase.

Think about your budget, lifestyle, and what makes sense for you. If you work a job that is near chemicals or industrial or nature, you may consider removing your engagement ring, no matter the gemstone, and wearing a silicone wedding band (many professional athletes, especially for contact sports) do this as well.

In all, think about your priorities and what is most important to you.

What are the main differences between morganite vs moissanite?

Today we’ll be investigating two of the most popular diamond alternatives–morganite moissanite–and see how they compare on a number of factors, including price, color, clarity, cut, toughness, hardness, stability, sourcing, and overall appeal.

What is morganite vs moissanite made out of?

First, let’s look at what morganite and moissanite are actually made of, and how they are classified.

Morganite is one variety of beryl, a gemstone that was first discovered in 1910 which is somewhat rare naturally, but commonly lab-grown. An estimated eighty percent of natural beryl comes from a single mine in Utah, at Spor Mountain. Emeralds and aquamarines are also forms of beryl, though beryl also comes in other varieties and in colors as varied as blue, orange, and pink as well.

Moissanite is also both naturally occurring and lab-grown. Known as one of the hardest minerals, moissanite is made from silicon carbide, originally discovered in the early 1890s by a French scientist.

Which is more similar to a diamond?

Based upon chemical properties, neither. Diamonds are made out of carbon. Beryl (morganite) is made out of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate, and as we just said, moissanite is made out of silicon carbide.

What colors does morganite vs moissanite come in?

One reason morganite and moissanite are popular diamond alternatives is because they both come in colors that are pleasing to many.

Morganite is considered pink-orange or salmon. Depending on clarity and variations, it can more prominent orange tones to the most sought after, which are more pink. Deeper and ideal cuts bring out pink tones more, while shallow cuts will present with more prominent orange to salmon tones.

Moissanite, on the other hand, is clear and at is best, looks nearly identical to clear or colorless diamonds. However, there are some variations, namely between colorless and nearly colorless moissanite.

  • Nearly colorless moissanite is the closest in appearance to a diamond, with a slightly warm touch to a mostly clear look.
  • Colorless actually has more a slightly cool, white to clear hue and is also considered desirable.
  • Forever Moissanite is considered actually among the lowest grade and has a yellow slight tint; as is the case with diamonds that have a yellow tint, these are considered the least valuable and least desirable.

Which is most similar in appearance to a diamond?

moissanite ring

Moissanite is closer in appearance to a diamond; the closest you can get is a nearly colorless, high-grade moissanite. Morganite is beautiful in its own right, just in a different way.

How expensive is morganite vs moissanite?

Both morganite and moissanite are going to save you money per carat vs a diamond (either natural or lab-grown). The cost always is dependent on numerous factors, such as clarity, cut, grade, but the average cost of a diamond engagement ring is around five to six thousand dollars; per carat, diamonds cost as little as two to seventeen thousand dollars.

  • Morganite costs a few hundred dollars, with an average of three hundred, and can be even less than that per carat.
  • Moissanite also costs considerably less than diamonds, but can be more than double the price of morganite, at around six to seven hundred dollars per carat.
  • Morganite is less expensive.

Is morganite or moissanite more durable? 

As we have mentioned, diamonds are amongst the most durable gemstones you can buy. So how do morganite and moissanite compare?

Morganite is rated at an average of a seven and a half  to eight on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it is still respectable in terms of being resistant to scratches, yet still notably softer than a diamond. In terms of toughness, or how brittle morganite is, it is not that different from a diamond-fairly sturdy, but can break upon direct impact. It’s considered stable by light exposure, but color can be corrupted by chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid.

Moissanite is rated at an average of nine and a half on the Mohs hardness scale. That is second only to diamonds, making it about as scratch resistance of a diamond alternative as you can find. In terms of chipping, like both morganite and diamonds, you do have to use common sense and take good care, but it should not chip easily, as long as it’s of a high grade. Moissanite is very stable in terms of heat (with the ability to withstand fluctuations and extreme temperatures even better than diamonds) as well as against chemical and light exposure.

Which is the closest in durability to diamonds?

Overall, moissanite is considered more durable than morganite and will give you wear most similar to a diamond.

Where is morganite vs moissanite sourced from?

morganite ring

And there is anything I should be concerned about in terms of sourcing? Sourcing is less of a problem, for the most part, for morganite and moissanite than some concerns you might run into for diamonds.

Unlike diamonds, morganite and moissanite haven’t had as much of a history with violence or labor abuse but that isn’t to say either are flawlessly sourced, nor that you shouldn’t pay any attention. In some ways, diamonds are under greater scrutiny in terms of standards and grading, so it’s easier to understand what to look for, as well as what quality you’re getting.

Morganite is mined from a number of locations around the world, including Mozambique, Namibia and some locations in the United States.  However, a large portion comes from mines in Brazil, and the highest standards are set by Madagascar. If you are buying a natural morganite, you can see if it’s been connected with responsible mining; much of the morganite could also be lab-grown.

Moissanite is almost always sold as lab-grown because naturally, occurring moissanite is quite rare. In order to make the moissanite market-ready, it actually must first undergo a specific thermal growing process. Lab-created moissanite also is far cheaper, and actually more durable than moissanite.

If you want a natural gem, morganite has more options; just make sure it’s of high quality and preferably a specified origin. Moissanite must undergo a thermal process so make sure you understand if you’re buying properly prepared moissanite.

How brilliant is morganite vs moissanite?

Diamonds, of course, are known for their brilliance and refractory qualities; the way natural light catches and creates sparkle and fire. Do keep in mind that, no matter what gemstone you select, cut and clarity make a large difference on how brilliant the gem will be. Ideal cuts are neither too deep or shallow. A round brilliant shape will provide the greatest brilliance; oval, marquise and pear present excellent brilliance, and heart and princess are still considered ‘very’ brilliant.

Morganite is considered to be a fairly brilliant gemstone, though not quite as brilliant as some diamonds. Still, in its best form, it can be quite brilliant.

Moissanite also has a great degree of brilliance; in fact, most moissanite is considered even more brilliant than diamonds. That brilliance, however, is multi-colored.

Compared with a diamond, morganite will have a brilliance that is more similar, but moissanite with have an even greater degree of brilliance.

Is there anything else I should consider in terms of morganite vs moissanite?

Moissanite by some accounts is considered the most popular alternative for diamonds. Moissanite exhibits nearly flawless clarity, which is in line with the best diamonds. Morganite is a more offbeat choice, in that it’s a different hue, which may make a ring feel more unique. Morganite, part in due to its peach, pink, and salmon hues is known as a symbol of love and most popular amongst those looking for an alternative look.

Is morganite or moissanite right for me?

sparkling morganite

First and foremost, you should be certain that it’s an alternative to the typical diamond engagement you want. If you really are after a diamond instead, you can save money through online retailers that offer price matching, such as James Allen, Ritani, Adiamor and others. The next thing you do is opt for a smaller carat size, or even an odd or off carat size.

But if you do like the idea of morganite or moissanite–and there are plenty of reasons to–here are the main factors to consider:

Morganite

Pink, orange, salmon, and peach

Excellent Brilliance, similar but not as brilliant as diamonds

Mohs: 7.5

Relatively stable (some chemicals can affect)

$300 average/ carat

Moissanite

Warm to cool; clear to nearly clear

Even more brilliant than diamonds; multicolored

Mohs: 9.5

Highly stable

$700 average/ carat

As you can see, there are certainly pros and cons for both morganite and moissanite. Neither is exactly like a diamond, and beautiful in its own right. Moissanite, though twice as expensive may be a better investment than morganite, as it is likely to be more durable.

If you want something that stands out a bit, morganite is a nice option–just be careful not to wear it during activities where it is more likely to become damaged.

Do you have any recommendations on where to find morganite and moissanite?

Looking for places to find morganite?

Prefer moissanite?

  • Charles & Colvard is the main retailer, offering some beautiful collections, though in our full review we have a few reservations. Brilliant Earth also offers a collection of moissanite.

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Erin Jamieson

Erin has always loved wedding-related planning and fashion, and regularly follows bridal fashion in the news. She has also worked for a bridal boutique and is passionate about helping couples plan and budget so they can enjoy their wedding day with as little stress as possible. She is an accomplished writer who writes on many subjects, but she has a special place in her heart for new brides and is here to make their day extra special with great recommendations and ideas you can't find anywhere else. 

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