WHAT IS A LAB-GROWN DIAMOND?
Lab-grown diamonds are often called synthetic diamonds, cultured diamonds, engineered diamonds, and even man-made diamonds. They share the same chemical makeup and physical structure as natural diamonds and they are optically identical. While natural diamonds take millions of years to form, scientists can create a one-carat lab-grown diamond in a lab in two weeks.
Another fun fact: If you’re comparing lab-grown versus natural diamonds side by side, you won’t be able to tell the difference. The same goes if you closely examine the stone with a jeweler’s loupe, which typically has a 10x magnification. A diamond’s identity as a lab-grown stone can only be determined by gemological experts using specialized instruments topick up trace elements and other signatures related to the way the diamonds are grown.
WHAT IS MOISSANLTE?
Moissanite is a naturally occurring, gem-quality mineral called silicon carbide (SiC) or carborundum. Moissanite was discovered by a Nobel Prize-winning French chemist named Henri Moissan in 1893. Moissan thought he had hit the proverbial jackpot while he was inspecting rocks in a crater caused by a meteor in Arizona. Originally, Moissan thought what he found were diamonds but after years of studying the natural matter, he realized it was silicon carbide. It would take nearly a century after Moissan’s discovery for scientists to figure out how to transform the silicon carbide into jewelry-ready stones in a lab. Today, all moissanite is made in a lab. In fact, because naturally occurring moissanite is so uncommon, there’s not enough on earth to make a single pair of earrings.
Is moissanite a diamond? No. There are technical details we’ll get into in a bit, but here’s the bird’s-eye view: Lab-grown diamonds are chemically and structurally identical to natural diamonds, and moissanite is engineered to be a diamond imitation. While both moissanite and lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab, key differences include the laboratory process used to make them, their durability, and the color of the stones. But, most importantly, moissanite is simply not a diamond nor is it as valuable.