Moissanite vs Cubic Zirconia: Here's The Difference

January 17, 2024
Moissanite vs Cubic zirconia

When it comes to choosing the perfect gemstone for your jewelry, moissanite and cubic zirconia are two popular options that offer an alternative to traditional diamonds. Both are often used as diamond simulants, providing a similar sparkle and brilliance at a fraction of the cost. In this article, we'll discuss the difference between moissanite vs cubic zirconia, exploring their properties, differences, and considerations to help you make an informed decision for your jewelry needs.


Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral, though the moissanite used in jewelry is usually lab created due to its scarcity in nature. Its exceptional brilliance and fire make it an attractive choice for engagement rings and other jewelry pieces. Moissanite chemical composition of silicon carbide (SiC) contributes to its remarkable durability, ranking just below diamonds on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Moissanite Engagement Rings


Exploring Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia, on the other hand, is a synthetic material made from zirconium dioxide. Its visual similarity to diamonds has led to its widespread use in jewelry since the 1970s. While cubic zirconia lacks the hardness of moissanite, it still ranks relatively high on the hardness scale. However, it may be more prone to scratching and damage over time compared to moissanite.

Difference Between Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia

Aspect Moissanite Cubic Zirconia
Origin and Composition Lab-created silicon carbide with exceptional brilliance and fire. Lab-created zirconium dioxide, visually similar to diamonds.
Brilliance Higher refractive index for more fire and sparkle. Impressive brilliance but can sometimes appear slightly artificial.
Hardness and Durability Mohs scale rating of 9.25, highly resistant to scratching. Mohs scale rating of around 8.5, durable but more susceptible to scratches.
Color and Clarity Nearly colorless, slight green/yellow undertone in certain lighting. Often colorless, may exhibit rainbow effect in larger sizes.
Price More expensive due to closer diamond resemblance. More affordable option, suitable for budget-conscious shoppers.
Ethical and Environmental Lab-created, environmentally friendly option. Lab-created, lower ecological impact than mined gemstones.
Longevity and Maintenance Maintains sparkle over time, minimal maintenance required. Might require more frequent replacement due to lower durability.
Resale Value Limited resale value, purchased for aesthetic appeal. Similar limited resale value, primarily purchased for appearance.
Usage Ideal for engagement rings and special occasions. Popular for fashion jewelry and temporary pieces.
Popularity and Acceptance Gained popularity for brilliance and ethical aspects. Widely used but might lack prestige due to lower durability.
Expert Opinions Recommended for durability, brilliance, and ethics. Admired for affordability but might have lower durability.
Setting Options Various settings and designs available. Wide array of settings, allowing for customization.
Making Your Choice Preferred for authenticity and durability. Affordability might outweigh slight compromises in brilliance and durability.
Conclusion Superior brilliance and durability. Affordable option with its own merits.

Both are popular alternatives to natural diamonds, offering a similar sparkle at a fraction of the cost. let's break down the differences between moissanite and cubic zirconia in a straightforward way.

You know, they're both pretty sparkly and cost way less than diamonds, but here's what sets them apart.

Moissanite, first found in a meteorite, is a natural mineral, but most of the moissanite you see in jewelry is actually made in a lab. It's known for its dazzling sparkle and is quite tough, almost as hard as a real diamond.

On the flip side, cubic zirconia, or CZ for short, is entirely synthetic and created from zirconium dioxide crystals. It's budget-friendly and can look like a diamond, but it's not as durable as moissanite and might wear out faster.

So, when choosing between moissanite vs cubic zirconia for your bling, consider your style and how long you want your gem to shine. Moissanite is a bit tougher and closer to a real diamond, while CZ is more affordable but may need a little extra care over time. It all boils down to what suits your taste and wallet best.

The Brilliance Battle

One big thing to consider when comparing them is brilliance – that stunning sparkle that catches everyone's eye. Brilliance is all about how well a gemstone reflects white light. Now, here's where things get interesting:

Moissanite refractive index is higher than cubic zirconia's. What does that mean? Well, it leads to a more dazzling show of colors and light dispersion. Moissanite really knows how to play with fire, and this gives it a little extra oomph when it comes to brilliance. So, if you're all about that sparkling and colorful bling, moissanite might just have a slight edge over cubic zirconia in this dazzling department.

Durability and Hardness

Durability is a crucial consideration when choosing a gemstone for everyday wear. Moissanite exceptional hardness makes it a durable option that can withstand the rigors of daily life. Cubic zirconia, while durable in its own right, may be more susceptible to wear and tear over time. Choosing moissanite for rings and other frequently worn jewelry pieces might be a more prudent choice if long-term durability is a priority.

Moissanite: On the Mohs scale of hardness, moissanite scores a 9.25, making it one of the hardest gemstones available for jewelry. This makes it highly resistant to scratching and suitable for everyday wear.

Cubic Zirconia: With a hardness rating of around 8.5 on the Mohs scale, cubic zirconia is softer than moissanite. While it's still durable, it's more susceptible to scratches over time, particularly with daily use.

Color and Clarity

Let's talk about "Color and Clarity" when it comes to cubic zirconia vs moissanite:

In the color department, both gems give you choices, ranging from completely colorless to different shades. Now, here's the scoop: Moissanite usually shows less color than cubic zirconia. This difference can become more apparent in larger stones. So, if you're aiming for that ultra-clear, diamond-like appearance, moissanite might have the edge.

Now, onto clarity! Both moissanite and cubic zirconia can often be pretty clear and free from those tiny flaws called inclusions. This clarity boost makes them look even more fabulous. So, whether you go for moissanite or cubic zirconia, you're likely to enjoy a gem that shines brilliantly without any distracting imperfections!

Moissanite and Cubic zirconia: Cost Comparison

Now, one of the big perks of both moissanite and cubic zirconia is that they won't break the bank like natural diamonds. But here's the deal: Moissanite tends to be a bit pricier than cubic zirconia. Why, you ask? Well, moissanite is rarer and looks closer to the real diamond deal.

So, if you're after that genuine diamond look and want a gem that can take a bit more wear and tear, the slightly higher price tag of moissanite might just be worth it. But if you're all about budget-friendly bling that still shines bright, cubic zirconia's affordability might be your jam! It all comes down to what suits your style and wallet best.

Aspect Moissanite Cubic Zirconia
Affordability Generally more expensive Budget-friendly
Rarity Rarer More common
Resemblance to Diamonds Closer resemblance Less resemblance
Durability Superior Slightly less durable
Overall Value Higher price point justified for a more authentic look and durability Affordable alternative for budget-conscious shoppers

Environmental Considerations

If you're all about making eco-friendly choices, here's something to consider: Moissanite may have a slight edge. Why? Well, the moissanite-making process is generally kinder to the environment compared to the energy-intensive methods used to produce cubic zirconia.

So, if you want your bling to align better with your sustainability values, moissanite might be the gem of choice. It's a sparkly way to show some love for our planet!

Setting Options


Moissanite popularity has opened up a world of possibilities in terms of settings and designs. You've got a wide range of options to choose from, making it perfect for those who love customization. Whether you prefer a classic solitaire or a more intricate design, moissanite can be set in various ways to suit your unique style.

Cubic Zirconia:

Similarly, cubic zirconia's budget-friendly nature means you have plenty of setting choices at your disposal. The affordability factor doesn't limit your options when it comes to personalization. So, whether you're looking for something traditional or a bit more avant-garde, cubic zirconia offers ample opportunities to create a piece of jewelry that reflects your personality.

Popularity and Acceptance

Now, let's talk about Popularity and Acceptance when it comes to moissanite and cubic zirconia:


Moissanite has been steadily gaining popularity over the years, and it's no surprise why. Its exceptional brilliance and ethical production practices have made it well-accepted as a fantastic alternative to diamonds. Many people appreciate its unique sparkle and the fact that it's a more environmentally conscious choice.

Cubic Zirconia:

Cubic zirconia has been a go-to option for affordable jewelry for decades. However, it might not carry the same level of prestige as moissanite. This is because cubic zirconia, although budget-friendly, is known to be less durable in the long run. So, while it's widely used, it may not always be considered a top choice for those seeking a gemstone with lasting appeal.

Occasions and Usage


Moissanite striking resemblance to diamonds makes it a fantastic choice for special occasions where you want that diamond-like dazzle. It's particularly well-suited for engagement rings, where you can get the same luxurious look without the hefty price tag. So, if you're planning a proposal or celebrating a significant milestone, moissanite can add that extra sparkle to your moment.

Cubic Zirconia:

Cubic zirconia shines brightly in the world of fashion jewelry and temporary pieces. Thanks to its affordability and vibrant sparkle, it's an excellent choice for adding some bling to your everyday style without breaking the bank. While it may not have the durability for long-term wear like moissanite, it's perfect for accessorizing and enhancing your look for special occasions or just to elevate your daily fashion game.

Gemstone Occasions and Usage
Moissanite Ideal for engagement rings and special occasions where a diamond-like look is desired.
Cubic Zirconia Popular choice for fashion jewelry and temporary pieces, given its affordability and vibrant sparkle.

Expert Opinions and Recommendations


Many jewelers and experts give their stamp of approval to moissanite. Why? Well, it's highly regarded for its impressive durability, breathtaking brilliance, and ethical production methods. So, if you're seeking a gemstone that can withstand the test of time and still look stunning, moissanite often comes highly recommended.

Cubic Zirconia:

Now, cubic zirconia certainly has its admirers, especially for its affordability. However, it might not always receive the same level of recommendation as moissanite. Why? The slight drawback lies in its lower durability compared to moissanite, which means it may not be as well-suited for long-term wear. So, while cubic zirconia is budget-friendly and sparkly, it might not be the top choice for those looking for a gemstone that can stand up to the rigors of everyday life.

Making Your Choice


If you want a gemstone that truly shines with superior brilliance, boasts impressive durability, and closely mimics the look of diamonds, then moissanite could be your top pick. Keep in mind that it might come with a slightly higher price tag, but for those seeking a gemstone that ticks all the boxes, it's worth the investment.

Cubic Zirconia:

On the other hand, if your budget is a primary concern and you're okay with a bit of compromise on brilliance and long-term durability, cubic zirconia can be an excellent choice. It still delivers that dazzling sparkle without breaking the bank, making it perfect for those who want to make a statement without a hefty price.

Ultimately, it's your personal preferences and priorities that should guide your decision. Whether you opt for moissanite or cubic zirconia, both offer beautiful alternatives to natural diamonds that can suit your style and budget.



When it comes to moissanite versus cubic zirconia, it's really about finding the gem that speaks to you. Moissanite wows with its brilliant sparkle and durability, making it a top choice for those who crave that diamond-like dazzle that lasts. Meanwhile, cubic zirconia is the budget-friendly option that doesn't skimp on style and shine.

Whether you're hunting for that dreamy engagement ring or a piece of jewelry to light up your everyday style, your choice boils down to your personal preferences. By understanding what sets moissanite and cubic zirconia apart, you can pick the gem that matches your taste, budget, and values. Both gems have their own charm, so it's an exciting journey to discover the one that's just right for your special moments and individual flair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the comparison between moissanite and cubic zirconia:

What is moissanite, and what is cubic zirconia?

  • Moissanite is a naturally occurring or lab-created gemstone known for its brilliance and durability.
  • Cubic zirconia (CZ) is a synthetic gemstone made from zirconium dioxide crystals, valued for its affordability and sparkle.

Which one looks more like a real diamond, moissanite, or cubic zirconia?

  • Moissanite is often considered closer in appearance to a real diamond due to its superior brilliance and clarity.

Are moissanite and cubic zirconia environmentally friendly?

  • Moissanite is generally considered more eco-friendly, as its production methods are less energy-intensive compared to cubic zirconia.

How do moissanite and cubic zirconia compare in terms of durability?

  • Moissanite is more durable than cubic zirconia and is closer to the hardness of a natural diamond.

Which one is more affordable, moissanite or cubic zirconia?

  • Cubic zirconia is typically more affordable than moissanite, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious consumers.

Can you tell the difference between moissanite and cubic zirconia with the naked eye?

  • In many cases, it can be challenging to distinguish between moissanite and cubic zirconia without specialized equipment due to their similar appearance.

Which gemstone is better for an engagement ring?

  • Moissanite is often preferred for engagement rings due to its durability and diamond-like appearance, but cubic zirconia is also a popular choice for those on a tighter budget.

Do moissanite and cubic zirconia require special care or maintenance?

  • Moissanite and cubic zirconia are both relatively low-maintenance gemstones, but it's a good practice to clean them regularly to maintain their sparkle.

Are there ethical considerations when choosing between moissanite and cubic zirconia?

  • Moissanite is generally considered more ethical, as it can be produced using more sustainable practices, while cubic zirconia production may have environmental concerns.

Which gemstone is more widely accepted in the jewelry industry?

  • Moissanite has gained greater acceptance in the jewelry industry over the years due to its superior quality and durability, while cubic zirconia is often used for fashion jewelry.

About The Author

Author's Name

Emma Rae

Emma Rae, a distinguished Canadian jewelry writer, boasts over five years of expertise in the industry. Known for her deep understanding of jewelry design and trends, she's a credible and authoritative voice. Her insightful writing, featured in top jewelry magazines and online platforms, showcases her passion and respect for craftsmanship. Emma engaging and knowledgeable articles have earned her recognition and trust in the jewelry fashion world.



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