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What's the difference between diamond, moissanite, and zircon


Everyone likes to have a precious jewelry collection including diamonds. Natural diamonds are cubic crystalline structure present in solid form. They are extremely rare and much more expensive than any other stone in the world. 

When thinking about a jewelry gift for our close ones, a diamond set would be probably the first choice! Also, there is no better way to propose as with a real diamond ring. However, due to the price tag, it might be beyond our financial possibilities. The alternative way to have a diamond gaze without much cost is only by diamond simulants such as moissanite and zircon (CZ).

What is the difference between diamond, moissanite, and zircon? Explained.

Distinguishing Factors of Diamond VS Moissanite and Zircon 

There are several factors that help us to distinguish between Diamond, Moissanite, and Zircon such as:

  • Color 
  • Specific gravity
  • Cost & value
  • The Hardness of the stone
  • Thermal conductivity
  • The way the stone refracts light (refractive index),

 Diamond simulant looks identical but they are different at every aspect. Let’s discuss them in detail:

History & origin 

The history of jewellery is long and goes back many years, with many different uses among different cultures. Before we learn about the differences, let's to get know their history and origin



The raw deposits of diamonds were formed 900 million years ago. It was first discovered by Erasmus Jacobs at the age of 15 only in South Africa between December 1866 and February 1867 on the south bank of the Orange River found a transparent rock while working on his father's farm. However, the earliest diamonds were discovered in India about the 4th century BC. If you want to find out more about all different kinds of diamonds and everything that relates, we would love to recommend you visiting Diamonds in the library. 



The natural moissanite was discovered by Henri Moissan in 1893 while examining rock samples from a meteor crater located in Arizona. At first sight, he mistakenly identified them as crystals of diamonds but in 1904 after research, he identified these crystals as silicon carbide a mineral species. 



Zircon is one of the oldest & precious minerals on Earth, dating back more than 4.4 billion years of history. It is also mention in the bible. Zircon is easily accessible all over the world in crystal form but varies in its gem-quality.


Diamond is a naturally occurring mineral composing pure carbon. It is formed under high temperature and pressure. All the atoms in the diamond crystal bound together by strong chemical bonding and form a crystalline structure.

Moissanite composed of silicon and carbon together called silicon carbide having the chemical formula SiC. It is mostly manufactured in labs but very similar to diamonds. Its molecular weight is 40.10 gm.

  • Silicon 70.04 % 
  • Carbon 29.96 % 

Zircon is composed of zirconium silicate minerals having a chemical composition of ZrSiO4. Zircon present in cubic crystalline form. It consists of a mixture of zirconium and oxygen in its composition. 

  • ZrO2 67.2 % 
  • SiO2 32.8 % 

Today all the Moissanite and Zircon stones available in the market are manufactured by labs. Although both are rare in natural states, Moissanite is more similar to diamond than to zirconia (CZ).

Symbolic Significance

Diamond refers to the symbolism of perfection, purity, light, unbeatable spiritual power, and it is the stone of promise, faithfulness, and commitment between couples. In Bible, it represented the tribe of Naphtali that first used to be worn on a high priest's breastplate.

Moissanite is a symbol to provide you courage and self-confidence to open up your life. It has great properties of awakening your hidden potential. Moissanite is a very precious gemstone that lets you perform all of your inborn supremacy.

Zircon represents honor, wisdom, self-confidence, and to brings us to prosperity. The cubic zircon crystal has great significance in spiritual healing and removing negativity as well as clears your mind from evil thoughts by providing peace.  

The Durability of Diamond VS Moissanite and Zircon 

In durability, diamond ranks first as the hardest gemstone in nature at 10 on the Mohs scale. But you can scratch it very easily. 

Moissanite ranks second hardest gemstone in jewelry after diamond at 9.25 on the Mohs scale. Durability, high resistance to damage, and abrasion make it ideal for daily wear. Moissanites are more resistant to heat than even diamonds, which means if they attempt to fire accidentally, they would still able to retain their crystalline form and sparkle.

Zircon is also precious, durable, and hard stone ranking at 8 to 8.5 on the scale. Just like moissanite zircon is also scratch-resistant so it’s the best option for daily wear. 

Comparison of Price Range 

Diamond takes years to develop and its cost varies due to several factors such as cuts-quality, color, size, sharpness, and clarity. Usually a 1carat diamond costs between $1800 and $12,000.

There are also global quality standard for diamond called 4Cs:

  • color
  • clarity
  • cut 
  • carat weight

Moissanite is usually created in labs as like diamonds its cost also varies due to color, brilliance, and hardness. It is the best and high-quality diamond simulant for engagement purposes. Generally 1 carat Moissanite costs around $200 - 300.

Zircon price is also depending on quality factors (color, sharpness, and cuts) of the gemstone. It ranges from around $50 to $400 per carat. It is considered a low price Diamond simulant but has great historical values. It is easily available in many colors.

Value of Diamond VS Moissanite and Zircon 

Diamond is naturally very much valuable, worthy, and precious gemstone but it is hard to access. 

On the other hand, Moissanite is less expensive than diamond but much more expensive than cubic Zircon. A high-quality moissanite gemstone has great resale value and has the synthetic cost of 10% to the diamond or almost 90% less expensive to it. 

Zircon is easily affordable on your wallet but has no resale value.

The Visual difference between Diamond VS Moissanite and Zircon (refractive index)

Diamonds do not show any prominent light effect. This is the main distinguishing aspect between moissanite and diamond.  

In sunlight, Moissanite shows a beautiful rainbow effect. It is prominent by size, the greater the stone pronounced will be the rainbow effect.  Moissanites emerge more brilliantly than natural diamonds and cubic zircon (CZ), which means Moissanite, has a higher refractive index.

Zircon (CZ) gives a glassy look but shows a distinct amount of sparkle and brilliance that identify it from the above two.

Grading of Diamond VS Moissanite and Zircon 

Diamonds are graded by 4C’s scale formula like color, clarity, cut, carat weight.

Moissanite is graded exclusively on a color base. Premium quality Moissanites are virtually colorless.

Zircon is graded from the lowest quality to the highest depending on hardness. 5A cubic zirconia (CZ) has a hardness of about 8.5. 

Comparison of Specific Gravity

The density of the stone depends on specific gravity. Even diamond is the naturally hardest mineral. A 1ct moissanite comes into sight larger than a 1ct diamond, and a 1ct diamond will significantly appear superior to a 1ct cubic zircon (CZ). 

For example, in water, if you place each stone of the same carat, a zircon will sink to the base much faster than a diamond and moissanite.


Every women's heart desires for a natural diamond jewelry. It is especially the secret wish to receive the diamond engagement ring. Yes, I'm talking to you young gentlemen! This is something your future wife will never forget and will be always proud of. Now let's be realistic. Of course it's not always possible for a young man to surprise his spouse with a diamond engagement ring so don't be sad, just pick a nice diamond simulant such as Moissanite or Zircon! 

Moissanite and Zircon both are valuable and quite affordable.  Zircon has no resale price so moissanite is considered the best alternative option of diamond in market significance, as a gift or engagement ring. Also, the sparkle of moissanite is always confused with natural diamond so that's the best alternative to a natural diamond.


  • Rachel Evans said:

    This post is a bit confusing because in some areas it talks about Zircon and Cubic Zirconia (CZ) as two separate stones which they are. In other places it reads as though they are interchangeable, which they are not. White Zircons are naturally occurring semi-precious stones mined from the earth and Cubic Zirconia (CZ) are synthetic man-made material. They are often referred to as diamond stimulants.

    September 11, 2023

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