Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite

Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite

Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite. It doesn’t take an online blog post for you to know that diamonds are expensive.

Whether you’re shopping for wedding rings, anniversary gifts, or just some jewelry to gift yourself, you want to find the balance between look and price. Everyone wants the appearance of a big diamond, but it’s not in everyone’s price range.

Luckily there are other gem choices that are cheaper while still giving you that shiny, expensive look. 

Cubic zirconia and moissanite are gem alternatives for those looking to save money on fine jewelry. Both are great alternatives to diamonds and are becoming increasingly popular for jewelry buyers looking to save a few bucks.

In this article, we will examine how they are different and which gem alternative works best for you!

Cubic Zirconia vs. Moissanite – Which One is Better?

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Sdouefos Cubic Zirconia Ring | Source: Amazon

Like most fashion comparisons, one choice is not necessarily better than another. Comparisons help us decide what works better for each person depending on their lifestyle, taste, and price point. 

When choosing a diamond alternative, many people will opt for moissanite because it is thought to be a finer gem. It is more expensive than cubic zirconia, which costs about $30 per carat.

Moissanite costs about $400 per carat. For the sake of comparison, a diamond is typically over $1,000 per carat from most retailers. 

Moissanite is also harder on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is used to measure the hardness of gemstones on a scale of 1-10. Typically, the better the gem, the higher it is on the scale.

A diamond is a 10 on the scale while moissanite is a 9.5 and cubic zirconia is an 8.5. 

Many people will say Moissanite is better because it is more similar to a diamond in hardness and price, and they value the cultural significance and class associated with diamonds. However, cubic zirconia is also a great alternative if you’re looking for jewelry at a reasonable price point that still looks and shines like a diamond. 

What is Cubic Zirconia?

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Sterling Cubic Zirconia Ring | Source: Amazon

Cubic Zirconia is one of the many gemstones known for being a diamond alternative. It has become increasingly popular in the jewelry industry due to its reasonable price and similarity in look to a shiny diamond. 

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that is colorless. It is made from the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide.

While extremely rare, the gemstone can be found in nature. However, it is typically synthetically made, and all cubic zirconia jewelry is man-made. 

Cubic zirconia is a very cheap alternative to a diamond and can be found for as cheap as $15 per carat. The gem holds little value on its own but looks very similar to an expensive diamond on jewelry.

One of the only ways someone can tell the difference is by looking at the light it gives off. Cubic zirconia will give off more of a rainbow light while diamonds give off a bright light. 

This gem will have a lot of durability as it is an 8.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, but will not hold up as long as a diamond. It will become dull relatively quickly in comparison. 

What is Moissanite?

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CivetCat Moissanite Diamond | Source: Amazon

Moissanite is another gemstone that has become a popular diamond alternative. This stone is also made in a lab but can be found in nature on rare occasions.

However, you will not find naturally occurring moissanite in your jewelry, similar to cubic zirconia.  

Moissanite is a 9.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is extremely comparable to level 10 of a diamond. Due to its hardness, moissanite is durable and fit for everyday wear

Moissanite gives off a more colorful light reflection than a diamond does, which is a deal-breaker for some. However, this multi-colored light is preferred by many.

Moissanite can also develop a yellow or grayish tint over time or in certain lighting, while a diamond should stay consistently clear. 

This gem is also cheaper than a diamond but more expensive than its counterpart, cubic zirconia. One carat of moissanite can be about $400. 

Difference Between Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia

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Infinity Cubic Zirconia Necklace | Source: Amazon

The biggest differences between moissanite and cubic zirconia are the price and the hardness. Both gems are colorless, rarely found in nature, and normally created in a lab. They are also both great alternatives to diamonds.

Moissanite is a 9.5 out of 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it more similar to a diamond in hardness and durability. It’ll likely stay looking fresh for longer compared to cubic zirconia, which falls at an 8.5 on the scale.

Also, cubic zirconia can be found for $15-$30 per carat while moissanite lands at around $300 per carat. Both are significantly cheaper than a diamond, which is about $1,000 per carat, or more. 

Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite – Price

Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite are both significantly cheaper than diamonds. Per carat, cubic zirconia can be found for about $15 to $30 per carat depending on the size.

Moissanite is about $300 per carat, which is more than cubic zirconia, but still way less than a diamond

Another thing to consider with the price is that cubic zirconia has next to no value on its own. When included in jewelry, the resale value is still very low.

Moissanite has a slightly higher value when standing alone. 

What Size of Moissanite Looks Fake?

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Moissanite Diamond Bracelet | Source: Amazon

Moissanite is probably the diamond alternative most similar to a diamond. From an outside perspective, it’s very hard to tell the two gems apart, especially when looking from a distance, such as seeing a ring on someone’s finger.

However, at a certain point, moissanite can appear more fake when it goes up in size. 

Once moissanite gets larger than 6.7mm, a little less than 1.5 carats, it can appear to be fake. You’ll be able to more clearly see the color difference and the way the light reflects off the gem differently.

However, moissanite under this size is extremely difficult to tell the difference when compared to a diamond. 

Is Moissanite the Best Fake Diamond?

If you’re looking for the best alternative to a diamond, moissanite is probably the best gemstone to get. From a distance, the two gems look almost identical.

If you look very closely, you may be able to notice a slightly yellow or gray hue on moissanite over time. Also, it may reflect more of a colorful light than a diamond.

From far away, you can barely tell a difference at all. The hardness of moissanite, 9.5, is also one of the most comparable hardness levels of a gemstone to a diamond’s 10. Despite these slight differences, moissanite is the next best thing to a real diamond. 

How to Tell Moissanite from Cubic Zirconia?

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Moissanite Stud Earrings | Source: Amazon

When you examine the formation of the two diamond alternatives, there are quite a few ways to tell the difference. With the naked eye, it’s a bit harder. 

One way to tell the difference between moissanite and cubic zirconia is by looking for scratches. Moissanite does not scratch as easily as cubic zirconia, especially over time.

Moissanite will also stay shinier than cubic zirconia over time. As for light reflection, moissanite will reflect light more and is brighter than cubic zirconia. Both will reflect rainbow lights rather than a diamond’s white light. 

Are Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite Worth it?

Are these two diamond alternatives worth the money still? It depends.

If you are looking for a fine piece of jewelry that is long-lasting but you cannot afford a diamond, I would opt for the moissanite.

It will stay shiny and durable for a long time. If you want cheap jewelry that is not for everyday wear but looks clean and sparkly when you do put it on, cubic zirconia is a good choice. 


Both cubic zirconia and moissanite are popular diamond alternatives in jewelry. Both have their strengths and weaknesses as well.

At the end of the day, if you want the closest thing to a diamond without buying a diamond, you should get a piece of moissanite. It is more similar in every category than its counterpart of cubic zirconia. 

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