Moissanite, or simulated diamond, is an incredibly popular and affordable diamond alternative. Moreover, it looks fantastic in the gemstone jewelry and engagement rings. Just like diamonds, this white gemstone has a variety of gemstone grades to best help you understand its qualities, allowing you to make educated purchases. Keep reading as we take a deep dive into defining moissanite clarity, the clarity scale, the best clarity grades, and more.
What is moissanite clarity?
We have all heard of the 4C’s of diamond grading, but did you know that these grades also apply to moissanite? Clarity grade refers to the number of imperfections that a stone has referred to as inclusions. Nearly all stones have some amount of inclusions, and only highly expensive simulated diamonds have exceptional clarity grades.
Inclusions are the result of foreign material, such as crystals, minerals, and gas bubbles, that become trapped inside a stone as it forms. Luckily for these white gemstone lovers, most of these inclusions are not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen with a 10x jeweler’s magnification loop.
What are the types of moissanite inclusions?
Inclusions are a major reason why no two stones are alike. Just like diamonds, they can have a variety of inclusions, including:
The most common type of moissanite inclusions are needles that get their name from their thin, needle-like appearance. Needles are typically white or translucent and only visible under magnification. Needles are only an issue for these stones if they appear in clusters which do significantly worsen the clarity grade.
Mineral crystals are light or dark crystals within the gemstone. It is best to avoid buying moissanite with sizable mineral crystals viewable by the naked eye.
These inclusions are hazy looking spots within the stone. When viewed under extreme magnification, these cloudy spots are actually clusters of pinpoints and crystals within the gemstone.
Reminiscent to a wisp or crack within the stone, feathers are minute fractures. Avoid simulated diamonds with many feathers because they can worsen the structural integrity of the stone. If hit with a sudden blow, the gemstone can fracture.
A knot is a white or transparent crystal visible on the stone’s polished surface. Similarly like feathers, knots threaten a gemstone’s structural integrity.
These inclusions are shallow openings on the stone’s surface. Moreover, they are typically found on the culet, facet junctions, and girdle. These inclusions are typically the result of the wearer accidentally damaging the gemstone.
Like a tooth cavity, simulated diamond cavities are deep openings on the stone’s surface which can trap dirt and oil. Many cavities will result in dark spots on the gemstone because of dirt and oil buildup.
How is clarity graded?
As with diamonds, moissanite’s clarity grade is influenced by the number of imperfections it has. Moissanite with no imperfections or an extremely finite amount is more coveted than their visibly marred counterparts and come at higher price points. While there are 11 distinct grades on the moissanite clarity chart, these grades can be divided into five major categories we ranked from best to worst:
Flawless and internally flawless
Very, very slightly included
Very slightly included
I1, I2, I3:
Moving from just one clarity grade to the next can alter the price of your moissanite by hundreds of dollars. So we recommend for you to carefully consider which is your ideal clarity grade. The best gemstone clarity grades, that are the best bang for your buck, range from VVS1 clarity moissanite to VS2.
How does gemstone cutting affect the clarity grade?
Gemstone cutters have many factors to keep in mind when cutting raw moissanite into the beautiful stones sold in jewelry. Most cutters work to preserve as much of the raw white gemstone as possible to sell it at high prices. However, this means that certain cutters will avoid removing inclusions to produce higher carat moissanite.
With the right balance of weight preservation and careful inclusion removal, a skilled cutter can produce exceptional moissanite with few imperfections. If you are unsure about which clarity grade is best for you, we recommend avoiding all moissanite in the I1 to I3 category. Contact our gemologists for any further questions.
Are natural moissanite rare?
Naturally-occurring moissanite is incredibly rare and all moissanite used in jewelry is lab-grown. These synthetic diamonds were first discovered by chemist Dr. Henri Moissan in 1893 in a crater from a meteorite strike in Arizona. Since then, this gemstone has only been found as extremely small crystals in a few deposits across the world.
What is moissanite rated on the Mohs Scale of Hardness?
Everyone knows that diamonds are the hardest natural substance in the world, ranking at a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Since lab-grown diamonds are created to be genuine diamonds with the exact same physical properties, these synthetic diamonds are also a 10 on the hardness scale.
Moissanite ranks closely to diamonds on Mohs scale of hardness at 9.25. Thus, making it a suitable choice for daily wear. Thanks to this gemstone’s remarkable hardness, you will not need to worry about it getting scratched during wear like a softer stone such as emeralds, which are just a 7.50 on the hardness scale.
All of With Clarity’s moissanite is lab created (as with most moissanite in the market), and professionally selected for their outstanding cut, color, and clarity grades that will always look as beautiful as the day they were bought.
If you are looking for a diamond ring alternative, we recommend you to research moissanite engagement rings. It has similar optical properties and is a better fit for a smaller budget.