- Rachel Verinder – young heiress at the centre of the story; on her 18th birthday she inherits the gem of the title.
- Lady Verinder – her mother, a wealthy widow devoted to her only child.
- Colonel Herncastle – Lady Verinder's brother, suspected of foul deeds in India, including the theft of the Moonstone.
- Gabriel Betteredge – the Verinders' head servant, first narrator.
- Penelope Betteredge – his daughter, also a servant in the household.
- Rosanna Spearman – second housemaid, ex-thief, suspicious and tragic character.
- Drusilla Clack – a poor cousin of Rachel Verinder, an unlikeable Christian evangelist and meddler, second narrator.
- Franklin Blake – adventurer, another cousin and suitor.
- Godfrey Ablewhite – philanthropist, another cousin and suitor.
- Mr. Bruff – family solicitor, third narrator.
- Sergeant Cuff – famous detective with a penchant for roses.
- Dr. Candy – the family physician, loses his ability to speak coherently because of a fever.
- Ezra Jennings – Dr. Candy's unpopular and odd-looking assistant, suffers from an incurable illness and uses opium to control the pain, fourth narrator.
- Mr. Murthwaite – a noted adventurer who has travelled frequently in India; he provides the epilogue to the story.
- The Indian jugglers – disguised Hindu Brahmins who are determined to recover the diamond.
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