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Thinking about buying a Moissanite ring and want to know what you should look for? You’re in good company. Many couples today choose Moissanite engagement rings or moissanite wedding bands due to their beauty, affordability, and sustainability. But, there are a few catches to getting it right. Read on to learn what to make sure you ask for in your Moissanite engagement ring!
“Moissanite was originally discovered at the site of a meteor strike in Arizona in the late 1800s by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Henri Moissan,” says Sarah O’Dea, of Charles & Colvard, the premier and original maker of moissanite jewelry. Moissanite, (also known as silicon carbide) with its brilliant, shimmery façade, is actually incredibly rare. But in the 1980s, a company in North Carolina developed a process for producing crystals of moissanite. Later, jewelry incorporating moissanite was introduced in 1998 by Charles & Colvard and continues to be a trend in wedding accessories today.
So what exactly is the difference between moissanite and diamonds?
Moissanite scores 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness, while diamonds score 10. This scale measures a gem’s ability to withstand scratches. Diamonds, at 10, are very hard and durable. And since moissanite is close behind at 9.25, it makes a great alternative for engagement rings and wedding rings since the gem can handle the wear of everyday use.
Colorless diamonds contain no trace of other shades. Colorless moissanite, on the other hand, may project hints of yellow or grey. With both diamonds and moissanite, color is more apparent in larger gems.
Brilliance, a gem’s ability to reflect light, gives it its sparkling appearance. Moissanite and diamonds reflect light in different ways since their faceting patterns are different. “Gemstone fire or dispersion refers to how the stone breaks down light into spectral colors (the
rainbow effect) through double refraction,” says O’Dea. “When one ray of light passes through a moissanite gemstone, it is actually bent and refracted into two, emitting even more fire. This does not occur in a diamond, which only experiences single refraction.” While some people are partial to moissanite’s rainbow reflections, others prefer the classic radiance of a diamond.
When it comes to choosing between moissanite and diamonds, it really comes down to price. The cost of a moissanite ring varies depending on the size and the quality of the stones, just as the cost of diamond rings varies according to to cut, carat, clarity, and shape. Lab-produced diamonds are also less expensive than natural diamonds. But the bottom line is that moissanite jewelry is significantly cheaper than diamond jewelry: a 1-carat moissanite can cost around $400, while a 1-carat diamond can cost around $4,000. It’s a huge gap.
Yes. There are three basic grades of Moissanite. When Moissanite first came out, technology had only advanced so far as to make yellowish-green stones. We call this “classic” Moissanite, and it is still on the market (look out!). Because what people really wanted was a good diamond alternative, gem scientists continued to experiment. Today, Charles and Colvard offer colorless and near-colorless Moissanite. Colorless Moissanite looks like an E color diamond, whereas near-colorless Moissanite looks more like an H-colored diamond. These newer stones are gorgeous Moissanite engagement ring options.
Natural diamonds, on the other hand, are found in either kimberlite formations, miles underneath the earth’s surface, or in riverbeds and on the ocean floor. Most natural diamonds come from Africa, where large corporations dig miles into the earth’s surface to uncover the deep-earth gems. Or, they’re sourced through alluvial mining, a process that involves extracting the mineral from stream bed deposits. This process, often done by hand, is much like the gold mining of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Both forms of mining are surrounded by controversy, as the heavy machinery causes pollution and the destruction of natural environments, and miners in Africa are often paid incredibly low wages to work in highly dangerous conditions. Those looking for a more ethical choice often select moissanite, which is produced in labs.
As mentioned above, moissanite is known for its sparkling, rainbow light reflections. According to O’Dea, it’s actually 10-percent more brilliant than diamonds. “The most significant optical property affecting a gemstone’s brilliance, or sparkle, is the brilliance refractive index (BRI),” says O’Dea. “The BRI of moissanite ranges from 2.65 to 2.69, making it more brilliant than any other gemstone–including diamond, which has a BRI of 2.42.”
For individuals with nontraditional style, moissanite makers like Charles & Colvard offer other gem color options, including lab-created green moissanite gems, in honor of their commitment to being environmentally responsible.
A much larger size moissanite ring could be a fraction of the cost of a smaller diamond ring. If size is what matters, you’ll get more bang for your buck with moissanite. We’re talking 10-percent of the cost of a diamond ring.
While the two gems may look similar, they’re not the same thing. Many still believe that buying moissanite is “faking it.” And if we’re talking engagement rings, your fiancé could be mortified to find out her ring is a moissanite gem instead of a “real diamond.” A diamond ring represents tradition, and buying moissanite can be seen as breaking tradition.
The telltale sign of a moissanite ring is the gem’s slightly yellow, grey, or green tint. Those who love the pure, translucent look of a diamond might be put off by the subtle hue of moissanite.
Some individuals prefer lab-created moissanite for moral and ethical purposes. But for others, the appeal of a (natural) diamond is that it comes from the earth—that’s what makes it rare, special, and fitting for a ring that’s meant to be worn for life.
Like any other stone, maintenance is key. Take your ring to a professional at least once a year—this will help keep your ring looking its best. The expert will deep clean the ring, remove any buildup for the stone, and underneath the setting. You can also upkeep the ring on your own at home with a gentle cleanser.
To keep the ring looking radiant, try not to play with the stone. It’s natural to want to admire your ring, but lessening how much you touch the ring will also assist in keeping the ring buildup free.
Insuring your ring is also another component when caring for your engagement ring. In case anything happened to the ring, it’s best to have some protection. Insurance will cover damages and, in the worst-case scenario, theft. It’s best to have a plan so that your ring will always be taken care of, no matter the circumstances.
“Moissanite is a great alternative to diamonds for several reasons,” says Don O’Connell, the CEO and President of Charles & Colvard. “With moissanite, you don’t have to sacrifice color, clarity, or size of the gemstone due to an astronomical price tag. Since it’s lab-grown, the quality is fantastic and you can feel good about wearing a socially responsible gem.”