Moissanite engagement rings have grown very popular over the past few years as an alternative to the more traditional and expensive diamond. But what is Moissanite really and how to choose the right ring for your taste and budget?
Learn more about Moissanite and how to select your dream engagement ring!
- What is Moissanite
- Moissanite vs Diamonds
- The cost of Moissanite
- Moissanite cuts
- Caring for Moissanite
What is Moissanite
Moissanite or silicon carbide, is a mineral first discovered by Henry Moissan in 1813, while examining rock samples from a meteor crater in Arizona. This makes Moissanite very special and unique, due to the fact that the first natural Moissanite ever discovered, came from outer space.
Although Moissanite are not Diamonds, their use in engagement rings have become very popular. This is because of their extreme likeness to Diamonds, their affordability, durability and beauty.
Some may be concerned that the choice of Moissanite for an engagement ring may be tacky, however many have now come to love the beauty and uniqueness of Moissanite in it’s own right.
They are also an appealing option for those seeking an eco friendly gemstone as they require no mining. Ultimately, your engagement ring is a personal choice that will come down to taste and budget.
Where is Moissanite found
Natural Moissanite such as those found by Moissan, are extremely rare and is usually only found in very small quantities. Due to this, all Moissanite widely available today is lab created and therefore man made.
The first of these lab created gemstones was manufactured by Charles & Colvard (C3 Inc.), who received a patent for creating and marketing lab Moissanite. Their patent expired in 2018, which gave other jewelers the opportunity to also create and distribute Moissanite.
Being more widely available now, this is perhaps the reason for the increasing popularity of these gemstones in recent years.
How is Moissanite made
Moissanite is made from silicon carbide crystals, created through a combination of pressure and heat. The crystals are hand cut into small pieces to maximize the gemstone’s brilliance and fire. Using guidance tools and faceting machines, the gemstones are then shaped, faceted and polished. Finally the resulting gemstones are inspected, sorted, graded and shipped to select jewelry stores.
Due to the fact that Moissanite is created using advanced technology in a lab environment, these gemstones have a much smaller carbon footprint compared to natural gemstones or diamonds. They are therefore ideal for those looking for a responsibly sourced engagement ring.
Moissanite vs Diamonds
Moissanite vs Diamonds
Durability: Diamonds are pure carbon crystals, the hardest naturally occurring known compound. Moissanite or silicon carbide is the third hardest compound known to mankind. It is therefore extremely durable and resistant to breaking or chipping, almost to the same degree as Diamonds. Due to the durability of Moissanite they also never lose their sparkle and will remain brilliant. This makes it an ideal gemstone for engagement rings, as it will likely last forever.
Color: Natural diamonds are found in a variety of colors, ranging from brilliant white, to gray or slightly yellow tones. Since Moissanite is created in a lab, the gemstones available today are completely colorless, with very few or no inclusions, comparable to the brightest of white Diamonds.
Brilliance: Moissanite has a higher refractive index compare to Diamonds. What this means is that Moissanite bends light more than Diamonds do, giving Moissanite gemstones more sparkle and fire. They are in fact more brilliant than Diamonds! Moissanites also have higher dispersion than Diamonds do, which means they give off a stunning rainbow sparkle, compared to a diamond which gives off more of a white sparkle.
The cost of Moissanite
How much does Moissanite cost?
Moissanite is considerable more affordable than both natural and even lab created diamonds. Where lab diamonds are approximately 50% cheaper than natural diamonds, Moissanite is up to 90% cheaper than natural diamonds.
Moissanite typically varies in price based on size and whether the stone is premium or super premium. This makes it considerable more affordable and a much better option if you’re looking for more bang for your buck.
Below is approximate pricing for Diamonds, lab Diamonds and Moissanite:
While diamonds are graded on the 4 C’s scale (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat), Moissanites are graded solely on color. The cut and clarity grade is similar across different qualities of Moissanites.
What Moissanite cut is closest to Diamonds?
Round cut Moissanite, more than any other shape resembles a diamond the most closely. The reason for this is that this specific cut of Moissanite catches and refracts light in almost exactly the same way as a Diamond does.
Which Moissanite cut sparkles the most?
Round cut Moissanites not only look most similar to a Diamond, but is also the cut that sparkles the most, due to their 58 different facets that catch and reflect light. Other cuts that will also be especially sparkly, include cushion cut, radiant, princess cut or oval cut.
Caring for Moissanite
Although Moissanite is extremely durable, as with all jewelry it’s important to take good care of your gemstone.
How to clean Moissanite
Moissanite gemstones will never become cloudy or lose their sparkly, though if they become dirty they may start looking slightly dull. The best thing to do in this situation is to give your ring a gentle cleaning.
One of the best ways to clean Moissanite is with warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth. Place your ring in the solution and softly wipe it with the cloth. Once clean, rinse in water and allow to dry.
If you need something stronger than soap and water, you can use a non-toxic, non-abrasive commercial jewelry cleaner. Always make sure that the cleaner you use is compatible with the metal your stone is set in, as certain metals may tarnish with the wrong cleaner.
If you notice your stone starts looking a bit oily or filmy due to build up, you can clean it using silver polish. This will have your stone sparkling brilliantly again in no time.
Always avoid harmful chemicals when cleaning Moissanite.
How to store Moissanite
Due to the fact that Moissanite is very hard, it may scratch other jewelry or gemstones if stored together. Always store or travel with your Moissanite by keeping it in a separate soft pouch or ring box.