If you have been shopping around for an ethical engagement ring option, you might have heard of "moissanite". Although moissanite has been available for years now, not many jewelers know much about it, and the information about the wonderful gem is somewhat scarce and unclear!
Let's clarify the confusion! Discover all there is to know about the eco-friendly, frugal, beautiful gemstone that is moissanite.
Is moissanite a "real" gem?
Contrary to the popular belief, moissanite is a gemstone all of its own, composed of silicone carbide. It is not "fake diamond" nor a "man made diamond", although it is optically similar to diamonds. Moissanite naturally occurs in nature, but it is very scarce. Growing it in a laboratory environment is the best way to obtain a reliable supply of top quality, sizable gems.
Where does it come from?
Moissanite is a clear, sparkly gemstone that was discovered over a century ago by French chemist Henri Moissan while examining rock samples from a meteor crater. (How cool is that?!) It is a very rare mineral, and naturally occurring moissanite is virtually impossible to source reliably.
Since the 1990's, the wonders of technology have allowed scientists to synthesize a man-made version of the beautiful gemstone, by growing it in a controlled laboratory environment.
The moissanite we know and love today is a far superior product than what it was back then! Charles & Colvard was the first company to introduce lab grown moissanite to the jewelry market. The original moissanite got somewhat of a bad rep, mainly because of it's greenish to grayish color, that made it somewhat unappealing.
But rest assured! The process has now been perfected, and since 2015, it is now possible to grow completely colorless moissanites!
What do they look like?
The sparkle of a moissanite is unrivaled!
Moissanite has 2.4 times the fire of a diamond. "Fire" refers to the flashes of colors you see when a gem is exposed to light. To some, this rainbow effect is incredibly appealing, while to others, it is too much of a disco ball effect and not desirable. Regardless of how one feels about it, their is no denying that the fire of the moissanite gem is quite impressive! It also serves as one of the main ways to visually differentiate moissanite from diamond.
Moissanite is also an extremely clear gem. But once again, when compared to a diamond, their is a slight difference, and the moissanite might appear ever so slightly more opaque. That property is hard to notice when the gem is set in jewelry, and is mainly noticeable when a moissanite is placed right next to a diamond for comparison.
Moissanite is also extremely hard (9.5 on the Moh's scale), making it the second hardest gem in existence, right after diamond. It is harder and more resistant than rubies and sapphires! It is the perfect diamond alternative for an engagement ring, earrings, or any other precious piece of jewelry.
How is it graded?
Although moissanites can be graded with as much accuracy as diamonds, they are generally graded by range rather then specific gradings like diamonds. (Find out more about how diamonds are graded for color, clarity, cut, and carat here).
However, at Identity Diamonds we proudly offer fully graded moissanites (upon request), complete with authenticity certificate and grading report. Simply ask us!
Here are the main characteristics that determine a moissanite's grading:
- Color: Most moissanites today fall into one of two color categories: colorless, or near colorless. The first category, colorless, represents gems that are graded D-E-F on the color grade scale, and those gems are considered completely "white". The second category, near colorless, comprises moissanites that fall in the G-H-I color range, and those gems will display a very slight warm yellow hue.
- Clarity: As far as clarity goes, most moissanites grown in a lab environment are completely "eye clean", and have no noticeable inclusion to the naked eye, with the vast majority of them falling in the VS-VVS clarity range. However, in recent times, the NEO moissanite company started offering a moissanites graded SI in clarity, which means that the gem will have slight imperfection that are mainly only visible under magnification. The SI graded gems are perfect for the budget conscious shopper, and choosing the lower clarity grade will not compromise the overall beauty of your stone!
- Size: Since different gemstones have different density, the size of a gemstone (including moissanite) is usually expressed in millimeter (mm), rather than carat weight. For the sake of helping you better understand the size of a gem, we offer an equivalence reference, called "Diamond Equivalent Weight", or DEW. The DEW tells you what carat weight a diamond would be equivalent to according to the millimeter measurement. For example, a 6.5mm gem is the equivalent size of a 1.00 carat diamond. DEW is approximate and for reference purpose only; it will represent the size of your gem, but may not represent the actual carat weight of your gem.
How much is a moissanite?
There is no denying it: moissanite is significantly more affordable than diamond, and this becomes exponentially true with larger stones. While you may expect to spend about $900 and up for a 0.50 carat lab grown diamond, you can easily slash that price in half for a similar size colorless moissanite. When shopping for a 4 carat lab grown diamond, the price tag will be anywhere between $30,000-50,000. An equivalent size moissanite will be 10 to 20 times more affordable! Now, that's the type of savings we can get behind!
Does it come with a warranty?
At Identity Diamonds, all our moissanite gems come with a lifetime warranty, for your complete peace of mind, with the exception of our SI graded moissanites.
The lifetime warranty covers optical properties of the stone including brilliance and fire, and the physical integrity of the stone including chipping, breaking, scratching, and abrasions. Note that it does not cover damage or defects as a result of abuse, misuse, loss, or theft of your gem.
How are they "eco-friendly"?
Because moissanite is man made gemstone, it is grown in a laboratory rather than mined out of the ground, making moissanite a green & eco-friendly gem. Furthermore, moissanite is not associated with terrible mining conditions and unsafe working environments. It is an ethically grown gemstone, responsibly created in a controlled scientific environment.
No giant holes in the planet, no human rights abuse, no funding of conflicts in war torn countries! Moissanite is an ethical gem, promoting sustainability and social responsibility, and giving you complete peace of mind.
Your taste for moissanite is as personal as your taste for gold color or diamond shape: it's a matter of personal opinion. Seeing it in person is the best and most certain way to find out wether moissanite is right for you!
Its physical properties are very well suited for everyday wear, and its lower price makes it a great option for someone seeking a large look (think 4 carat solitaire!) without the price tag of a large diamond.
It is also a great gem for couples looking for an alternative to diamond altogether.
Moissanite is a stunning, frugal, ethical, and durable gemstone, and makes for a perfect engagement ring center stone option!
Contact us today to schedule a viewing, and find out if moissanite is the right gem for YOUR ethical engagement ring!