Diamonds are, apparently, a girl’s best friend. So what does that make moissanite? This mineral, often used in place of diamonds in engagement rings and wedding bands, has been a popular, cost-effective alternative for at least 20 years. Some, however, still believe it’s akin to proposing with a Ring Pop. But if your intended doesn’t feel that way, a cheap but beautiful moissanite ring is a good option for saving money while getting her a beautiful ring. Here’s everything you need to know about moissanite to decide for yourself.
Today a smart shopper has many options to consider when looking for a perfect engagement ring. The Lab-Created Revolution has forever changed the stranglehold the mined diamond industry has long held on consumer choice. Now, couples can choose between traditional mined diamonds, and several good alternatives; Grown Diamonds, which are real diamonds, exactly the same as what comes out of the earth, Diamond Replicas, which are engineered crystals that near exactly duplicate the look and durability of diamonds, and finally, Moissanite, which is a beautiful stone and a good alternative, but has a different look than a diamond.
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. 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.
It's composed of the compound silicon carbide (SiC), which is also used in LED light bulbs. Cree, Inc. is a leader in the manufacture of LED light bulbs, as well as other products.
Silicon carbide can be grown into large crystals that can then be cut into gemstones. A company called Charles & Colvard has the exclusive patent and right to use silicon carbide as a gemstone material. All moissanite jewelry legally sold in the U.S., regardless of who's doing the selling, comes from Charles & Colvard. There are foreign companies that are illegally importing "knock-offs" of moissanite and these are wrongfully being sold through various websites.
Moissanite scores a 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness, while diamonds score a 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.
Moissanite is at its best when considered as a separate and different jewelry option from diamonds. Moissanite has several very attractive attributes as a jewel; it’s very hard and durable, and it will last a lifetime. It will stand up to a lot of heat, so a careless jeweler will not be able to damage it with a jewelers torch (as they easily can with rubies, emeralds and cheap diamond replacements like CZ’s).
The truly beautiful thing about moissanite gems through, is the stone’s radiance and brilliance. Moissanite has over double the radiance of diamonds, so they appear much more “sparkly” They reflect many more colors of the rainbow than diamond or any other jewel. They blaze with multiple colors and a lot of flash.
However, this much greater radiance does make them look different from a diamond.
A cheap moissanite engagement ring is typically priced at between $300 and $400 a carat. (if you see it for less than this it may very possibly be a fake).
Also, as they are a manufactured gemstone, they do not have any of the environmental or ethical problems of mined diamonds.