When it comes to finding the perfect alternative to diamonds, look no further than moissanite, a perfectly independent stone in its own right, that comes with everything you have grown to know and love about diamonds, but at a lower price!
A brief history
Towards the latter part of the 20th century, silicon carbide formations were discovered right near the edge of a meteorite crater in Arizona. The stone is named after Dr Henri Moissan, the scientist who made the discovery.
Although this compound occurs naturally, it is very rare in its natural formation, which is why scientists create large formations of silicon carbide in laboratories, for exclusive use to be processed into moissanite. Moissanite in its final state bears a striking resemblance to diamonds, not only in appearance, but in its light refractive and thermal properties. Because it is not a diamond, there are differences, but these are negligible compared to the similarities.
Take for instance the two stones’ respective ratings on the Mohs scale of hardness. Moissanite scores 9.5, whereas a diamond scores 10. This almost indistinguishable difference makes them comparable in their hardwearing nature, and in their resistance to damage from being worked with by jewellers (without incurring heat damage or scratching).
Moissanite is also interesting in the way it refracts light. This may come as a surprise, but its double-refractive properties give it double the light refracting properties of a diamond, which technically results in it being twice as shiny! The structure of a moissanite stone splits the light entering it, in half, creating a rainbow-coloured glow that is unique to the moissanite. This rainbow glow is the most significant difference that sets a moissanite apart from a diamond, which shines white.
It is NOT a fake diamond
If you end this article knowing one thing, let it be this: moissanites are not, and will never be, a fake diamond, in the same way that an apricot can never be considered a fake peach. They are two similar, but completely separate things, and one should not be mistaken for a replica of the other.
Moissanite is a lab-grown jewel with its own set of properties and aspects, many of which correspond with diamonds, but which were not developed to mimic diamonds. When it comes to picking a jewel for something like an engagement ring , most people turn to diamonds, diamond replicas, or more recently, moissanite. In any case, the stone will have to be selected according to colour, cut and clarity, which affect their overall appearance.
Moissanite is the ethical choice
Diamonds have increasingly been known by their more derogatory term, blood diamonds, based on the fact that their production over history has been shown to involve unrest environmental destruction and corporate corruption. In comparison, moissanite is produces in a lab, and poses no threat to the environment and human rights. A moissanite is a purchase of clear conscience, and if any ethical concerns have been holding you back from choosing a diamond, you can rest assured that you get a similar effect from a moissanite, but without the baggage.