Moissanite and diamonds are very similar at first glance. In fact, if you are not well-versed in the particulars of each stone, you would be hard-pressed to pick up any difference at all. The two types of stones are uncannily similar in appearance, hardness, toughness, weight and colour – but not price. Admittedly, if you are an old hand in the jewellery business, you will be able to see the difference, but if you are looking for a similar aesthetic without going into too much technical detail, moissanite could be just the stone for you.
What is moissanite and where does it come from?
Traditionalists love diamonds, both for the association with commitment, and the symbolism of strength and purity. If you are a more alternative thinker, you will believe that associations are symbolic, and the item to which the value is attached, is often arbitrary. In plain English – a stone is a stone, and if it addresses your intrinsic needs for aesthetics, or how it looks, and falls within your budget, there is no reason to go for a traditional diamond.
Moissanite is produced from silicon carbide, a compound which, although rare, is naturally found around the world. Due to the fact that it is rarely found, commercial moissanite is easily grown in labs, making it more cost effective and more widely available than what would have been the case with a naturally mined compound. It was first discovered by a certain Henri Moissan in the 1800s near the impact site of a meteorite. This has given rise to an urban legend that moissanite is an extra-terrestrial material, but, as can be deduced from the information above, is not the case.
How to have your moissanite cut
Moissanite diamonds are graded according to colour on a scale ranging from colourless, which is the most desirable, to coloured, which is less desirable, but significantly lower in price. The cut of a stone plays a huge role in the overall appearance of any gemstone. This is why using a good jeweller is important, to ensure that the stone is cut to the best possible dimensions. Although it can be cut in any of the popular shapes that apply to diamonds, but the round brilliant cut is the optimal cut for maximising the brilliance and fire of the stone.
Why is moissanite a competitive choice?
Moissanite gives off double the amount of light that diamonds do, thanks to its double refractive properties, whereas diamonds are only capable of single refraction. What this means in layman’s terms, is that, in spite of the generally held understanding that diamonds are the king of bling, moissanites are even more sparkly.
This is probably the most telling aspect of a moissanite when trying to tell the difference between that and a diamond. Additionally, moissanite is available is a range of tints, across the spectrum of brown, yellow and green. Although not clearly visible to the naked eye, this does influence the price of the stone.