Move aside, diamonds: there’s a brilliant new gemstone growing in popularity! Moissanite engagement rings may not be the traditional choice, but one survey suggests that they account for over a quarter of all non-diamond rings. Because they can mimic the look of a natural diamond with even more fire, it’s no wonder more and more couples are choosing sparkling unique moissanite engagement rings.
However, it’s important to be aware that moissanite isn’t an exact diamond replica. These gemstones have their own unique benefits, drawbacks, and special properties. If you’re considering moissanite for your ring, here are a few things to think about.
What Is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a near-colorless gemstone that looks a lot like a diamond.
In fact, the person who first discovered this unique gem in 1893 thought he had found diamonds! Henri Moissan, a French chemist, was exploring a meteorite crater in Arizona at the time of the discovery. When he stumbled upon the rare mineral, it didn’t take long to realize he was dealing with a new gemstone.
As you can likely guess, moissanite takes its name from the scientist who discovered it. Researchers later discovered that the makeup of this gemstone was unique, a composition called silicon carbide, or moissanite.
Though Moissan tried to recreate his finding during his lifetime, he was unable. This is because moissanite is incredibly rare in nature. Since it comes from the stars, you’d have to search a meteorite crater for a chance at finding a natural moissanite gemstone!
Fortunately, this scarcity didn’t last forever. Around a century after the initial discovery, researchers in North Carolina found a way to create pure silicon carbide in a lab.
These synthetic moissanite gemstones take two to three months to create. Once they are finished, experts then cut and facet them with care to create the brilliance gemstones we know and love today.
Moissanite Ring Benefits
Moissanite may be a more recent gemstone discovery, but it has plenty of benefits to offer:
Ethical considerations are becoming more and more important to buyers when choosing a gemstone. Certain gemstone sources have a reputation for encouraging unfair labor practices, unsustainable mining, human trafficking, warfare, and worse.
Because moissanite is lab-made, you can trust that you won’t have to worry about the issues above. These gemstones are a great way to get the aesthetic you want without supporting unethical practices.
If you want a gem with impressive sparkle, moissanite is a great choice. It offers a beautiful rainbow sparkle that few other gemstones can achieve. This makes it eye-catching on any ring you choose.
Moissanite is almost as hard as diamonds. In fact, it has a whopping 9.25 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. In other words, it’s difficult to break or scratch this gem, making it ideal for everyday wear.
For anyone buying engagement rings on a budget, moissanite is the perfect choice. These rings cost around 15-30% of the price tag of a diamond of similar size.
The price tag goes up depending on the process a lab uses to refine the gem. The cut, size, shape, color, and quality of a gem’s production also factor into the final cost.
If you buy a moissanite gemstone, you’re getting a high level of clarity, guaranteed.
Jewelers don’t sell these gems unless they have the equivalent of a VS clarity. This means your moissanite will be free of visible imperfections, which isn’t always the case when you’re buying diamonds and other gemstones.
Moissanite Ring Drawbacks
Moissanite may offer some great benefits, but it isn’t the best engagement ring option for everyone. Here are a few drawbacks to keep in mind as you make your decision:
Moissanite is a non-traditional choice for an engagement ring. Many people still take the saying “diamonds are forever” to heart, and they may believe that deviating from the norm is a bold choice. They may even call your ring a “fake diamond,” despite its brilliant appearance.
However, the choice of an engagement ring stone is always personal. You may need to be ready to combat these assumptions, but that doesn’t mean you should rethink your ring if you feel confident in your purchase.
Lower Color Clarity
Like diamonds, moissanite can take on different hues. Depending on the creation process and brand, you might notice a green, yellow, blue, or gray tint to the stone. These tints are more common in moissanite than in diamonds, even after the clarification process.
If you want a moissanite gemstone that looks white, you’ll need to do some careful searching. Work with a reputable jeweler to look for a high-quality stone.
Difficulty Finding Jewelers
Not all jewelers work on synthetic stones. If you need help with your moissanite stone in the future, you may have a hard time finding a jeweler willing to take a look at it. Always call ahead before you visit a store!
Moissanite is a newcomer to the world of gemstones, which means claims about it are untested. This is especially true when compared to diamonds, which have been around for hundreds of years. Experts believe moissanite gemstones won’t change in color or clarity over time, but there’s not yet enough evidence to confirm this.
Moissanite vs. Diamond Rings
Given that they’re durable, near-colorless gemstones, moissanite and diamonds have a lot in common. However, there are also a few key differences to keep in mind if you’re deciding between the two for a ring.
Though these gemstones look similar at a glance, be wary of trying to pass your moissanite engagement ring off as a diamond.
Moissanite has a higher brilliance than a diamond. In fact, its dispersion level is 0.104, higher than any other gemstone.
This means it refracts a great deal of light for a unique rainbow-like effect. These flashes of light can make it easy for even the untrained eye to spot the difference between these two stones.
Both diamonds and moissanite are hard and can tolerate high pressure before breaking, but it’s difficult to say which material is tougher for everyday wear.
Diamond has a cleavage plane, which is a weak plane where the gemstone is prone to splitting. Moissanite does not have this plane, which may make it more difficult to chip and shatter.
Budget and Sizing
As mentioned above, moissanite gemstones cost far less than diamonds. Buyers can get a much bigger gemstone, and thus more bang for their buck, by purchasing a moissanite engagement ring over a diamond one. For couples hoping for a larger gemstone, moissanite will be more affordable for a larger carat weight equivalent.
How to Buy Moissanite Engagement Rings
The good news is that buying a moissanite engagement ring is a lot like buying a diamond. Research the following areas to help with the decision:
4Cs of Diamonds
First, you’ll want to educate yourself on the 4Cs of diamonds, which include color, clarity, cut, and carat size.
While diamonds have a wide range of color options, moissanite only comes in either a “colorless” or “near-colorless” variety. This allows you to choose a stone with a slight colored tint or a more traditional white hue.
As stated above, the clarity of a moissanite gemstone will always be high, meaning there won’t be any imperfections you can spot. Only an experienced jeweler can tell the difference between the “good” and “very good” clarity options.
The cut of your moissanite is a personal choice, but classic choices like round, princess, and cushion cuts are always popular options. Trendy vintage cuts like the Asscher cut are also a great choice.
Last is the carat size, although the sizing for moissanite revolves around the stone’s length, not its carat weight. Use a size chart to estimate the corresponding millimeter size to each carat weight. Common sizes for moissanite gemstones range from 6mm-8mm in 0.5mm increments.
Setting and Style
Once you’ve chosen your gemstone, the setting of your moissanite ring also plays a huge role in the final look. The most popular settings continue to be prong settings, especially for moissanite solitaire rings. However, halo, pavé, and cathedral settings are common variations on the look.
Caring for a Moissanite Engagement Ring
Moissanite rings are very easy to care for. You can wear your engagement ring as often as you like in your everyday life, including in the shower or during light exercise. However, experts recommend removing it when swimming or washing your hands. As with diamonds, any repeated exposure to soap, chlorine, or saltwater can discolor the gemstone or break down your ring’s setting.
To clean your moissanite, use a non-toxic home jewelry cleaning solution. You can also use a non-abrasive liquid dish soap and some hot water, brushing the ring with a soft-bristled toothbrush and leaving it to air-dry.
Choose Your Moissanite Ring Today
Though it’s a non-traditional option, moissanite is a great choice for an engagement ring. This unique gemstone packs a lot of fire and brilliance into a single affordable and beautiful gem. If you’re searching for the perfect option for a proposal, moissanite engagement rings are well worth researching!
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