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Moissanite is a terrific gemstone choice for an engagement ring and any fine jewellery

They look, pretty much, exactly like high-end diamonds, and have become the go-to choice for a growing number of couples across the globe.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a synthetic gemstone, with light reflection and refraction indexes higher than diamonds. They simply look better.

And they have a fascinating back-story. 

In 1893 a French scientist, Henry Moissan, was scuffling around in a meteor crater in Arizona when he discovered a small deposit of beautiful gemstones. True story. 

He initially mistook it for diamonds due to its hardness and crystal-like appearance. It took him years of research and study to notice the difference in composition. This intriguing gemstone was not pure carbon (diamond) as he initially thought, but rather silicone carbide. 

Silicon Carbide-IMG_9172_0

*Moissanite in its natural form. 

Mr Moissan’s research on silicon carbide earned him the venerable Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and also had the gemstone officially named after him. 

In its “natural” form Moissanite is extremely rare. So rare that almost 50 years passed after its initial discovery and correct classification before another deposit was found.

Realising the potential of bringing this striking gemstone to the fine jewellery world a few scientists and geologists got to work in the 1980s to perfectly create Moissanite in a laboratory. 

And so, 103 years after its discovery Moissanite was introduced to the jewellery market in 1995, and has since grown to be the gemstone of choice for many engagement ring and fine jewellery shoppers. 

Appearance

As you can read into Mr Moissan’s story, diamonds and moissanite look alike – even to a gemologist. 

It goes a bit further; even diamonds testers mistake moissanite for diamond. 

Both loose and in jewellery, moissanites look downright impressive. No one will be able to tell they aren’t ultra-high-end diamonds. 

The worst reaction I’ve seen to moissanite’s appearance was neutrality. Although many couples still opt for a diamond as the traditional choice, I often hear that they’ll be back for moissanite jewellery as the anniversaries start approaching. 

Fire & Brilliance

Although marginal, the fire, brilliance and lustre (sparkle) of moissanite is actually higher than that of a diamond; 

  • Moissanite has a high reflective index of 2,65 – 2,69 compared to a diamond at 2,42. 
  • Moissanite’s light dispersion is 0.104, more than double that of a diamond.

These numbers simply prove that moissanite’s characteristic sparkle is superior, although marginal, to all other gemstones. 

moissanite-diamond-comparison

Photos just can’t capture the life and presence of moissanite and no gemstone calls for seeing it in person more than moissanite. 

Do yourself a favour and visit one of our studios to view our large range of moissanites with your own eyes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Get in touch here.

Clarity: Inclusions & Impurities

Since moissanite is created under strict laboratory conditions, most high-end moissanite will be free from visible inclusions and imperfections. 

Flawless purity diamonds, on the other hand, are exorbitantly rare and expensive. 

Close to 90% of women surveyed prefer a gemstone free from any visible impurities, and that makes moissanite a safe bet. 

Please note that low-quality moissanites are common, and they often appear hazy and milky. If you have a milky moissanite the whole appearance of the gemstone is compromised. You don’t want that.  

High-quality moissanites are significantly lower in price than diamonds – don’t head out to find the cheapest moissanite you can find. You can, and will be disappointed. 

Buy premium quality moissanites, from an established and reputable source. 

Colour 

The colour range of high-quality moissanite is very similar to that of diamonds. 

You’ll find ice-white colours (Top White / D-E-F) and warmer shades like J-K-L. 

Some grading laboratories use a different grading scale for moissanite, and group colours together into broader categories.

When it gets to special diamond colours like canary yellow or lime green, I don’t think moissanites are quite there yet. Great progress is being made though.  

Weight and size (Carat)

Moissanites are 8% lighter than diamonds. 

  • A 6,5mm round diamond weighs 1,00 carat.
  • A 6,5mm round moissanite weighs 0,92 carat. 

*They’re exactly the same size visually. 

To make comparisons with diamond size easier, the weight of moissanite is expressed as Equivalent Diamond Weight (EDW). Think of it as “If this size moissanite was a diamond, what would it weigh?”

You will also find the use of millimetre sizes very common, although they are slightly less useful than equivalent diamond weight. 

Durability (Will my moissanite scratch?)

The hardness of a mineral is graded on a scale from 0 – 10 based on how one mineral scratches the other. (Mohs Scale of Hardness)

There’s only one substance with a hardness of 10 and that’s a good old diamond. As corny as it sounds; diamonds are forever. They don’t wear away. 

Guess what’s the second hardest substance? Moissanite. Coming in with a harness of 9.25 – 9.5 on the Mohs scale. 

Let’s put this seemingly arbitrary number into perspective. The world’s most exclusive watch brands (Rolex, Breitling, Patek, Omega…) all use sapphire glass to display and shield the watch dial.

It’s close to impossible to scratch the sapphire glass on these watches and that’s why they can be passed from one generation to the next in tip-top shape.  

Sapphire scores a 9 on the Mohs scale. Lower than moissanite. 

Moissanite is more scratch-resistant than the sapphire “glass” of a $100 000 Patek Philippe watch. That says a lot. 

Patek-Philippe-Advanced-Research-3

Worries about durability should be the last thing on your mind. 

I can’t guarantee you that your moissanite won’t ever pick up a scratch in the next century. What I can do though, is promise you I have never seen a moissanite scratched by everyday wear and tear exposure. 

Price

Creating moissanite in a laboratory isn’t cheap, but traditional large scale mining operations are significantly more capital intensive. 

There’s not really a rule of thumb to compare moissanite prices to diamonds, but here’s a real-life example of a special we’re currently running; 

1,00ct Round Brilliant Certified Moissanite, Top White Colour, VVS-clarity @ only R5240*.

A decent 1,00ct diamond can easily cost you 15+ times more.  

*This by no means hints at a diamond not being able to justify its price. Diamonds have a lot going for them, and you can’t deny the value placed on them by the market, including investors. 

The Conscious Choice?

We live in a time where many world citizens are taking climate issues into their own hands by voting for sustainability with their purchases of eco-friendly products. The creation of moissanite in a laboratory uses at least 90% less energy when compared to traditional diamond mining operations. 

The process used to synthesize moissanite doesn’t create hazardous byproducts and leaves no mark on eco-systems like traditional mining. 

Moissanite is truly straight from the laboratory or factory to your ring, and you can rest assured, guaranteed, that absolutely no one was exploited in any way to create this beautiful gemstone. 

It’s Not A Fake Diamond

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Although my comparisons have been to diamond, moissanite is by no means solely a “diamond alternative”.

It’s not trying to be a diamond, possesses awesome unique characteristics and has a fascinating story of its own.

It would be the same to refer to a Toyota as a fake BMW or vice versa. If you have bought a BMW, a Nissan, or a Toyota, it was your preferred choice, whatever your considerations were. It simply depends on what you prefer and how it fits in the bigger picture of where you are in life.

Regardless of its price – moissanite may very well be your gemstone of choice. And as mentioned it’s well worth it to visit us and see for yourself.

If you’d like to discuss moissanite options and engagement ring designs, simply send me an email at info@poggenpoel.com I’m here to help.

***Moissanite Sale: 1,00ct, Top White, Certified @ only R5240. ***

Johan Poggenpoel

Co-Founder (e:johan@poggenpoel.com)