Sparkly, gorgeous, and durable; it’s no wonder that couples around the world have defaulted to the glittering diamond as the engagement ring stone of choice. But on the other side of the ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ campaign that propelled diamonds to popularity over seven decades ago, are brides and grooms who don’t want to shell out those big bucks or who find diamond rings a bit too banal for their tastes.
Shifting trends over the years have unearthed the perfect answer for all those yearnings for something less traditional and unexpected, yet still breathtaking - a moissanite engagement ring. Moissanite is a stone that resembles the traditional sparkler but doesn’t cost as much. These stones are often mistaken for diamonds, thanks to their striking physical similarities. Here’s everything you need to know about stunning moissanite engagement rings.
What Is Moissanite?
What if we told you that the sparkly gemstone that resembles a piece of a glittering star on Earth, actually came from the vast mystic depths of space? It was the year 1893, when French scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Henri Moissan discovered unusual microscopic particles in rock samples from a meteorite crater in Arizona.
Initially, Moissan, after whom moissanite was named, mistook sparkling crystals for diamonds. However, in 1904, after careful re-examination, he determined that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide and not carbon.
Natural moissanite is super rare, so after years of trial and error, the particles that Moissan first discovered were brilliantly synthesized in a lab, to create the moissanite we know today. With a striking visual similarity to diamond, moissanite has quickly grown into a favorite of blushing brides and golden grooms all over the world.
While hard to tell apart for the untrained eye, the two gemstones are quite distinct in terms of brilliance, color, and durability. Moreover, there is a steep difference in their prices - an engagement ring moissanite costs nearly half of that of a diamond that has the same cut and carat. A jaw-dropping engagement ring at a price that won’t burn a hole in your wallet? Sounds too good to be true, but it is!
How Is Moissanite Made?
Natural moissanite is so rare that the first piece of jewelry that was embellished with moissanite did not hit the markets till the late ‘90s - almost a century after it was discovered. However, the good news is that scientists have perfected the art of making synthetic moissanite.
The process of creating moissanite in a lab is similar to how it is formed in nature and involves intense heat and pressure. Silicon carbide powder is subjected to heat until it forms a gas. Following this, the right chemical and temperature conditions are created so that the silicon carbide gas can crystallize into moissanite over a few months, to create a breathtaking stone that is stunningly similar to a diamond.
Moissanite Vs Diamond: A Comparison
A moissanite stone seems almost too good to be true, so much so that people often wonder, “Do moissanite rings look fake?”. The only way to squash these doubts is to compare it with a gemstone that holds the reigning position in the world of engagement rings - diamonds.
Diamonds are known for their durability they are the hardest substances known to man. The durability and hardiness of diamonds inspired the campaign ‘Diamonds Are Forever since they are ideal for everyday wear and can be passed on from one generation to another, come what may.
While a diamond is more resistant to abrasions thanks to its molecular carbon structure, moissanite comes a close second. It is the second closest to diamond on the Mohs scale that measures hardness. While diamonds rank 10 on a scale of 1-10, colored moissanite ranks between 9.25-9.5. This makes the gemstone suitable for everyday wear since it doesn’t scratch easily.
When seen from a distance, or in poor light it is hard to tell diamonds and moissanite apart, as they are quite close to one another in terms of color. Both these gemstones are available in colored and colorless options.
Traditionally, naturally-occurring moissanite and the earliest versions of lab-grown moissanite had a slight greenish or yellowish tint, which helped differentiate it from diamonds. However, since then, manufacturers have perfected the creation process, to take away everyone’s breath with colorless moissanite.
However, a lot of couples who want to eschew tradition do opt for colored moissanite rings in brilliant, vivid hues of cyan blue, yellow, green, and more. Paired with the brilliance of moissanite, the color moissanite is a feast for the eyes!
As for colorless moissanite and diamonds, the former is not completely colorless if observed closely. Diamonds are graded on GIA Color Scale from D to Z and colorless moissanite stones resemble a K-grade diamond.
Diamonds have no tints or hues, which gives them a flawless, bright white appearance that dazzles everyone. Under certain lighting conditions, moissanite can have a yellowish or grayish hue, which becomes more apparent with an increase in the size of the gemstone.
3. Brilliance And Fire
When you look at a diamond or moissanite, mesmerized by its beauty, you’ll notice two kinds of sparkles or flashes - white flashes known as brilliance and colored flashes known as fire.
Moissanite gemstones have more fire as compared to a diamond because of their faceting pattern. This creates a fiery, rainbow-like fire, as opposed to diamonds which reflect light in three ways - brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation - which gives them their renowned sparkle.
The brilliant flashes of color that moissanite gives when hit by direct light, somewhat resemble a tiny disco ball - a visual that some people love, but some people don’t prefer. The major difference between the two engagement ring stones essentially boils down to their brilliance.
Since moissanite has a higher refractive index as compared to a diamond, it has a more enhanced, rainbow-like sparkle, whereas a diamond has a more subdued sparkle that reflects white light.
A moissanite gemstone of the same size and cut as a diamond, costs dramatically less than the diamond. Since moissanite stones are lab-grown and not mine, they cost much less than their counterparts.
A moissanite ring price is nearly 20 to 40 percent lower than a naturally-occurring diamond, which is why it is soaring in popularity. In addition, a moissanite gemstone weighs about 15% lower than a diamond of roughly the same size, which also creates a huge gap in the prices.
Lab-grown diamonds cost less than natural diamonds, but are still considerably higher in price than moissanite stones, because of the high demand and the extreme conditions in which they have to be made. Just like a diamond ring, a moissanite ring's price is determined by its color, cut, carat, and clarity.
Naturally-occurring moissanite stones are super rare, which is why most moissanite stones are created in labs. Since these gemstones do not require mining, it presents the perfect option for eco-conscious couples concerned about the ethics of diamond mining.
While some diamonds are lab-grown, most of them are mined. Although there are strict regulations in place to ensure that diamonds are sourced ethically and in an environmentally conscious manner, the true story may not always be visible. Hence, an engagement ring moissanite is an ethical choice.
Things To Keep In Mind While Buying A Moissanite Engagement Ring
1. The 4 Cs
While diamonds are graded based on the four Cs, that is, color, cut, clarity, and carat, moissanite gemstones are graded based on color. This is because the cut and clarity grade remain most or less similar across different qualities of moissanite stones.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of moissanite stones - premium and super premium. The former is similar to a diamond of grade G or H and is nearly colorless, whereas the latter is similar to a diamond of grade D-F, and is colorless.
Coming to the cut that you should opt for, moissanite stones come in an array of cuts including the classic square cut, oval, cushion, pear, and marquise, among others. The most popular cut is the round cut since it accentuates the stone’s brilliance, hides hues of color well, and looks great in both vintage and modern settings. The princess cut and oval cut are also popular choices and are reasonable in terms of moissanite ring price.
2. Choosing A Setting
Something that a lot of people may not be aware of, is that engagement ring settings and center stones are often sold separately. Buying the moissanite stone and its setting separately can help you customize your ring and plan your ring budget better.
For the setting, you can choose a precious metal like silver, gold, or platinum; any metal that will highlight the shape and cut of the moissanite stone. Apart from this, you can choose from some settings like a solitaire, where the center stone is the star of the show, a pave setting where the center moissanite stone is complemented by smaller stones like diamonds encrusted around the ring, or a bezel, which is the perfect vintage setting.
Some trending engagement ring moissanite settings are halo, which features smaller stones that circle the center gemstone to make it extra glamorous and sparkly, tension, which creates an illusion that the ring is floating between its precious metal band, and channel, which features little gemstones like diamonds set in a row sandwiched between the engagement ring band’s metal edges.
Moissanite stones vary in price depending on the quality of cut and color. Moissanite with a yellowish-green hue will cost less than one that is colorless. The moissanite ring price, while much lower than what a diamond of the same cut and size would cost, depends on the fire and brilliance.
While shopping for a moissanite stone, ensure that the stone has no visible imperfections and is eye clean. A good way to determine the quality of the moissanite is to observe it - a stone with good polish and minimal surface scratches will be of higher quality.
Apart from going to a trusted, reputable retailer, it is important to remember that an engagement ring moissanite is still a significant investment. Therefore, it is a good idea to get jewelry insurance in case of theft as well as a warranty to protect you from manufacturing defects. After all, moissanite is forever, just like the love you share with your partner!
Since moissanite is lab-grown, it presents an excellent opportunity for customization. So, if you don’t find your dream engagement ring, you can always custom-make one to perfectly embody your magical bond with your partner.
You can buy the moissanite stone from a trusted retailer, and then choose a set of your choice, depending on the story you want to tell - the place you had your first date, where you proposed, or a cute little etching or engraving of your vows to one another.
Whether you have your heart set on a vintage setting or a contemporary one, a custom ring can offer you everything you envision, including color moissanite set in a jaw-dropping pave setting with diamonds.
Maintaining A Moissanite Engagement Ring
Since moissanite has a durability of 9.25 to 9.5 on the Mohs scale, it is ideal for everyday wear and is highly scratch resistant. However, it is best to avoid wearing your ring while cooking or cleaning, or doing a DIY, since the household solutions you use may cause a build-up of film on your ring, affecting its brilliance.
On the other hand, the chemicals used in cleaning solutions may slightly discolor the precious metals in your ring setting. If and when you do remove your engagement ring moissanite, ensure that you keep it in a safe place that you remember, preferably in a case lined with fabric, to minimize the risk of accidental damage.
While a moissanite stone is almost as durable as the hardest element known to man, that is, diamond, it still requires love and attention every once in a while. To keep your engagement ring sparkly and clean, you can clean it once a month at home.
To do so, add a few drops of mild dish soap to a bowl of lukewarm water. Dip your ring in soapy water and gently clean it with a soft-bristled brush or microfibre cloth. You can then either air dry it or dab it dry with a soft, dry cloth.
In addition to this, it is a good idea to have your colorless or colored moissanite rings professionally cleaned annually. This will help maintain the ring’s original sparkle and brilliance while removing any organic buildup.
Whether you want a clear moissanite stone that offers all the splendor and sparkle of a diamond, or colored moissanite rings, it is sure to be the kind of piece that you look at with wonder every day.
When you pick out the perfect ring that will soon become a piece of your heart, ensure that you select one from a certified, reliable, and authentic retailer. Diamondrensu is a class apart when it comes to engagement ring moissanite.
The brand has a wide range of moissanite shapes and settings to choose from, and also offers an option to customize your dream ring. Read their glowing reviews online and select stunning, ethical, and finely-made jewelry at an amazing price point.