When it comes to buying a wedding band or engagement ring, there are more options to consider than just a diamond setting.
Selecting the perfect gem is also an important factor. One gemstone that closely mimics the appearance of a diamond is moissanite.
Moissanite is an ideal jewel for wearing in daily activities due to its durability and low maintenance. The gemstone is steadily gaining appeal as a diamond alternative due to its similar characteristics. Due to moissanite’s benefits, it should be highly considered as a jewel for long-term wear.
This gemstone has a fascinating backstory and many reasons why one should consider buying a ring with this beautiful type of gem.
Moissanite is a cost-effective alternative to many other gemstones, is easy to care for, and has many similar characteristics to its sister element: the diamond.
History of Moissanite
In 1893, French chemist, Henri Moissan, was surveying the crater of a meteorite that had landed in Canyon Diablo of Arizona.
At first, the chemist believed that the crater was filled with diamonds since the moissanite crystals closely resembled diamonds.
After testing the diamond-like structures, Moissan learned that he had discovered silicon carbide crystals that were later classified as moissanite minerals.
Since the element was so rare in its naturally occurring state, moissanite crystals have been replicated in labs since the 1980’s so that the gem could be widely used in accessories.
In 1998, the lab-created replicas were first released in jewelry lines by Charles & Colvard.
Since that time, the mineral has been gaining popularity as an alternative to diamonds.
Caring for Moissanite Rings
Since moissanite is the second hardest gem known to man (behind diamonds) the gemstone is very durable and can resist scratching and color changing.
However, there is always some risk presented when wearing a moissanite ring in everyday wear.
There are occasions in which one should consider removing their moissanite ring to prevent scratches, discoloring, or having the gem falling out of its setting.
When doing household chores, harsh chemicals might not pose a threat to the jewel initially, but over time an accumulation of products can cause some discoloration.
Either the ring should be cleaned immediately after using harsh chemicals or it should be taken off altogether beforehand.
It’s up to user discretion to wear moissanite rings while exercising or swimming.
It is more likely that these activities will cause damage to the metal rather than the gemstone itself.
When swimming, water will not do any harm to the ring.
However, one should keep in mind that fingers tend to shrink when placed in cooler temperatures, so you may run the risk of having rings fall off while swimming.
When not wearing the moissanite ring, it is best to place the accessory in a safe place such as a jewelry box.
Be sure that the ring is not touching other jewelry so it can avoid scratches over time.
According to Moissanite Co., rings with moissanite settings should be cleaned once a month to maintain their brilliance.
Cleaning moissanite rings is simple. There are a few options that you can utilize, such as a mild soap and water solution, a moissanite-specific cleaner, or an ammonium and water solution.
When using a mild soap and water solution, be sure that the soap doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, as this can erode the metal of the ring.
You may also utilize a soft-bristled toothbrush when trying to clean the hard-to-reach areas.
Once the ring is clean, be sure to wipe it dry with a soft cloth to ensure that all residue is removed from the moissanite and metal.
Many commercial cleaning products are made specifically for moissanite that are available at jewelry stores or online.
Be sure to follow the directions carefully for the best results.
If using an ammonium solution, use 1 part ammonium to 3 parts water and then leave the moissanite ring in the solution for ten minutes.
When done, utilize a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean the hard-to-reach areas. Moissanite Co. also recommends using a hairdryer to dry off the ring.
There is also the option to take rings to the jewelry shop to be cleaned professionally.
Usually, jewelers will place the ring in an ultrasonic cleaner, a machine that uses ultrasonic waves to take off the debris and other bacteria.
This treatment helps to restore the jewelry to its original brilliance.
Pros and Cons of Moissanite
When it comes to moissanite, there are many benefits.
However, there are a few drawbacks that should be taken into consideration before buying a moissanite ring as well.
Moissanite is an ethical and sustainable choice for the environment because it is made in a lab, rather than being mined from the earth like diamonds.
The gemstone was originally found in its naturally occurring state, but since it is so rare, it is replicated in labs.
This makes it a great choice for those concerned about the carbon footprints of mining precious minerals.
This gemstone is also known for its brilliance, high refraction index, and unique sparkle.
In fact, moissanite is more resistant to dirt and grease than diamonds, making them appear brighter than their counterparts.
When light hits this gemstone, it is iconic for its rainbow-colored sparkle to shine in every direction.
Moissanite is the second hardest mineral on the earth with a 9.25 rating on the Mohs hardness scale.
This makes the gemstone extremely durable and almost immune to scratching and breaking. This is what makes moissanite a great option for everyday wear.
Clarity is always a big factor when buying any type of gemstone.
Fortunately, moissanite is always sold with a high scale of clarity, usually at a grade of VS or higher.
The clarity scale also ensures that the gemstone has no visible flaws, such as clouding, cavities, knotting, feathers, etc.
Any moissanite on the market has passed a rigorous testing phase to ensure that it is of the highest quality.
Each individual gemstone is scrutinized for its cut, clarity, color, and carat size.
Any moissanite that doesn’t pass the mark will not be used for fine jewelry.
With moissanite, there are no limitations to how the gemstone is cut. It can be cut in a variety of shapes just the same as a diamond.
This makes the rare gemstone not only a great setting for a ring, but for necklaces, earrings, etc. The options for moissanite are limitless.
One of the biggest advantages of moissanite is its price tag.
This mineral is significantly cheaper than other gemstones on the market, making moissanite more popular than ever.
Even with the different sized carats, cuts, and clarity of moissanite, buyers can look forward to paying a fraction of the price.
With the affordability of moissanite, creating one’s dream ring is more attainable than using any other gemstone on the market.
The coloring of moissanite isn’t as clear as a diamond.
There might be a more yellow or grayish tint in the gemstone that sets it apart from diamonds.
Although moissanite gives off a beautiful brilliance as light hits it, the color doesn’t exactly mimic the white sparkle of a diamond.
Since moissanite is only a fraction of the cost of a diamond, that also makes the gemstone not as valuable.
In fact, moissanite can steadily lose its value over time.
Buying a moissanite ring doesn’t have the best return investment as other gemstones.
If moissanite happens to fall out of its setting, not all jewelers are willing to repair the gemstone or the ring casing.
This isn’t the case for all jewelers, but it depends on the products they sell and whether or not they feel comfortable working with the lab-replicated jewel.
Tips for Buying Moissanite Rings
There are a few factors to keep in mind when shopping for a moissanite ring to ensure the best quality.
Fortunately, this rare gemstone must pass certain benchmarks before they are used in fine jewelry.
These benchmarks are known as the 4 C’s of moissanite, including:
- Carat size
In order to tell if a moissanite is of good quality, check to see how the gemstone throws light, also referred to as fire.
Moissanite with great clarity will refract light in every direction with its rainbow-like colors.
This light refraction has a lot to do with the cut and clarity of the gemstone.
If cut by an experienced jeweler, the gemstone should create the most fire.
Moissanite’s clarity and color can either be classified as premium or super-premium, referring to the color of the diamond.
Premium moissanite will be nearly colorless, although it might have a warmer tone in comparison to a super premium gemstone.
On the GIA diamond color scale, premium diamonds are usually in the G-H-I range with few in the J-K range.
The super-premium moissanite is considered colorless, lying within the D-E-F GIA diamond color grading scale.
A colorless gemstone will cost a bit more in comparison to premium moissanite because the quality is higher.
Instead of being sold by weight, moissanite’s carats are sold by size.
This is important to consider because the weight of this gemstone will not translate to the weight of a diamond.
When choosing a setting, the moissanite’s carat must fit properly.
When buying a moissanite ring, there is more to consider than just the gemstone itself.
The precious metal that the moissanite is set in is extremely important.
It is better to find rings that are made out of pure platinum or gold to ensure that the moissanite will not fall out.
It is best to avoid weaker metals, such as an alloy of Sterling silver and gold or plated platinum.
Purchasing rings with such alloys or plating can heighten the risk of the moissanite falling out of its setting.
Moissanite versus Diamonds
Telling the difference between moissanite and diamonds can be difficult with the untrained eye since they are quite similar.
But there are a few differentiating qualities that can help decipher between the two gemstones.
Diamonds and moissanite are two of the hardest minerals on the Mohs hardness scale, with diamonds being at the top of the list with a perfect score of 10 while moissanite closely follows with a score of 9.25.
This makes diamonds a bit harder than moissanite, but they are both very durable for everyday wear.
In comparison, diamonds are often a clear color, while moissanite (depending on the color and clarity of the gemstone) has more of a warm tint.
Diamonds appear more white in comparison to moissanite because the rare gemstone could have traces of yellow, brown, or gray tints.
Besides the color, variation between the two gemstones’ brilliance or fire is one of the most distinguishable factors between a diamond and moissanite.
A diamond reflects light in three different ways: brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.
The brilliance of a diamond is based on the white light that is reflected off of the gemstone.
The dispersion is referred to as the rainbow colors that are shone throughout the structure of the diamond.
The third type of light refraction, known as scintillation, is the sparkle on the surface of the diamond.
Moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamonds, making the fire or brilliance appear more rainbow-colored than the white sparkle that a diamond reflects.
The internal structure and pattern of moissanite is also the reason why the light bounces differently inside of the gemstone in comparison to a diamond.
Another difference between diamonds and moissanite is the way that they are sourced.
Diamonds are often mined in South Africa, Botswana, and Russia while moissanite crystals are replicated in a lab setting.
This makes moissanite a more ethical source in comparison to diamonds.
The way that each of these gemstones is sourced also plays a part in how expensive they are.
According to Lauren B. Jewelry, one carat of moissanite can cost up to $650 USD in comparison to diamonds costing up to $5,000 USD per carat.
The quality of each of these gemstones is pretty similar, but diamonds have a much higher demand, making them more costly to their counterpart.
Deciding between a diamond and moissanite is completely up to one’s preference.
They are both great options for wedding band and engagement ring settings thanks to their durability and natural beauty.