What is Moissanite?
Moissanites have been getting a lot of press lately and an increasing number of young couples are opting for this stone over diamonds. In spite of this spike in popularity, many people are still quite clueless as to what moissanite actually is. Here we outline everything you need to know before you buy a moissanite.
Where Does Moissanite Come From?
Moissanite was first discovered by Henri Moissan in 1893 in a meteor crater in Arizona and was named in his honor. Initially Moissan mistook it for diamonds but later realized that it was a rock in its own right.
Moissanite in nature is extremely rare, so much so that all moissanite on the market is lab-created. Naturally occurring moissanite is only found in a few places in upper mantle rocks and mainly in meteorites. This connection to outer space is why this stone is sometimes called the ‘space diamond’ or ‘stardust’.
What is Moissanite Made of?
Moissanite is made of the mineral silicon carbide. Strong covalent bonding holds the crystalline structure together, similar to diamonds. This is why moissanite is very hard and able to withstand high pressure and temperatures.
Is Moissanite a Diamond?
Many people often ask this question from jewelers, requesting for a ‘moissanite diamond’ for their jewelry. Moissanite is not a diamond. Far from it. While it may look like a diamond, a moissanite and a diamond are very different in almost every aspect.
Is Moissanite Fake and Tacky?
The answer to this question is quite simply, no. Many people erroneously believe that moissanite is a fake gemstone but this is the same as thinking that rubies are fake.
It is important to note that moissanite is a stone in its own right that just happens to look like diamonds. In other words, moissanite is a diamond look-alike not a diamond imitator.
A high quality, well set piece of moissanite jewelry is as classy and sophisticated as any other gemstone.
Moissanite is one of the hardest gemstones on earth, and in the gemstone world, second only to diamonds in durability. It is much harder than stones such as sapphires, emeralds or rubies and an excellent option for daily wear. Moissanite can withstand daily exposure and is highly resistant to scratching or breaking, ranking at 9.25 on the Mohs scale.
Moissanite is also incredibly tough, meaning that it does not easily chip or cleave. It can withstand high temperatures and still maintain its sparkle.
Moissanite is ideal for use in any type of jewelry and suits a range of styles. Whether you wish for a maximalist or a minimalist piece, moissanite can suit perfectly. Because of its intense sparkle, moissanite is beautiful when you want to dress up and add some glamor.
You can find moissanite studs that look similar to diamond studs and at a much lower price point. For a more elegant look, choose moissanite drop earrings. Under lights, these sparkle beautifully.
Moissanite pendants and necklaces come in a variety of styles and designs. They tend to go with any outfit and are a versatile choice of jewelry.
Moissanite Engagement Rings
While moissanites are great in all types of jewelry, they are becoming popular as the center stone for engagement rings by many young couples. From a practical standpoint, moissanites are durable, affordable, beautiful and ethical. They are also non-traditional and with so many couples seeking to be unique and get off the beaten path, moissanites offer just that.
Moissanite is suitable for any type of ring setting. They don’t require protection as they are durable enough, and can be set in delicate styles such as solitaire or tension settings. Just like a diamond, they work with any metal color whether it is yellow, rose or white gold.
While moissanites may seem traditional, they are in fact quite avant-garde and very modern, which is one of the reasons they are proving to be so appealing to modern couples.
What is the Best Moissanite Cut?
Although moissanite is only graded on its color, the cut is an important factor as a properly cut stone enhances the sparkle of a moissanite. Because moissanite’s optical properties are different to diamonds, the stone must be cut accordingly.
Moisssanites can be cut into any common gemstone shape, but the most popular shape by far is the round brilliant cut. This classic cut tends to maximize the fire of the stone, and is also extremely versatile to wear.
Other popular moissanite cuts are princess, marquise, pear, cushion, radiant, and heart.
Cuts such as emerald and Asscher that contain wide, open facets are also beautiful for moissanites but ensure that the stone is free of tints and is cut to proportion.
Choosing Moissanite Color
When purchasing moissanite, you’ll have three color categories to choose from: Colorless (D-E-F), near colorless (G-H-I) and slightly tinted (J-K range). The colorless gemstones come with a premium and are more desirable.
Moissanite tends to have green, yellow or brown tints so it’s important to see the stone carefully prior to purchase to ensure that it does not contain any undesirable colors.
If you’re looking for colored moissanite, it can be difficult to find. At present, MW jewelry offers various high-quality colored moissanite.
Moissanite has exceptional sparkle and is one of the most brilliant gemstones. Moissanites have what is known as the ‘rainbow effect’ which is a fiery and colorful flash of color when the stone is viewed under light, especially natural light. This is due to moissanites very high Refractive Index (2.65).
While this is often not very visible in smaller stones, large moissanites can exhibit a strong rainbow effect. If this is something you prefer to avoid, a smaller stone may be more suitable for you.
Because moissanites are lab-created, there is a lot of control over the final product. Even so, most moissanite tend to have some faint inclusions. These are often in the shape of small, threadlike inclusions that form during the stone’s creation process. In general though, these flaws are only visible under magnification and the stone may appear eye-clean.
Moissanite Price and Resale Value
While moissanite is often chosen as an alternative to diamonds, don’t expect it to be cubic zirconia cheap. It takes a laborious, resource-consuming process to create moissanite and this is not cheap.
Moissanite’s resale value is not known for sure at this stage and as it is still a relatively new gemstone for jewelry, with the technology to create it always advancing and expanding, it is difficult to estimate the resale value. Having said that, reselling moissanite will generally get you back about 50% of what you paid for it, which is similar for diamonds.
How to Clean Moissanite Jewelry?
Due to its durability, moissanite is an easy to maintain stone. Over time, dirt and grime build up can result in a cloudy or dull looking gemstone. However, washing the moissanite with a soft cloth, mild soap and water is the best way to restore its shine.
When storing moissanite jewelry, ensure that it is placed in a separate pouch or box. This is to make sure that the moissanite does not scratch softer gemstones and cause damage to other jewelry items. Likewise, keep moissanite away from diamonds as diamonds, being harder, can scratch them.
In general, avoid harsh chemicals coming into contact with your moissanite gemstone. You can use an ultrasonic cleaner for your moissanite jewelry but ensure that the settings are tough enough to withstand the intense vibrations of the cleaner. For example, it’s not advisable to put a pave setting into an ultrasonic cleaner as the little stones can be forced out due to the pressure.
This gemstone has many benefits going for it, making it a near perfect choice for your jewelry. Possibly the main problem with this gemstone is society’s perceptions of it.
To some, a moissanite will always be a ‘fake’ diamond, and will never have the class and prestige that precious gemstones have. While you may love the science of the stone, there may be people who will snub your moissanite jewelry. Others may fret that a moissanite will never be an heirloom like a sapphire or diamond.
Is this a real issue?
We’ll leave that for you to decide.
Another problem is that there is a general contention that diamonds make a good investment while moissanites do not, meaning that the money you spend on a moissanite is essentially wasted.
But is this true?
Diamonds, as is generally agreed, is overpriced and loses more than half its value as soon as you purchase it. In fact, a diamond ring is listed as a purchase that drops the most in value, as this article outlines.
As a moissanite often costs only about 10% of a diamond’s price, this means that you save 90% of what you would have spent on a diamond. Right there, you’ve saved a huge sum. And don’t forget that you can resell your moissanite for about half of what you spent for it.