Moissanite is made of silicon carbide and was discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan, a french scientist. Moissanite is found in nature, but in very very tiny crystals, making it unsuitable for use in jewellery. Gem quality Moissanite suitable for engagement rings is lab-created. The rise in popularity of Moissanite is three fold, see below;
1. Moissanite looks very similar to a diamond
With the advancement of technology Moissanite is now available in the same colour range as white diamonds. Both emit Brilliance (white flashes) and Fire (coloured flashes), however Moissanite tends to have more colour flashes than diamonds.
2. Moissanite is hard wearing
All gemstones, natural & lab-created are measured for their hardness. This is achieved using the MOHS scale of Hardness, a universal measurement which assists the jeweller & gemstone dealer in recommending the most suitable gemstones for a particular piece of jewellery. Moissanite measures 9.25 on this scale in comparison to a Diamond which is a 10.
3. Moissanite is much cheaper per carat & marketed as a more eco-friendly option
Affordability is a benefit most enjoyed by those wishing to have the look of a much larger center stone without the price. Most Moissanite's purchased are between 1.00 and 2.00ct. Because these stones are lab-created they are an attractive alternative for consumers looking to make a purchase with the least impact on the environment.
These facts listed above are widely advertised and easy to confirm. However please be careful of companies advertising Moissanite as a Diamond as it is not.
I would suggest there are a few other considerations to take into account when considering a Moissanite for an engagement ring. Yes Moissanite is less expensive than a diamond of the same carat weight, colour and clarity, however they are still pricey. There is very little industry consensus on the resale value of Moissanite and what value they will hold into the future. The steady price of natural diamonds is an indication of their intrinsic & perceived value.
The sustainable, environmental & societal impact of Moissanite vs Diamonds needs to be considered with an open mind as both options have their positives & negatives.
Personally if I was I was looking at an environmentally friendly option I would purchase a lab-grown diamond which is a real diamond... more expensive than a Moissanite, about 30% less expensive than a natural diamond with a much greater potential to hold value into the future.
"Classic cut" Moissanite showing a lot of color. Photo by Irish. Licensed By SACC