Sometime ago, I wrote about cubic zirconia which is an inexpensive, synthetic diamond alternative.  A reader nudged me to write about yet another diamond alternative, moissanite which has been increasingly popular over the last two decades or so. That is because it has some distinct advantages over diamonds, not least because it costs a lot less than actual diamonds - about 90% less.  

Moissanite is silicon carbide, a rare element and the rarest gemstone which was originally found in a meteorite crater (Meteor Crater, Arizona) back in 1893 by Nobel Prize winning French chemist, Henri Moissan. The element was later named in his honor. 

As it is so rarely found in nature, all moissanite gemstones available today are lab grown. It has many of the properties of diamonds. It is almost as hard as diamonds, and harder than sapphires and rubies. Diamonds are a 10 on the Mohs Scale while moissanite comes in at 9.25.  In addition to its hardiness, moissanites, like diamonds, have good heat resistance which makes them ideal for fine jewelry work. 

Moissanites are even more sparkly than diamonds because they reflect more light. They have a higher refractive index, with a "fiery" or rainbow play of colors not seen in diamonds. 

You can see that play of colors in the above 3 carat colorless moissanite ring shown above. The designer is Florida based,  SCTrinityJewels

Moissanites are conflict-free gemstones as they are grown in the lab. Moreover, mining for diamonds is an expensive enterprise as well as an environmentally destructive one. 

Moissanites attract less grime and dirt than diamonds. Did you know diamonds are lipophilic (fat liking?) Yes, diamonds readily stick to grease including your skin oils, cosmetics, body lotions, soap residues etc.  This diamond property has been known for centuries. Grease tables were once used to separate diamonds from rocks.  See my The Legend of the Valley of Diamonds feature for more.  

There are specific laboratory tests which can tell the difference between a moissanite and a diamond but for the average consumer, these differences would not be apparent. So if you want to flaunt your new 3 carat moissanite engagement ring and let everyone assume it is a very expensive diamond, you could get away with it by not correcting them!

Clear moissanites are way above the most popular "color" although you can get colored ones. Shown below are some of my favorites from a range of designers. This gemstone can be cut into different shapes - my favorite is the baguette one which is so Art Deco-ish.  It can also be teamed with different precious metals including gold, sterling silver and rose gold. 

This classic 3 round stone moissanite ring design is by Illinois based joylenedesign

Hard gemstones like moissanites are ideal for rings because they are so durable and are not prone to scratches. This marquise cut moissanite wedding band by Alabama based GemsOdes is a beauty. 

I gave a little gasp when I saw the short listing video of this icy blue moissanite and silver stud earrings! Such brilliance! The Canadian designer is Kenji of SilversideDesigns (update : no longer sellingwho specializes in colored moissanites.

The classic pear shape for this 1 carat moissanite pendant set in 14 K solid gold.  The designer is New York based Vianisa

This luxurious looking yet affordable moissanite and sterling silver tennis bracelet is by Hong Kong based LabGrownGemstone

This half eternity or wedding band moissanite baguette cut ring is set with rose gold. The designer, New York based Vianisa offers different gold colors. There is less faceting with baguette cuts but the beauty of the gemstone is still evident when set as a group.  Rather Art Deco-ish!


Moissanite Buyer's Guide by Engage Studio

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM