When my partner popped the question, I was so pleased that he did it with a moissanite engagement ring. There was no diamond in site, and I could not be happier! This might seem like a really strange statement. Most people do not know what a moissanite is and those that do know immediately denigrate it as being ‘fake’.
But let’s back up for a moment.
It’s true that every girl fantasizes about her engagement, the lover on bended knee holding out a beautiful luxurious box, with that elusive yet coveted engagement ring within the box. And more often than not, we read of that ring being a diamond ring! After all, who does not want a stone that has been glorified in our culture for a long time? A diamond is ‘forever’ and a ‘girl’s best friend’.
But the trouble for me was that when I began to research on what kind of diamond I wanted, I felt as though I had opened Pandora’s box.
Suddenly, it wasn’t as romantic as I had always thought. I was learning about all the unethical practices and environmental devastation that was going on in this industry. A single standard open cut diamond mine can be as enormous as 500 meters across and 300 meters deep, with the surrounding area left wasted and unfertile. Conflict diamonds is another factor to consider. I did not want my engagement ring to be stained with blood under any circumstances.
That was when I learned about moissanite and I was hooked!
Moissanite is a diamond simulant, and to the untrained eye, it can look exactly like a diamond. In fact, it often takes a trained expert with specialist equipment to distinguish the two. Although Cubic Zirconia is the most popular diamond simulant on the market, CZ has a reputation for being cheap and not durable. Moissanite, on the other hand, has qualities very similar to a diamond. Although they are very similar in appearance, diamonds and moissanites are distinct in every other way that matters.
What makes a moissanite such a great alternative to diamonds is that it is extremely durable. A diamond ranks 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness but a moissanite is second best at 9.25 (.25 higher than sapphires and rubies!). You might be wondering why this is important but consider that your engagement ring is a piece of jewelry that will be worn every day for the rest of your life. It needs to be able to take the rough wear and tear of daily exposure and still be sparkling at the end of the day. The hardness of moissanite means that next to diamonds, it is one of the hardest stones you will find.
But people love diamonds because of their brilliance and sparkle, don’t they? However, it is interesting to note that moissanites are, in fact, brighter than diamonds! They have a gorgeous sparkle and really bring life to your ring. This is because a moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamonds. While a diamond has an RI of 2.41 a moissanite’s is 2.65, which is considerably higher. While some people find it a bit too sparkly and the flash of rainbow colors too much, others love the moissanite effect. Just check to make sure that this is what you desire.
Another advantage of buying a moissanite is that it is easier on the wallet than a diamond. If you are budget conscious, a moissanite can be up to 90% more affordable than a diamond of the same specifications. While some people would prefer to splurge on the ring, why not save that and put it towards setting up your new life together?
And the best part about moissanite? Every single stone on the market is lab-created. While natural diamonds take millions of years to be formed and come from deep within the earth, mossanites are created within weeks in high-tech labs. Because natural moissanite is extremely rare and is not a viable option for jewelry, scientists figured out how to synthesize moissanite in labs. For the ethical buyer, this is a boon! It means that your stone has not had any negative impacts on the environment or on people. For me, this meant that my stone was not costing the earth and was exactly what I needed!
So, what has been my experience wearing a moissanite ring?
While most people see the moissanite for the scientific and aesthetic wonder that it is, there will be those inevitable few who snub the moissanite, just because it is a ‘fake’ diamond. To this I say, first, a moissanite is a stone in its own right; it just happens to look like a diamond. And second, true, it may not have the value and prestige of a diamond, but it also doesn’t come with the ethical concerns nor the whopping price tags of diamonds.
We all know that when it comes to weddings, most people don’t want to spare any expense. It is a time of emotional decisions and money is deemed unimportant. At a time like this, choosing a moissanite is making a rational choice. It is not an emotional choice but a practical one.
Science is bringing ethical alternatives to consumers in the fashion world (faux fur and vegan leather are great examples!) and moissanites are another amazing innovation to help maintain the sustainability and ethics of our world.