What Exactly is Moissanite?Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral, silicone carbide. It was discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan in a meteor. Since there are almost no supplies of this mineral on earth, scientists set out to create synthetic moissanite in a lab. In 1995, jewelers realized that Moissanite would make an ideal gemstone, and the rest, as they say, is history. It's such a good substitute for diamonds that many jewelers cannot easily tell the difference.
Is a Moissanite Engagement Ring Right for Me?The biggest pro of moissanite is the cost. If you are on a budget, definitely look into this gem.
Pros: less expensive than a diamond, but more durable, and some say more brilliant than a cubic zirconia (cz). Moissanite is actually more refractive than a diamond, giving it more brilliance and fire than either a diamond or c.z.
Cons: Can be slightly green or gray rather than colorless, especially in bright daylight. Make sure you examine a potential moissanite stone under a variety of lighting conditions, and that you know your store's return policy. While cheaper than diamond, it is still more expensive than cubic zirconia. Also, although incorrect, some still characterize moissanite as a "fake" diamond, giving it a cheap feeling.
Why Moissanite Rather Than Cubic Zirconia or Other Diamond Simulants?
There are two types of cubic zirconia (c.z.) – machine-manufactured and hand-cut. Most people agree that machine-cut c.z. is hazy, and not brilliant. The hand-cut ones are a suitable diamond substitute, but still don't have the brilliance of true diamonds or moissanite. They also are less durable; c.z.'s register about a 9.0 on the Mohs hardness scale and moissanite about a 9.25, compared to 10 for a diamond (this is important for an engagement ring which will be worn daily). Other simulated diamonds, such as paste, glass, or quartz are not very popular since they are such poor substitutes. A company called Gemesis has started making man-made diamonds, but so far has only succeeded in making yellow fancy-colored ones, which are still 4 times more expensive than moissanite.