Traditional engagement rings can be expensive, but they don't have to be! Instead of a mined diamond, consider moissanite. This lab-created mineral looks like diamond, has same brilliance as a diamond, and is almost as hard as a diamond. Yet moissanite engagement rings costs just a fraction of a traditional diamond ring.
What 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. More durable, and some say more brilliant than a cubic zirconia (c.z.). Moissanite is actually more refractive than a diamond, giving it more brilliance and fire.
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?
There are two types of cubic zirconia– 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.
Won't my Fiance Be Upset at Getting a Fake Diamond?
First of all, remember that moissanite is not a fake diamond, but rather a mineral that looks similar to diamond. You wouldn't call pink tourmaline "fake pink sapphire" would you? So think of it as a moissanite engagement ring, and lose the negativity. That said, buying an engagement ring is a very personal thing, and every couple has different priorities. Jewelers have done a very good job of convincing all of us that we must have diamonds, so your fiancé may be disappointed. Why not propose without a ring, and then later discuss all of your options, and what you can afford? She may prefer having a tiny diamond ring to a large moissanite ring, or may love the idea of saving money on a gorgeous ring. If you really want to propose with a ring in hand, talk to her friends and family about the matter.
Where Can I Buy Moissanite Engagement Rings?
Many jewelers are now carrying the stone, including national retailer JCPenney. You can also buy one on moissanite.com.