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If you are interested in a transparent gemstone alternative to diamonds, moissanite is, in my opinion, the best option. Below, I fill you in on all the sparkly details for why I chose a moissanite ring over a diamond ring.
What Is Moissanite?: A Quick History
Moissanite is a silicon carbide that was first discovered as a mineral attached to a meteorite by French chemist Henri Moissan in 1893. Moissanite is incredibly rare in nature, so nearly all of it is synthesized in laboratories.
What I Knew I Wanted in a Gemstone:
Conflict-Free Alternative to Diamonds
I understand that not all diamonds are blood diamonds that involve abuse in the process of mining, transporting, or cutting and polishing. I just wanted to be 100% sure that the stone I was going to have on my hand every day as a symbol and reminder of love, wasn't aiding members of militarized revolutionaries in Western or Central Africa, or that children were forced to help get them. Moissanite is crafted in labs, so you can be sure that no warlords are benefitting from its creation and no children are harmed.
Moissanite vs. Diamond Durability
An engagement ring is worn daily, so I knew I wanted and needed it to be durable. The Mohs Scale of Minerals ranks minerals on how hard and scratch resistant they are on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest rating). Moissanite scores a 9.25 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamonds, which score a 10. Both of these score very well for durability; you really shouldn't be able to damage or scratch these stones throughout the day.
Cost of Moissanite vs. Diamonds & Their Color Differences
I am going to roll the cost and gemstone color of these two options together, since they go hand-in-hand.
Diamonds can be found in numerous colors, like blue, pink and yellow, which are all highly prized and rare. However, white diamonds are less valuable when they include colorization. Diamonds are classified—and consequently priced—by their color and their clarity. The most popularly purchased color classification of white diamonds are H or I, which are essentially nearly colorless diamonds. The most popular clarity for engagement rings is VS2, this clarity grade means that under 10x magnification, imperfections and inclusions are "Very Slightly Included".
Similar to diamonds, moissanite is a white (or really, clear/transparent) colorless stone, and like diamonds, the more color that the stone contains, the less valuable it is deemed. Unlike diamonds, moissanite can be manufactured to be totally colorless—something that is nearly impossible rare in the diamond world at an affordable price. If you were to compare a same sized colorless moissanite to a popular I-colored, VS2 diamond, the cost of this diamond would be approximately 4 times more expensive than the colorless moissanite. If you were to compare a more similarly colored moissanite to its diamond equivalent of the same carat, the diamond would be approximately 6 times more expensive. Meaning moissanite is far more affordable, and you can purchase a much larger carat for a lot less money.
Brilliance AKA Sparkle
Diamonds and moissanite are both great at reflecting and refracting white light, meaning they are very shiny, sparkly stones—but moissanite is better at this than diamonds. In fact, that glimmer is more pronounced in moissanite because it scatters light that enters it (called refraction) better than a diamond. On the Refraction Index (RI), moissanite scores a 2.65-2.69, whereas diamonds score a 2.42.
This is the reason that if you ask individuals (who aren't gemologists) to tell the difference between a moissanite ring and a diamond ring, the vast majority will think the moissanite is the diamond because they incorrectly assume the sparkliest ring is a diamond ring!
All in all, there were just too many pros for moissanite in my book when compared to diamonds. I am beyond thrilled with my moissanite engagement ring and all its conflict-free, glimmery glory.