of my hottest requests:
Moissanite & Lab-Grown Diamonds
Brides-to-be (and grooms-to-be!) are breaking out of the decades-long mold of a natural diamond and looking for other options to complete unique rings. Of course, most of us want the most cost-effective way to get the most size and bling for our budget.
As a gemologist, I think gemstones are simply magical, whether created in the ground or in a lab. However, it’s my job to educate my Client Friends about the pros, cons, and limitations of each stone before beginning a custom project.
Lab Grown Diamonds & Moissanite are two completely different gems, with night-and-day chemical makeups. But the thing they have in common? They’re cost-effective, have tons of sparkle, and provide an easy way to get the size you want!
You might hear jewelers refer to moissanite as a “Diamond Simulant.” This means that the gemstone (in this case, moissanite) looks similar to diamond, in the sense that it sparkles and it’s clear.
This is a little confusing as a term, right?
But let’s be clear: it is not diamond. Moissanite is it’s own gemstone, with a distinct set of colors, hardness, fire, and durability. So, let’s call it as we see it: Moissanite (silicon carbide)
COLORS: COLORLESS TO GREY, BLUE
This gemstone is ALWAYS synthetic in modern day jewelry. Moissanite does occur naturally, but in such small quantities that it makes it virtually impossible to facet and produce in finished jewelry.
“Synthetic”: Created in a lab.
COLORS: COLORLESS TO FANCIES
Although we’re all familiar with natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds have taken the market by storm. Known for their identical optical properties and extreme savings, lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab using CVD or HPHT.
“Synthetic”: Created in a lab.
Moissanite is a rare gemstone originally found in meteorite. In 1893, French scientist named Henri Moissan discovered it in crater in Arizona. He initially thought that he had discovered diamonds, and understandably so, since moissanite has high dispersion (fire).
After many years of trial and error, the particles Moissan discovered were successfully synthesized to produce what is now one of the world’s most scintillating gemstones.
MOISSANITE: SPARKLES FOR DAYS
Moissanite has come a long way. When I originally began examining moissanite from about a decade ago, all of the material had this greenish-yellow overtone. It was extremely brittle and tended to abrade quickly with daily wear. It wasn’t very pretty, to be honest.
Boy, have things changed.
Moissanite now found in the market comes in two primary “colors”–described as “near colorless” and “colorless.”
After working with moissanite for a few years now, I find the colorless material to be generally “white” and “hue-less” but lower qualities can sometimes have a greyish color to it. Even the “near-colorless” quality generally faces up “white,” very much akin to an H color natural diamond. It looks great in any metal.
Synthetic moissanite is always eye-clean. Even if it does exhibit some minor inclusions, you won’t see them without a great microscope. The inclusions I’ve seen look like little “wisps” or linear, colorless lines. Very minor.
Moissanite has a very high refractive index (2.65 – 2.69) meaning that it captures and disperses light at a much higher rate than diamond (RI: 2.417 – 2.419). As a result, moissanite has a unique fire to it that is definitely different than diamond. Since this gemstone is also doubly refractive (bends a single ray of light into two directions), it can return light in a subtle, different way. The best way I can describe this look is less sharp, and more like a kaleidoscope than sharp pins of fire.
To the non-gemologist eye? Extremely similar to diamond, almost undetectable.
Colorless, Near Colorless, and even Gray, Gray-Blue, and greenish-blue. Some moissanite can come in different colors than these, but they are commonly annealed (coated) with a thin layer of the color.
CARING FOR YOUR MOISSANITE
You can clean a moissanite just like you would diamond: with a professional steamer, or my favorite home remedy: warm water and liquid dish soap. Moissanite does tend to attract oils, so keep a Sunshine Polishing Cloth handy if your gemstone looks like it’s developing a film on the surface.
- 01.Less expensive than diamond. A 6.5mm (1 ct. look ) moissanite of nice quality can cost as little as $250
- 02.Has more fire (rainbows) than a diamond.
- 03.High hardness = durable gem for daily wear
- 04.Eye-clean in clarity, no imperfections to the unaided eye.
- 01.Can sometimes look yellowish or gray, if not high quality material.
- 02.Not as hard as diamond, so it can still scratch and abrade.
- 03.Old material can be brittle, scratched up easily.
- 04.Can sometimes appear a little "busy" since the dispersion is higher.