More about Moissanite
We get so many questions about moissanite and wanted to provide some additional information here beyond what is covered in our FAQs.
History of Moissanite:
50,000 years ago in a remote corner of Arizona, a meteorite hit the Earth and created what is now known as Meteor Crater. in 1893, a French scientist named Dr. Henri Moissan discovered fragments of a new, sparkling, mineral in that crater. After extensive research, a Tiffany & Co gemologist, George Kunz, suggested they name the new stone after Dr. Moissan, and moissanite was born.
In 1995, an American company, Charles & Colvard, spent three years developing moissanite into a diamond alternative that could be grown in a laboratory setting and began selling jewelry with the new stone.
The original moissanites were promising but had significant visual differences from diamonds - they tended to look yellow or greenish under certain lights and were far from colorless. If you have a negative impression of moissanite, you may have heard about these flaws!
However, once Charles and Colvard's patent on moissanite expired in 2016, scientists and gemologists all over the world were free to start improving the technology and production of these stones. What has resulted in recent years is 10X improvement in the appearance of moissanite. The moissanite of 2020 truly looks identical to a diamond and even jewelers can have a hard time discerning the difference between a moissanite and a diamond without a loupe.
Moissanites look visually identical to diamonds. The single greatest visual difference between moissanites and diamonds is that moissanites are more "sparkly" or brilliant than diamonds.
What we think of as sparkliness is really refractiveness, or how well a gemstone can bend the light. Moissanites are actually more refractive than a diamond with a refractive index of 2.65 vs 2.42. Moissanites most resemble higher quality diamonds. High quality diamonds will often have rainbow flashes, especially in bright light environments. Moissanites will do the same but will often have even more of these flashes, often called "fire and brilliance."
The moissanites we sell are all graded DEF or colorless which is another benefit from a visual perspective. Oftentimes secondary fine jewelry pieces set with diamonds will use lower quality diamonds (I or J color stones) to bring the cost down. Our jewelry will look brighter, whiter and significantly more sparkly than these pieces (and we're speaking from experience!).
Any subtle differences between moissanites and diamonds are most noticeable in stone sizes above a carat and a half. This makes moissanite particularly well suited for secondary jewelry pieces like the ones we design and sell!
Durability of gemstones is measured by something called the MOHS scale of hardness. A diamond is a perfect ten on the scale and a moissanite is a 9.25. To provide some additional context a moissanite is significantly harder than an emerald (7.5) or a ruby (8) or even a sapphire (9). Your moissanite jewelry is designed for years of beautiful, daily wear.
On a day to day durability basis, interestingly, moissanite is less likely to attract grease than diamonds. This means that even when you haven't been as diligent about cleaning your jewelry, your moissanite jewelry will sparkle brightly even when it hasn't been cleaned. We always think this is a fun bonus!
To be clear, we love diamonds. Most of our clients prefer diamonds for their engagement rings (though our founder's mother does wear a beautiful three stone moissanite ring). We particularly like lab grown diamonds given the lower environmental impact, the fact that they are an ethical choice and the value they provide as compared to natural stones; however many of our clients also have and love their natural diamond stones. We do custom work in lab diamonds and are happy to work with you to design an engagement ring or to have any of our moissanite pieces set with lab diamond stones instead. We have access to some of the best pricing in lab diamonds on the market.
However, we see some drawbacks for using diamonds (natural or lab grown) for secondary fine jewelry pieces (for example: eternity bands, earrings, necklaces or tennis bracelets).
Diamonds don't hold their value: The idea that diamonds are a good investment is a myth that has been perpetuated for years. The reality is that diamonds are marked up anywhere between 100 - 200% from wholesale prices and that number trends upwards the smaller the diamond size is. When looking to resell diamonds you can expect to receive back between 20 - 45% of what you initially paid. While this is certainly better than nothing, it's a far cry from a decent investment return or even breaking even. As the stone sizes used in secondary fine jewelry pieces tend to be smaller - the resale value is even worse than what you'd see with a larger solitaire. The only part of diamond jewelry that truly holds its value is the gold used to set pieces and that's why at Mazedara, we use solid 14K or 18K gold.
- Insurance premiums add up: If you have a few pieces of diamond jewelry, in addition to your engagement ring, the premiums can get add up. Our founder spends $3,500 a year on her jewelry insurance and she can't help but think that for that amount of money, she could buy a new tennis bracelet from Mazedara every year! One of our favorite things about moissanite fine jewelry is that the prices are not high enough to require a separate insurance policy. We, of course, ask you to check the details of your particularly homeowner's or renter's insurance policy - but most of the time, items under $5,000 in value will be covered by a base policy.
- Diamonds are expensive: Maybe we just have expensive taste, but every time we saw a piece of jewelry we liked, we'd go to look at the price only to see it was $10,000 or even $15,000! With a budget of $5,000 or less, we couldn't afford any stones large enough to make an impact unless we traded down to lower quality stones and those looked terrible! With Mazedara jewelry delivers big impact for a manageable price. Our earrings start at $499, every piece in our line is under $5,000 and we guarantee they are stunningly beautiful!