Moissanite is an ethically sourced gem that looks just like diamonds, without the price tag. Originally discovered in 1893 when a meteorite hit Arizona, moissanite is created today in labs and is considered a diamond simulant by many jewelers.
While a classic moissanite will have yellowish green tones similar to a H-I color graded diamond, newer, more advanced lab created diamond simulants are available in near-colorless to colorless bodies.
1. Brilliance and Dispersion
A diamond’s brilliance is defined by its brightness and contrast. Bright diamonds perfectly return light to an observer.
They also have a high level of light contrast (the areas which appear to be dark due to your head’s shadow). However, a bright diamond needs more than just brightness.
For a diamond to be truly brilliant, it must also have a significant amount of fire and scintillation.
This is because a well cut diamond will bend light in such a way that it produces colorful flashes of color.
This is called dispersion and it’s a result of the diamond’s refractive index. Moissanite has a higher index than diamond, which bends more of the light coming into the stone, producing more fire and colored sparkles.
Moissanite is the second hardest known mineral – and it scores 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which is higher than diamonds (which score 10)!
This makes moissanite more resistant to chipping and breaking than diamond. And because it doesn’t cleave in the same direction as a diamond, it isn’t prone to large breaks when struck against something hard.
It also sparkles brighter than diamond. This is because moissanite has a higher refractive index, which allows it to refract light. This creates a more firey appearance that usually comes in the form of bold flashes and rainbow colors.
Moissanite diamond is a natural mineral sourced from a meteorite that landed in Arizona. It is generally colorless, but can also be yellow or green tinted depending on the size of the crystal.
Diamonds have a distinct sparkle that comes from the combination of three aspects of light: brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. The white light reflected by the stone is called brilliance, and the rainbow of colors refracted through the stone is called dispersion.
The surface sparkle of the stone is known as scintillation. Moistsanites can create a fiery rainbow flash of color as they move around, which some people like and others find distracting.
Diamonds are graded on a scale of D-Z, starting at perfectly colorless and going toward yellow or gray tinted stones. The larger the moissanite, the more color it will show.
4. Ethical Origins
Diamonds are formed naturally from a chemical compound called silicon carbide, which is pushed into the earth’s crust by volcanic eruptions. The result is a hard gemstone that has excellent thermal conductivity and optical properties.
Man made diamonds are an increasingly popular option, allowing consumers to enjoy the same qualities of a natural diamond at a more affordable price. However, some gemstones are mined in controversial practices, causing environmental harm and human rights violations.
Buying diamonds from countries that adhere to international labor, trade and environmental standards is the best way to ensure you’re purchasing ethically sourced gems. However, even those that follow these guidelines can still be associated with unethical mining.
Moissanite is available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. You can find moissanite stones in a range of popular diamond shapes, including solitaire, oval, round, princess, emerald, and asscher cut rings.
Some moissanite cutters also offer custom-cut gemstones to match any style or budget. Harro Gems, for example, offers a wide selection of unusual shapes such as crushed-ice cushions, antique cuts and half moons.
Although lab-created, moissanite is still a sustainable and ethical alternative to natural diamonds. The process of mining diamonds requires a lot of labor, and often puts the environment in danger.