Engagement rings and wedding rings should be special and durable. You want something your partner can be proud of, so as you initially learn about Moissanite, it’s natural to wonder if it might be considered cheap or tacky.
Is Moissanite Tacky? No, despite what well-paid diamond marketing firms work hard to make you believe, there’s nothing Tacky, or shameful, about giving a beautiful Moissanite engagement or wedding ring. Moissanite looks very similar to diamond. It’s incredibly durable, and yet significantly less expensive.
In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll give you all the information you’ll need in order to decide if Moissanite is the right choice for your special ring.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite (which is sometimes referred to as ‘Moissy’ in casual conversation) is an ultra-rare naturally occurring stone that was first discovered in 1893 as a scientist combed the impact site of a meteorite in an Arizona desert. The fragments that were found there were originally misidentified as Diamond. Years passed before the French scientist that made the discovery realized that they weren’t diamonds, but something else—something new. Moissanite was eventually named after the French scientist (Henri Moissan) that discovered it.
Naturally occurring Moissanite is far rarer than Diamonds. Diamonds are mined in countries around the globe. The illusion of scarcity supports high prices, which both create a sense of exclusivity that’s a critical part of the industry’s marketing strategy. Diamonds certainly are difficult to extract from the earth, but they aren’t nearly as rare as we’re led to believe through carefully controlled supply channels.
There are no Moissanite mines where large quantities of the stone are extracted from the earth. It’s most commonly found at meteorite impact sites even today, though tiny fragments of Moissanite are also infrequently found in a few other locations as well. Natural Moissanite is always found in tiny pieces that are far too small for jewelry. It’s often broken up as the meteorite which it was part of makes impact with the earth. Because of this, all Moissanite used for jewelry is recreated in a lab.
Moissanite is incredibly hard, so it was originally utilized as an industrial abrasive agent because diamonds and other gems that might serve a similar purpose were far too expensive. Moissanite’s natural hardness makes it a durable choice for jewelry that can withstand the abuse of daily wear.
Moissanite naturally looks almost identical to diamond, but that doesn’t make it a ‘fake diamond’ any more than having a strong natural resemblance to Julia Roberts makes you a fake Julia Roberts. Moissanite is an amazing stone on it’s own merits, and can be a wonderful choice for a wedding or engagement ring!
Does Moissanite Look Strange or Stand Out?
Most Moissanite owners would tell you that their ring stands out in a positive way. Moissanite really sparkles, which catches the eye! I’ve heard many Moissanite owners comment that they’re constantly getting compliments on their Moissanite ring. They sometimes add that they never got so many nice comments about the diamond rings they wore in the past.
Moissanite is typically a clear stone, like diamond (though fancy colored options do exist), so it certainly doesn’t look strange or stand out in a negative sense.
How Common are Moissanite Rings?
Moissanite has become much more commonly used over the past ten years or so. Internet search data shows that it’s searched more than many alternatives like Lab Diamonds, Morganite, White Sapphire, and Cubic Zirconia for use in rings. You may have seen many Moissanite rings without even realizing it. Most often, people that aren’t professionals in the industry see a Moissanite ring and assume it’s a diamond ring. Even professionals might have a hard time identifying a Moissanite ring without a closer inspection, and perhaps testing equipment, in many cases.
The use of Moissanite rings is growing rapidly, so If you ultimately decide to go with Moissanite, you’ll certainly be in good company!
What’s Most Important to You and Your Partner?
Our tastes and preferences are constantly being shaped by marketing companies that shape our opinions through ads and product placements. It’s a subtle process. We aren’t even conscious of the fact that we’re being manipulated to associate certain ideas and feelings with a particular product. These campaigns aren’t a guessing game or gamble for the diamond industry. It’s an investment, and the marketing firms they hire are masters at programming our biases and impressions to desire their product and to think of all others as a poor personal reflection on us. Too often, we bite and accept the meanings and associates they carefully feed to us.
Did you know that Americans haven’t always given diamonds when they got engaged or married? Prior to the 1930s, other gems were far more common. It was only through heavy marketing campaigns that the tide began turning, and people began associating Diamonds with engagement, marriage, and love. An expectation of a diamond was created over time, but that didn’t happen organically—it was programmed into us by the industry that would directly profit from the shift. They caused us to feel a sense of failure if the diamond wasn’t big enough. They caused us to question if it was real love at all if a diamond wasn’t presented. It’s all nonsense in reality, but many still buy into the conditioning that we’ve received through marketing.
When you choose Moissanite, you get a ring that looks almost identical to a diamond. You also get a stone that’s harder than all gems and stones other than diamonds. Moissanite rings are durable, so they can be worn daily and don’t need to be babied like softer stones. When you choose Moissanite, you save significant money, because the supply of Moissanite isn’t centralized and manipulated. You’ll typically save 85% over the cost of purchasing a similar-sized diamond! That means thousands of dollars in savings that you can apply to paying down debt, a better honeymoon, a down payment on a home, etc.
So what’s most important—having a durable and equally beautiful stone that you save thousands of dollars on or maintaining a self-serving tradition that the diamond industry created in order to build demand and support exorbitant prices?
How Durable Is Moissanite
The Mohs Scale of hardness is a comparative scale that essentially ranks materials in order of hardness. It’s ‘comparative’ because it doesn’t measure their hardness as much as it shows us, numerically, which stones are harder than specific types of other stones. From the scale, we learn that Talc has the lowest possible rating at just 1. Diamond (the hardest known rock) is on the other end of the scale, with a hardness of 10. All other rocks fall somewhere in between those two points. The Mohs Scale rates Moissanite between 9.25 and 9.5. That tells us that it’s not as hard as diamond, but it’s still really hard (even harder than sapphires).
That hardness means that Moissanite is scratch-resistant. Most of the light bumps and scrapes that might scare a Cubic Zirconia or topaz won’t blemish a Moissanite. This means that, unlike many diamond alternatives, Moissanite can stand up to the harsh conditions of daily wear without quickly wearing out.
Does Moissanite get cloudy over time?
The passing of time won’t cause Moissanite to get cloudy, however, it can accumulate build-up from things like soaps and lotions that can begin to block some sparkle. If that happens, a simple cleaning should restore your ring’s full beauty. The good news is that Moissanite is so sparkly, that it can reflect light flashes through build-up that would leave most other stones looking completely dull and lifeless! That means that cleaning requirements are far more relaxed for Moissy than it often is for other types of rings.
How Much Does Moissanite Cost?
The cost of Moissanite will vary, depending on who you’re shopping with, but the equivalent of a 1 carat stone (7mm) typically costs around $300, while a diamond of comparable size would typically cost $3,000 to $5,000. Again, the potential savings are significant!
How Can People Tell Moissanite and Diamonds Apart?
In reality, your friends, family, and co-workers would have a hard time telling Moissanite and Diamond apart. A professional jeweler would have an easier time distinguishing the two stones, though they sometimes have to resort to high-tech devices for identification when appearances aren’t distinctive enough.
The quickest way to alert people to the fact that your Moissanite ring isn’t a diamond ring is to go too big with the stone that you choose. You could buy a 3-carat Moissanite stone for a minimal cost, but a 3-carat diamond would likely cost at least $30,000—something your friends, family, and co-workers might know you couldn’t possibly afford. Their immediate assumption with an unusually large stone is that it’s a diamond simulant of some kind (like Cubic Zirconia).
A one-carat diamond isn’t something that’s unusual for most rings, so if you stick to a Moissanite stone in that range, it’s much less likely that anyone would have reason to assume that it might not be a diamond that you’re wearing. Professionals frequently move the stone under light to observe the sparkles. Moissanite has more fire (light dispersion) than diamonds, which can be one way they distinguish Moissanite from diamonds. Fire presents itself as rainbow-colored sparkles of light that reflect back from the ring when exposed to light. Most of your friends would admire the way your Moissanite ring dances with sparkles, but they wouldn’t know that those sparkles are a little different from what they might observe in a comparable diamond.
Should You Let People Think Your Moissanite is a Diamond?
You should never mislead the person that you’re offering a ring to about what it’s made of. If you talk about what Moissanite is before you buy it, hopefully, you’ll get a read on how they feel about it. Like most people, they may be unfamiliar initially, but as they learn more, they may come to appreciate it for its beauty, incredible origins, and savings.
I personally feel that Moissanite is a pretty remarkable stone, and I’m not embarrassed at all for someone to know that the solitaire in my wife’s ring is made of Moissanite, not diamond. Having said that, I also don’t feel that I need to go around proactively telling everyone who sees my wife’s ring that the stone is Moissanite. If they ask, I’ll tell them. If they don’t ask, I probably won’t mention it either. You can handle this in whatever way feels best to you, but again, Moissanite is such an incredible stone, that it’s nothing you should feel ashamed to let others know about.
There are a few issues that Moissanite owners sometimes experience. First, when they don’t remove their ring to apply hand sanitizers, lotions, sunscreen, etc, they sometimes experience some build-up on their ring that may dull its ability to sparkle until it’s properly cleaned.
The build-up of the oils and chemicals, mentioned above, can also create a rainbow stain that can be difficult to clean off for some people. The stain can be removed, but it’s sometimes challenging for those that are experiencing it for the first time.
The other issue that’s fairly common, is that Moissanite seems to temporarily take on a grey hue in certain lighting conditions. My wife has seen that happen when her hands are on the steering wheel and she’s driving under a grey cloudy sky. Her Moissanite ring simply reflects the color of the sky, but it looks at the time like it’s actually taken on a greyish tone. Once she gets to her destination and has different lighting in her environment, the ring looks normal again. This illusion makes Moissanite interesting, but it’s nothing lasting that should cause concern.
If you need something less expensive than a traditional diamond, but ultimately decide against a Moissanite, for whatever reason, you may want to look into either buying a lab-grown diamond or a used diamond ring.
Lab grown, or man made, diamonds look exactly the same as mined diamonds and are equally durable, however, they cost much less. I wrote this article explaining more about the benefits and savings of lab grown diamonds.
You can save money on mined diamonds, and lab-grown diamonds, by buying them 2nd hand through Pawn Shops or sites that act as consignment agents. Specialized sites frequently have rings tested for authenticity and provide greater assurance that you’re getting what you think you’re buying. You can find one of my favorite second-hand retailers here. They also have a good selection of loose used diamonds that you can mount to your own band if you’d prefer that.
A Moissanite ring will serve as a symbol of your love and commitment just as effectively as a diamond ring will. It comes down to which stone has the beauty, durability, and price that works best for you. Buying Moissy isn’t tacky or cheap, it’s smart. It’s frugal.