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Complete Guide to Large Moissanites

complete guide to large moissanites

Moissanites have been steadily growing in popularity over recent years, as couples begin to look for a more affordable and responsible option than the diamond. Here we’ve supplied a complete guide to them and the answers to a few common questions, so you can be certain if moissanites are right for you or not.

A Brief History of Large Moissanites

Large moissanites are, obviously, the larger iteration of the moissanite. Moissanite is naturally occurring silicon carbide, and was first discovered in 1893 by French chemist Henri Moissan, while he was examining rock samples from a meteor crater formed in Arizona.

Moissan mistakenly identified the crystals as diamonds for eleven years until 1904, before coming to identify them as the silicon carbide we know today. At around the same time as Moissan’s discovery, American chemist Edward G. Acheson successfully synthesized artificial silicon carbide in a laboratory setting. This paved the way for the human-made moissanite thousands of couples put into their engagement rings every year.

Synthetic moissanite was first sold to the public by Charles & Colvard, a brand Ben Garelick are proud to be able to offer on our website.

As naturally occurring moissanite is incredibly rare, the gemstone we enjoy is its lab-made version. While there is definitely something to be said of a naturally mined jewel formed into a beautiful engagement ring, the benefits of lab-produced gems are many, including:

-          Far reduced environmental impact

-          Free from concerns of unsafe, exploitative labor

-          More responsible than even “Conflict Free” gemstones

Here’s an example of a large 11.5mm moissanite in an engagement ring catching the light.

A Little More About Moissanite

Moissanite isn’t a new entrant to the gemstone world – as this paper from back in 1997 shows. However, it has become increasingly popular in recent years as an affordable alternative to diamonds, without sacrificing quality. We’ll have a more detailed look at some of the aspects that make moissanite a great option further down, but this table compares it to the diamond in a handful of important areas:

Qualities

Diamond

Moissanite

Durability

On Moh’s Hardness Scale, the higher the number the harder the stone.

10

(the hardest gemstones

found today)

9.25-9.5

(besides diamond, harder than all other gemstones)

Brilliance/Sparkle

On the Refractive Index (RI), the higher the number, the more brilliant.

2.42

(diamonds have a beautiful

white sparkle)

2.65-2.69

(more brilliant than diamond or any other popular gemstone; gives off more of a rainbow sparkle, which some think easily reveals that the stone is not a diamond)

Cut

Any restrictions to the type of shape it can be cut in - round, princess, oval, marquise, etc.

Can be cut in any shape

Can be cut in any shape

Clarity

One of the “4 Cs” of diamond grading quality, the assessment of small imperfections on the surface and internally. The surface flaws are called blemishes, and internal defects are known as inclusions.

Ranges from included to flawless

Ranges from flawed to almost flawless (similar to that of a VS diamond clarity grading, invisible to the unaided eye)

Color

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond color on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).

Ranges from light color to completely colorless

Near colorless to completely colorless

Cost

Approximate average cost for a 1 carat stone.

$5000-$6000

$400-$600

(generally, one-tenth the cost of a diamond)

Fire

Its measure of dispersion, the prism effect when pure white light enters a non-opaque object, breaks into spectral (rainbow) colors, and reflects back to the viewer.

.0433 (RI)

0.104 (RI)

(exceeds any gemstone including diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald)

 

Source

Where do these gemstones come from?

Made of crystallized carbon and naturally found from within the Earth's surface. Ben Garelick only offers ethically sourced, conflict-free diamonds, as well as lab-grown diamonds grown by humans.

Although it contains a similar carbon footprint, moissanite is grown in a controlled lab environment, eliminating the worry of unfair labor practices and warfare.

 This shows how strongly moissanite stacks up against the diamond in a whole host of areas – notably cost. This is one of the many reasons young people especially are turning to moissanite for their engagement ring.

moissanite ring

Biggest Advantages to Moissanite

Carats

Moissanite boasts a beautiful sparkle, as well as an incredible brilliance and fire. It is imperative that your moissanite gem is cut to maximize and enhance these advantages. The good news is with such a beautiful gemstone, it’s not hard to achieve a cut which shows off the beautiful sparkle moissanite possesses. 

Moissanite is usually measured in millimeters rather than carats because moissanite is naturally lighter in weight than a like sized diamond. Where a 6.5 mm round diamond would weigh approximately one carat, a moissanite with the exact same dimensions would weigh about 10% less.

Larger moissanite gemstones, such as a 15mm round cut, can boast an average carat weight of around 10.46 (only slightly less than a diamond of similar weight). Of course, different cuts offer different carat weights. For instance, a 10.5mm round brilliant moissanite gem offers an average carat weight of 4.20ct, while an 11mm gem is 4.75, and an 11.5mm gem moves up to 5.37ct.

Brilliance

According to the Refractive Index (RI), and shown in the table above, moissanite is more brilliant than any popular gemstone, including the diamond. Moissanite gives off more of a rainbow sparkle as opposed to the diamond’s white glow, which some feel exposes moissanite as a diamond imitation.

Color

Moissanite is often indistinguishable from diamonds to the naked eye, and you can now find them in a range of colors, though this wasn’t always the case. “Classic” moissanite has a yellow or brown tinge, which works well with yellow gold or rose gold rings.

Like the diamond, moissanite can also be easily found in “Near Colorless” and “Colorless”, as per the Gemological Institute of America’s color grading scale.

Durability

While the diamond retains its title of the hardest gemstone known today, moissanite is not far behind. Diamond scores a 10 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, with moissanite next in line, scoring 9.5. This makes it more durable than any gemstone aside from the diamond, and an excellent alternative. Moissanite’s mineral makeup resists oil and dirt better than a diamond does and is less prone to chipping and breaking.

Pricing

One of the major advantages to moissanite is its price. As a general guide, moissanite is approximately one-tenth the cost of a diamond, and while a diamond’s value can vary based on cut and clarity, moissanite only varies by type and size. This has become a leading reason younger couples have begun to turn to moissanite when purchasing an engagement ring.

Cut Options

Just like a diamond, moissanites can be cut in many ways. Some ring settings call for custom cuts, and some couples may prefer a more unique style. Below are just a few of the most popular cuts for moissanite rings.

Round Brilliant

Just as with the diamond, this is the most popular shape for moissanite. A brilliant cut provides the moissanite with a consistent sparkle throughout the stone, as opposed to a “crushed ice cut”, through which the light enters and reflects out of the stone through many angles, giving a glittering reflection that resembles crushed ice (hence the name). Here’s an example of a 12mm moissanite set in a ring.

Princess Cut

Princess cut (sometimes known as a square cut) moissanite is another incredibly popular choice of cut and is only behind the classic round brilliant.

Oval Cut

Oval cut is a slightly less common choice these days, yet offers an undeniably stylish, vintage look. This cut suits moissanite well as it looks larger than life and draws the eye to the gem’s brilliance.

oval cut moissanite ring

Pear Cut

Pear cuts are similar to the oval cut but with one pointed tip. They’re an elegant choice and have been making a resurgence in recent years as many couples return to this cut which was once considered old-fashioned.

pear cut moissanite ring

Heart Cut

The heart cut is the “hopeless romantic” of moissanite cuts. This cut is perfect for a more delicate style, or daintier ring. The heart cut can be tricky to perfect but is a unique and incredibly romantic statement when done well.

heart cut moissanite ring

Radiant Cut

Radiant cuts were originally created to enhance the brilliance of diamonds but have the same effect for moissanites as well. The radiant cut is fittingly named as it perfectly radiates moissanite’s natural fire and sparkle.

Marquise Cut

The marquise cut is visually similar to the pear cut, but with both ends pointed. This cut elongates and slenders the wearer’s finger, making the stone appear larger. Cuts such as these have enjoyed a huge rise in popularity in recent years.

marquise cut moissanite ring

Different Styles

Moissanite is an incredibly versatile gemstone which lends itself well to almost any style, save for one which specifically calls for a colored gemstone. As such, the style a couple goes for depends entirely on their personal taste.

As touched on above, different cuts offer vastly different styles. For example, heart cut moissanites are perfect for a dainty, extra-romantic setting, while oval cuts are more suited to a vintage look. Long cut moissanites, such as those found in an oval or radiant cut, make the finger look longer and slender, especially when in a thin setting. At the time of writing, large center stones on a thin engagement ring are in fashion.

This goes to show that moissanite can be a perfect addition to a range of styles, whether that be modern or vintage, traditional or innovative. Ben Garelick offers custom ring designs to help you truly find the ring of your dreams.

large moissanite engagement ring

Common Questions About Moissanite

Is Moissanite the Same as a Diamond?

No, moissanite and diamonds are two different gemstones, though they can often be indistinguishable to the naked eye.

Does Moissanite Occur Naturally?

Yes, however naturally occurring moissanite is incredibly rare. The moissanite we use in jewelry is made in controlled laboratory settings.

What even is Moissanite?

Moissanite is silicon carbide (SiC). It was first discovered in 1893 by French chemist Henri Moissan. The mineral form of silicon carbide was named Moissanite after its founder in 1905.

 How Do I Know If Moissanite is Right for Me?

Only you can decide that. However, with the information we now have on moissanite – as well as how it compares to the diamond – it has never been easier to make an informed decision. We have a guide we’ve already put together to answer this very question!

Does Moissanite Cost as Much as a Diamond?

Nope! As a rule of thumb, moissanite costs about a tenth of a diamond.

Is Moissanite as Durable?

Diamond remains the hardest gemstone we have, but moissanite is a close second. Moissanite’s mineral makeup resists oil and dirt better and is less prone to chipping and breaking than the diamond.

In Conclusion

Moissanite is an ethical and cost-effective option for anyone looking into purchasing an engagement ring or any other kind of jewelry. It is a beautiful and brilliant gemstone that rivals (or beats) the diamond in many categories and lends itself well to countless styles and cuts.

Moissanite boasts both tangible and ethical benefits, such as in its brilliance, durability, and versatility, while being lab-produced makes it conflict and exploitation free, as well as being far more sustainable than the diamond.

Ben Garelick has a wide selection of moissanite rings and other pieces produced by a range of world-class jewelers. Call us today at (716) 631-1584, text us at (716) 574-0966, visit us at our Buffalo, NY location or chat with our moissanite experts online 24/7, and see first-hand what makes moissanite such an attractive option.

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