It is said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. They are one of the most beautiful and most expensive jewels available today. However, there may be a gem that could possibly take it’s place. In the late 1990’s, moissanite came on the scene and has created quite a stir throughout the entire jewelry world. What is this jewel and how does it compare to fine diamonds? Let’s take a look at the differences.
The word diamond is derived from the Greek word “Adamas”, which means indestructible. Formed deep within the earth and under extreme conditions, the first delivery of diamonds occurred 2.5 billion years ago, with the most recent being 45 million years. Made up of carbon atoms, this enduring and everlasting stone is the hardest substance on earth. Considering the amount of time and energy it takes to produce a single stone, it’s no wonder these gems are highly coveted. There are 4 characteristics that determine the beauty and worth of a diamond and they are known as the 4 C’s.
- Cut – Refers to a gemstone’s geometric proportions and how it has been cut. When a stone is cut, facets are created, which bring out it’s brilliance. Additionally, they are cut to primarily retain weight and this is why you see a variety of cuts all in the same diamond shape. The grading system used to determine the cut of a stone are ideal, very good, good, fair and poor.
- Color – Fine diamonds can range from colorless (white) to light yellow. The less color a stone has, the more valuable it is. This is because off white gemstones absorb light, which maximizes brilliance. The color scale runs from D to Z, with D being the most rare and ends with Z.
- Clarity – This is the measurement of a diamond’s flaws. This can include blemishes (external) and inclusions (internal) imperfections. Clarity levels range from flawless, very very slight (VVS), very slight (VS) and slightly included (SI).
- Carat – This term is used to express the weight of a diamond. 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams.
Discovered in 1893 by Noble Prize winner Dr. Ferdinand Henri Moissan, silicon carbide was found in rock samples from a meteor crater in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. The trade name moissanite was given in honor of Moissan later on in his life. Because the natural mineral is incredibly scarce, scientists have been trying to recreate silicon carbide for years. In 1995, Cree Inc (a corporation that manufactures semiconducting materials and devices) partnered with Charles & Covard to develop a way to produce large gem quality crystals which can be faceted into jewels with fire and brilliance. In 1998, lab created moissanite made it’s official debut. To the untrained eye, it is almost impossible to differentiate between fine diamonds and moissanite. However, it does have it’s differences.
- Cut – Moissantie stones are cut to exact angles and proportions through a method of computer modelling. As a result, a grading scale is not necessary since they are designed specifically to maximize brilliance. Unlike fine diamonds, which are isometric, moissanite is hexagonal, which means it is doubly refractive. Upon closer inspection, the gemstone will show double facet edges, whereas a diamond’s cut edges are singular in appearance.
- Color – These stones additionally can not be graded using the standard GIA color grading scale. They have a slightly darker color, which resemble I-K colored diamonds. In terms of tint, they can be off white to a very pale yellow to greenish in hue.
- Clarity – There is no variation of clarity in moissanite. For the purpose of comparison to natural diamonds, they are equivalent to a VS clarity stone.
- Carat – Moissanite gravity is about 13 percent lower than diamonds, and since most jewelry is defined by carat weight, Charles & Covard also provide a corresponding millimeter size that is equal to diamond weight. Moissanite has a gravity of 3.2 grams per cubic centimeter, therefore a 6.5 mm stone equals approximately 0.87 carats.
When these factors are all taken into consideration, fine diamonds and moissanite appear almost identical. Both are clear stones that emit a brilliant fire. So which one is a better buy? When it comes down to it, it’s really a matter of individual choice.