Updated: Jun 6
Moissanite sells for about a tenth of what diamonds do but the two gems have strikingly similar appearance and durability. Moissanite was originally discovered in its natural form in the late 19th century by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Henri Moissan at an Arizona meteorite strike site called Canyon Diablo – Devil’s Canyon. Moissan originally mistaken the moissanite fragments for diamonds, but later fell under the new rock’s spell and devoted his life to recreating it.
For some, moissanite is less morally tainted given the controversies that surround the diamond industry. So-called blood diamonds inspired the 2006 political war thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which highlighted the dark side of the world’s most successfully branded gem. In previous decades couples were told they must have a certain-sized diamond that consumed a certain percentage of their salary. Now, picking a ring is about making a meaningful purchase that aligns with your values and goals. The current generation cares less about societal pressure and more about having money left for travel and other experiences. Plus, we care about the impact our purchases have on the Earth. Moissanite is gorgeous, and its story is also one of responsibility that fits perfectly with the values of this generation.
Since moissanite is developed in a controlled environment, i.e. man-made in a laboratory, there’s no mining necessary. Creating these gems is not harmful to the earth and avoids any issues with conflict trade. Compared with natural gemstones, moissanite’s origins are both traceable and completely eco-friendly, so you can admire your beautiful new bling, and feel good knowing exactly where it comes from. Valeria’s Secret goes one step further to ensure peace of mind as all our pieces of jewellery are made from recycled precious metals (14K and 18K solid gold and platinum).
Moissanite is a unique gem with its own set of chemical and optical properties that is advertised as exhibiting more fire and brilliance than any other gemstone. It is stated that on the Brilliance Refractive Index, moissanite is more brilliant than diamond, ranging from 2.65-2.69 (diamond reaches 2.42 on the scale) and that moissanite's fire dispersion is over 4x greater than diamond. However, it is useful to know that this difference in brilliance is not strikingly noticeable by the naked eye, it's rather a way of marketing the gem. The truth is that the brilliance itself looks slightly different. Brilliance of moissanite is more spread over the stone, diamond's fire, on the other hand, appears to be more intense and coming from within the gem rather than on the surface. Because of this, one looking for a perfect diamond substitute may not find it looking exactly the same. However, others may prefer moissanites' brilliance with more spots of fire. A clear well-cut colourless moissanite will indeed look much better and sparklier than an included, poorly cut or not colourless diamond. It is important to mention though, that many people will probably not notice any difference at all in the brilliance or appearance of diamond vs moissanite. Moissanites may indeed look very similar to diamonds depending on their quality, size, colour and setting, but they may also look noticeably different under some circumstances. The difference is more obvious in daylight far from direct sunlight or in incandescent lighting. It is also more noticeable when stones are very small (smaller than 3mm) or very big (bigger than 8mm). However, moissanite is a gem in its own right which may look superb if the size of the stone and the setting are chosen wisely.
Another marketed property of moissanite is its hardness. On the Mohs hardness scale moissanite comes in second to diamond, measuring at 9.25, whereas diamond measures at 10. Moissanite's durability is therefore really good, slightly better than sapphire and ruby and meaning it will survive daily wear and tear. All the beauty of colourless gems is in their brilliance and transparency, and even diamonds get dull overtime due to their tendency to chip, as a result of daily wear. So, objectively speaking, one cannot assume moissanite or diamond will last forever without being recut or repolished at some point, however, that it is true that they are both the hardest and most durable gems that will last for generations.