Your Ultimate Guide To Moissanite

What is Moissanite

Moissanite is a rare and precious gemstone made of silicon carbide that works as a beautiful alternative to the traditional mined diamond engagement ring, and is a wonderful option in its own right.

Both sustainable and ethical, moissanite is lab grown and so has nowhere near the same carbon footprint or human impact as mining does. In fact, moissanite can provide you with a highly durable ring that has its own unique radiance. Here at Lily Arkwright we specialise in moissanite, bringing you excellent engagement rings that are a mark of true British craftsmanship.

Where Does Moissanite Come From

A special relationship deserves a special gemstone, nearly all moissanite today is lab grown.Moissanite is naturally occurring and rarer than diamonds, but only occurs in very small quantities. First discovered in a meteorite crater in Arizona, United States by acclaimed Nobel prize winner doctor Henri Moissan (the gem's namesake) in 1893, it earned the title ‘space gemstone’. It wasn't until over a hundred years later when scientists successfully recreated an innovative moissanite laboratory growing process, and shortly after Charles and Colvard produced the first commercial quality lab grown moissanite gemstones.Charles & Colvard skilled laboratory technicians recreate the natural conditions and pressures needed for moissanite to form naturally to create a physically identical gemstone to that of a naturally occurring moissanite.It takes up to three months for a skilled specialist to meticulously create a single gem, post production each stone undergoes a stringent process for testing of quality, cut and purity before being shipped to our workshop for setting.Nearly all moissanite stones are lab grown under strict conditions. We are proud to support the ethical trade of precious metals and gemstones, Lily Arkwright believes all gemstones should be mined sustainably and without conflict.

How is Moissanite Grown

Moissanite occurs naturally in the earth, however it only does so in minute quantities. In order to grow any under laboratory conditions, lab technicians must mimic the conditions that cause it to appear in nature.

Moissanite is made through a process called thermal decomposition, which happens when a substance is heated and reaches a state where it can chemically decompose. In the case of moissanite this substance is Methylsilane, a colourless gas at room temperature that at the right extreme temperature conditions breaks down into moissanite. This method is overlooked by a team of experts and closely monitored to track its progress. When large single crystals of moissanite have formed, industrial-grade diamond chips are used to cut and polish the stones whilst they are spun around using turntable-like machines.

The major benefit of a lab grown gemstones is that you can have something which is compositionally exactly the same as something formed in the earth billions of years ago, yet without any of the negative side effects mining can cause.

Moissanite Appearance

Moissanite and diamonds are very similar to look at and almost impossible to tell apart when compared side by side, however, contrary to popular belief moissanite is not a diamond substitute and is very much its own gemstone. It has a distinctive colour sparkle due to it being more refractive than diamond. The refractive index of a material refers to the speed at which light can travel through it, and moissanite’s chemical structure means that it can slow down and bend the light entering it much better than other minerals, making it give off an almost rainbow-like effect. Moissanite is a wonderful alternative as a colourless stone, and due to its optical properties displays a remarkable fieriness.

Durability and Weight

The mohs scale of hardness is a measurement that tests the scratch resistance of a mineral, diamond scores a 10 as the hardest material on the planet and in comparison moissanite scores a 9.25. Despite being slightly lower than diamond, this is still a very high score and means that any moissanite engagement ring works fantastically as a piece of jewellery to be worn everyday. Any engagement ring set with moissanite would last a lifetime.

As moissanite and diamond have different compositions, they also have different comparative weights. Moissanite is around 10% lighter than diamond. As carat is a measurement of the weight of a stone, not the size (as it is often perceived to be), a 1ct ideal round cut diamond measures 6.5mm in diameter whereas the same diameter in moissanite would be 0.88ct. Take a look at the chart to see a side by side comparison between diamond carat weights and the equivalent moissanite weight.

How is Moissanite graded

Moissanite is graded in a similar way to diamonds using the 4C’s; colour, cut, clarity and carat.The colour scale begins at D and ends at Z, with all ranges offered by Lily Arkwright coming in two colour grades, D-F which is classified as colourless (with only their brightnesses telling them apart), and G-I classified as near-colourless. This latter range has a slight colour difference but it is still almost imperceptible.The cut is another measure by which quality can be evaluated, and is determined by how well the stone is proportioned. When referring to the cut, it is not the overall shape that is being referenced but rather the ideal set of ratios for that particular shape. For instance take one of our most popular cuts, the brilliant round, which has an optimal number of 58 facets, all of these must be correctly proportioned in order for the stone to be deemed ideal. When these ratios are inaccurate, the way that the stone reflects light can be disrupted causing leaks that drastically affect how it sparkles, ending up with lacklustre stone. When dealing with mined diamonds, if a rough stone is irregular, cutters can make concessions that create a cheaper diamond with a dull appearance. This is done by cutting the final gemstone either too deep or, as is more often the case, too shallow. All moissanite within the Forever One range and the Lily Arkwright Moissanite range, has been ideally cut and meticulously faceted in order to create maximum brilliance and fire.Charles and Colvard judge the clarity of a moissanite gemstone by employing trained specialists who, using a 10x jeweler’s loupe, decide whether the quality is of an impeccable standard. Clarity is graded by the number of imperfections that are present within a stone that may impede optical performance. These marks on the inside of a gemstone are called inclusions and when there are a lot of them, they can seriously tarnish the overall look.

The majority of moissanite and diamonds will have tiny inclusions present within, but these are often invisible to the naked eye.

Is Moissanite Sustainable

One of the major benefits of purchasing moissanite is that it does not have the same human impact as mined diamonds. Unfortunately, due to the nature of mined diamonds there is often a human cost involved, as some mines employ workers in unsafe conditions. The Kimberley Process is a certification scheme that was started to try and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream diamond market. Whilst this has been a huge help in providing safeguarding practices and in making sure that the mining of diamonds is not financing harmful groups, there has been some dispute over its efficacy. It is also worth noting that not all diamonds have been mined in accordance with this process and that it only follows diamonds up until they are cut, after which they are no longer officially traced. As moissanite is produced in the lab there is no need for any mining at all, cutting out any such harmful practices.

The impacts of diamond mining on the planet versus the minimal impact of lab grown moissanite is another big advantage. Mining can cause a massive reduction in biodiversity, can cause soil erosion and can lead to the contamination of water sources, whereby minerals from the mined rocks seep into water supplies. For every carat of mined diamond approximately 80 tonnes of earth are moved, and in 2018 alone there were roughly 148 million carats mined. In India, diamond mines have been shown to put further pressure on endangered tiger species, and in 2016 The Wall Street Journal reported that a major diamond company had killed over 18,000 fish whilst draining a lake in Canada which was to be used for diamond mining. Moissanite does not require mining and so has a carbon footprint a fraction of the size.

Traceable

Mined diamonds are notoriously difficult to trace as there are so many different steps on their journeys, that transparency can often be lost. It is also quite common practice for old diamond jewellery to be reset, making the tracing of diamonds again more difficult. All our moissanite is produced in the lab and comes fully certified, so our customer’s know exactly where their precious stone has come from.

Common Myths about Moissanite

All moissanite has a colour tint: when the gemstone was first manufactured there was a marginal yellowish or greyish hue but this is no longer the case.

Moissanite is not durable: moissanite is actually the third hardest mineral on the planet and is often used in manufacturing (much like diamond) because of this. It makes for an excellent engagement ring because of these enduring properties as a hard-wearing gemstone suitable for everyday use.

Moissanite turns cloudy over time: unlike cubic zirconia, a diamond simulant that turns cloudy over time, moissanite does not and remains crystal clear.

Moissanite Rings

Wedding Ring S925 Silver Moissanite R6472-Grdeer
$168.00 USD
$168.00 USD
Anniversary Gift Straight Arm Four Prong Moissanite Ring-Grdeer
From $108.00 USD
From $108.00 USD
Valentine's Day Gift S925 Silver 1CT Moissanite Ring-Grdeer
From $143.00 USD
From $143.00 USD
February 2024 Stylish Alexandrite Rose Flower Ring-Grdeer
$113.00 USD
$113.00 USD
New in February 2024 Simple Alexandrite Ring-Grdeer
$119.00 USD
$119.00 USD
New Luxury Alexandrite Ring in February 2024-Grdeer
$186.00 USD
$186.00 USD
Mesh Fashion Popular S925 Sterling Silver Ring-Grdeer
$127.00 USD
$127.00 USD
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