A while ago, we created a pair of moissanite (pronounced moys-uh-nite) earrings that really intrigued us here at HK - the stones looked so much like a diamond and even passed on the diamond tester, and yet were a different man made stone which is the closest equivalent to a diamond ever created.
Naturally occurring moissanite was found by Henri Moissan in a meteorite crater in 1893 in Arizona. At first he thought these crystals were in fact diamonds, but later in 1904 he identified them as silicon carbide. Moissanite is incredibly rare and has only been discovered in a small number of places - usually found as inclusions inside other materials and around meteorite craters in minute sizes, consequently this material is incredibly valuable. Therefore all moissanite jewellery uses synthetic stones made in a lab which often have even greater fire and brilliance than a diamond of the same size.
When talking about the brilliance of a stone, you refer to the refractive index which measures the amount of light entering the stone that is then reflected back to the eye. As all moissanite stones are precision cut, they give a consistent brilliance, dispersing a beautiful rainbow effect which can be up to twice as effective as a diamond and many times greater than a ruby or sapphire. Moissanite also has a fantastic luster which refers to the quality of reflected light from the surface of the stone. Moissanite's luster is measured at 20.4% in comparison to a diamonds luster of 17.2%.
If you chose a moissanite for your ring, not only would you get an incredibly sparkly stone that would out shimmer any equivalent diamond, you would also get a larger stone for your money! To illustrate this for you, this exact same design but with an approximately 5mm H SI brilliant cut diamond of the same size would increase the price of the set from £1925.83 to £3047.95 including VAT in the same 9ct white gold.
Diamonds are a fantastic option for an engagement ring because they are so hard wearing, being top of the Mohs scale of hardness that we refer to when talking about the hardness of gemstones in comparison to each other. Moissanite comes in at 9.25 on the Mohs scale, with sapphires and rubies being 9, all of which are considered excellent stones to be worn every day. Of course you can chip even a diamond so care must be taken with all gemstones, but it is worth bearing in mind the hardness and brittleness of the stone you choose to have a ring you want to wear every day. For example, emeralds may be 7.5 on the Mohs scale, but are incredibly brittle so would be better suited in earrings, a brooch or a pendant rather than a ring or bracelet that could potentially take more knocks.
Hopefully this has given you some background information on this interesting stone that may inspire you to consider it for your own commission!