Diamonds are well known as the undisputed king of engagement and wedding rings. Perhaps only slightly less well known is the often dark and exploitive history of the stone which you might already be wearing. Most people are aware that diamonds often originate from war-torn countries, where adults and children are often exploited to produce blood diamonds, which go on to finance all sorts of nefarious industries, not to mention the impact that diamond mines can have on the environment. Coupled with the fact that it’s nearly impossible to identify the true source of a diamond, it’s basically impossible to hand on heart declare that your diamond ring was ethically sourced and not mined by an 8-year-old forced to spend hours toiling in a catastrophically unsafe mine.
Diamond vs Moissanite
DeBeers have managed to not only perform a miracle of marketing, but they have also created a near impenetrable monopoly on diamonds. There is already so much information on the internet as to why diamonds are a ripoff and why even diamonds that have been ethically sourced rarely are. Check out this video which shows how one of the biggest suppliers of ethical diamonds actually has no idea where their stones originate from. Do you really want to support an industry that has artificially inflated prices and has blood on its hands?
So, what’s the answer? No other gem even comes close to a diamonds clarity, brilliance, fire or hardness, right? There are of course many alternatives to mined diamond, including lab created diamonds, but we’re here to talk about a very little know gemstone that hands down kicks diamonds butt in nearly every way. This gem is called a moissanite.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite is an extremely rare gemstone which was first discovered by Henri Moissan in 1893. Henri was surveying a meteor crater near Arizona when he came across rock samples which he at first thought contained diamond crystals, it wasn’t until 1904 that further analysis proved that the crystals were, in fact, a new type of gemstone (silicon carbide). Thus moissanite was born. Some years later advances in analysis techniques showed that the moissanite in Henri’s crater wasn't formed during any natural processes on earth, or when the meteorite impacted earth, these mysterious gemstones didn’t even originate from our solar system. These gems are quite literally gifts from the stars, or giant branch stars to be precise.
To this day moissanite is only very rarely found in the wild, making it one of the hardest to find gemstones around. However, lab-produced moissanite has been produced consistently and efficiently for a number of decades now, and it’s an amazing gemstone.
While most diamond alternatives are often poor imitations of the real thing, normally displaying characteristics that are similar to diamonds, but just not quite as good. Take Cubic Zirconia, for example, it’s Refractive Index, Dispersion and Luster are less than Diamond. However, the opposite is true of moissanite, which exceeds diamond in every single one of these criteria, it’s more refractive (brilliance/sparkle), it has better lustre (shine) and it has a higher dispersion (fire). And like a diamond, it’s incredibly durable, with a nearly unparalleled hardness. Check out the chart below which illustrates these points brilliantly.
|Brilliance Refraction Index (RI)||Fire Dispersion||Hardness Mohs Scale||Toughness|
|MOISSANITE: 2.65-2.69||MOISSANITE: 0.104||MOISSANITE: 9.25||MOISSANITE: EXCELLENT|
|DIAMOND: 2.42||DIAMOND: 0.044||DIAMOND: 10||DIAMOND: EXCELLENT|
|RUBY: 1.77||RUBY: 0.018||RUBY: 9||RUBY: EXCELLENT|
|SAPPHIRE: 1.77||SAPPHIRE: 0.018||SAPPHIRE: 9||SAPPHIRE: EXCELLENT**|
|EMERALD: 1.58||EMERALD: 0.014||EMERALD: 7.5||EMERALD: GOOD TO POOR|
One of the biggest appeals of moissanite vs diamond is the fact that it can be manufactured efficiently and reliably in a laboratory. The end result is a flawless and brilliant gemstone which costs roughly 10% of the equivalently sized diamond.
For example, a 1.0ct diamond white gold solitaire ring will cost between £3500 and £8000, depending on the diamond characteristics and setting. A 1.0ct perfectly formed moissanite white gold ring will cost between £400 and £1000. That’s an incredible saving, one which can make the difference between years of debt, a luxury honeymoon or the beginnings of a deposit on a house. Why would anyone want to buy anything else?
20 Reasons Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying a Diamond Ring
1. Diamond Engagement Rings are a Marketing Ploy
The tradition that dictates that you must have a diamond engagement ring in order to propose doesn’t ark back to some olden day tradition. The admittedly brilliant concept was made popular during the 20th century by De Beers, which perhaps unsurprisingly controlled in excess of 90% of the operational African diamond mines.
2. Diamonds Are Not As Rare As You Might Think
One of the ways we’re manipulated into believing diamonds are worth a lot is by the fact that they are incredibly rare. In actual fact, they are one of the most common gemstones available on earth.
3. They Don’t Increase In Value Like Other Assets
Diamonds are sometimes portrayed as a sort of investment, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you ever try and sell a diamond ring yourself, you’ll be lucky get around a third of its original value.
4. They Are Overpriced
There’s a persistent myth that you need to spend at the very least 2 to 3 months salary on a diamond engagement ring, which is an incredibly large amount of money to fork over for a ring. If you do, you might be surprised to hear that the diamond may have been marked up between 200% – 500%. So that £6000 ring you bought might have cost the jeweller £1000.
5. Synthetic Diamonds are Superior in Many Ways
Diamonds that have been created in a lab are just as good as mined diamonds but are also substantially cheaper. A synthetic stone is typically between 20% – 40% cheaper than a mined diamond, and they are physically and chemically identical.
6. Their Quality Is Often Exaggerated
A diamonds value/quality is based on the 4 C’s, cut, clarity, colour and carats, but you shouldn’t necessarily trust what the jeweller tells you. In 2014, a study found that the European Gemological Laboratory was consistently misrepresenting the qualities of the stones that passed through its walls to be graded.
7. An Expensive Diamond Can Spell Catastrophe For Your Marriage
Spending a princely sum on a diamond does not necessarily translate into a lifetime of wedding bliss. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Emory University discovered a correlation between marriage happiness and engagement ring price, generally speaking, couples that opted for a cheaper ring tended to have happier and longer lasting marriages.
8. You Really Can’t Tell Where They Came From
While the stones might be beautiful, the stories behind them are often appalling. Some companies have attempted to implement schemes where they guarantee ethically sourced diamonds to assure buyers that they are purchasing a conflict-free diamond. But the truth is that it’s near enough impossible to accurately trace a diamondback its roots. Several outstanding journalistic articles have come out to expose this deception, but sadly the practice is still popular.
9. The Demand Can Bring Out The Worse In People
A large proportion of the diamonds originating from Africa are unregistered, which means they are ripe targets for smugglers, some of whom are in a desperate situation. In 2012, the South African police force arrested a smuggler who had swallowed close to £1.8 million in diamonds in a failed attempt to smuggle them out of the country.
10. Many Communities Associated With Mining Are Exploited
A study by Manchester University found that De Beers avoided paying taxes in many of the countries where its diamonds are mined. These avoidance schemes directly impact some of the poorest nations on earth, where even a small amount of money can have a significant effect on communities.
11. Many Diamonds Are Mined Using Slave Labor
Diamond mining is hard, dangerous work, and modern day slaves are exploited in many countries to perform this work. Sierra Leone and Angola are both known for using forced labour to mine diamonds.
12. Children Are Exploited
It’s not just adults that are forced into mining. Children are also often basically slave labourers, either forced to work in the mines themselves or in the processing of stones. Liberia, Zimbabwe and some parts of India are all guilty of this practice.
13. Mine Workers Are Under Paid
Any worker that voluntarily enters the mining world won’t necessarily be paid a fair wage. A mine work in Zimbabwe will typically earn around £180 a month.
14. Many Workers Live In Horrendous Conditions
Meager wages aside, a diamond miner will often be without access to any health care or insurance. If they are involved in an accident while working they can expect to receive no compensation. Basic amenities such as clean water and plumbing are not guaranteed.
15. Physical Abuse Is Commonplace
Physical violence, which is a frequent occurrence is some mining camps, is often a direct result of workers being unable or unwilling to pay bribes to soldiers. A Daily Mail article detailed firsthand accounts of miners being beaten and tortured in mines in Angola.
16. STD’s Are An Epidemic Within Mining Communities
Sex trafficking has partially lead to an incredibly high rate of HIV and other forms of sexually transmitted disease within mining camps. In one study of workers in India found that more than 10% of miners had an STD.
17. Diamond Miners Face A Range Of Health Problems
Working in a diamond mine can pose other health problems beyond contracting an STD. One study of diamond miners in South Africa found a significant link between mining and asbestos-like respiratory symptoms.
18. Diamonds Contribute To Wars
As popularized in the 2006 film ‘blood diamonds’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, mining for illegal stones has a direct correlation to wars all over the world. Amnesty International has estimated that the wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo have claimed the lives of 3.7 million, at the center of which is a thriving trade in ‘blood diamonds’.
19. Corruption In Diamond Mining Countries Is Widespread
The worldwide demand for diamonds continues to drive up prices, and in some instances it’s the corruption at the top of the government which is reaping the rewards. A report delivered in 2012 estimated that $2 billion worth of diamonds has been diverted directly into the pockets of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.
20. Diamond Mining Wrecks The Environment
The various mining and processing methods used when mining for diamonds can have a long-lasting and devastating effect on the local environment. Diamond mining causes toxic air and water pollution and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
8 Reasons Why Moissanite is Superior to Diamond
1. Engagement / Wedding Rings Are Not An Investment
Weddings rings can be priceless in terms of sentimental value, but they are not an investment. A wedding or engagement ring needs to do two things, look pretty and symbolize the commitment two people have made to each other.
The wise thing to do is buy the best quality ring that meets those two requirements at the best possible price. The quality, durability and price point of moissanite makes it an incredibly attractive option.
2. Every Moissanite Gem Is Near Perfect
As the processes that go into making a moissanite can be tightly controlled and monitored in a laboratory setting, it’s far easier to carry out quality control. So, rather than selling everything that has been mined, even if they are far from perfect, any flaws in moissanite can be readily identified and discarded. For the purchaser, it means you’ll end up with a far superior stone for much less money.
3. Spending Less On Stone Allows For More To Be Spent On The Perfect Setting
After noticing the stone, the setting is the next thing that draws peoples eyes. If you’ve spent less money on purchasing an amazing stone you suddenly have far more options available to you for purchasing a perfect setting. Side stone, engraving and personalized accents can now all be considered to truly make an amazing ring.
4. You Won’t Begin Your Married Life With Unhealthy Debt
One of the biggest contributors to an unhappy marriage is financial worries and arguments, which can occasionally even lead to divorce. It makes an incredible amount of sense to start your married life together with as little debt as possible. Having the financial freedom to create an emergency fund, to save for a luxury purchase or to save for a rainy day is incredibly liberating. This is much easier to accomplish if you don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds every month to the financial institution that lent you the money to buy a diamond ring.
5. As Moissanite Is So Affordable, You Can Probably Pay By Cash
If you plan your purchase ahead of time, you’ll likely be able to pay for your ring with the balance in your account or by cash, which will save you any credit charges, 19% APR is never fun.
6. Other People Will Probably Think It’s A Diamond
I’m not one to advocate passing one thing off as another, but the reality is that most people assume that an engagement ring is a diamond ring, so anyone that sees your fiancés stunning moissanite ring will assume it’s a diamond. In all likelihood, it’s probably not worth your time explaining that it’s not, unless of course they specifically ask what kind of gemstone it is, which is never likely to happen. I wouldn’t suggest passing it off as a diamond to your future wife, honesty is an important trait.
7. You Can Be Guaranteed That Your Purchase Isn’t Inadvertently Financing An African Warlord
Sleep with a clear conscience – no innocent children, men or women were killed in order to create your engagement ring.
8. You Get Far More For Your Money
With a fixed budget, you so much more creative freedom to get the perfect ring with moissanite than you’d ever have with a diamond of the same price. Would you like to get a 2-carat solitaire the size of a grape? Go for it! A custom designed setting is also very affordable. Design the perfect ring the match your fiancés style and tastes! Your bride to be will likely love the fact that you put so much effort into creating the perfect ring.
Take a look at moissanite yourself
In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re massive fans of moissanite and not just because we sell some on our site, we truly believe that moissanite needs to claim its spot as the number one choice for engagement and wedding rings. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at some of the stunning options we’ve included in this page, some are sold by us and in the interest of being impartial, some are sold by our competitors. I can almost guarantee you’ll love moissanite as much as we do.
Good luck in your search for the perfect engagement/wedding ring and we hope you have a very happy life together.