They say diamonds are forever, but the arrival of moissanite challenges the truth behind this adage.
Sparkly and highly valuable, there was a time when diamond engagement rings were all the rage. In the past, the rule of thumb when engagement band-shopping was to spend a full three months’ salary on the ring.
As Millennial consumers penetrated the market and priorities shifted, however, this rule fell out of favor. Modern consumers started looking for cheaper, more sustainable alternatives, slowly pushing diamonds to the background.
Beautiful and made valuable by their long heritage, these gems may be hewn from the earth, but they are also marked by ethical and environmental issues. With the more discerning Millennial market, diamonds have fallen out of favor. Buyers are now more likely to be choosing a moissanite engagement ring.
Moissanite is a laboratory-created stone that can rival diamonds when it comes to luster. Colloquially known as “space diamonds,” chemist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Henri Moissan discovered them in the wake of a meteorite crash in 1893, initially mistaking them for diamond particles. The stone’s properties are similar to diamonds, especially in terms of their hardness and reflective qualities, but they retail at a fraction of the price.
Moissan eventually discovered that the substance was silicon carbide, and he set out to tap into the lucrative potential of recreating it in a lab.
The Moissanite Appeal
Today, technicians create moissanite by placing a small diamond seed in a carbon-rich environment, letting it grow atom by atom, and then layer-by-layer. Given their production conditions, companies that make these cultured diamonds market them as one hundred percent conflict free. The moissanite production process, according to its makers, is also significantly better at keeping nature’s best interests at heart.
Given moissanite’s diamond-like appeal and its cruelty-free, environmentally-friendly creation process, it has become popular among Millennial brides-to-be. Other popular alternatives to diamonds for engagement rings include colored stones such as rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.