Although it's the most popular diamond alternative today, moissanite has its problems too, like all other gemstones.
In this Learning Guide, I'll talk about some of the issues regarding moissanite stones:
- Will moissanite get cloudy?
- Does moissanite have a grading system?
- Why does moissanite look fake?
What is Moissanite?
The popularity of moissanite gemstones as diamond alternatives have been increasing rapidly. Second to lab created diamonds, moissanite is a popular colorless gemstone alternative to diamond.
Moissanite was discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan, He was working within a crater in Arizona when he discovered the colorless stone. Initially, he thought it was a diamond. Turns out, it was another gemstone altogether. And of course, he named it "Moissanite."
Natural moissanite is believe to have formed in meteorites, thus earning it the nicknames "Space Diamond" or "Stardust".
Why Do People Choose Moissanite Engagement Rings?
Despite this article being all about moissanite problems, there's a lot of positives about owning a moissanite engagement ring. Here are some of the positives about this sparkly stone:
- Moissanite is less expensive than mined diamonds or lab-grown diamonds.
- You can be 100% sure it's conflict-free and ethical. Lab-grown stones aren't mined, so the origin is traceable.
- Producing moissanite in a lab is better for the environment than mining gemstones.
- Moissanite has more fire than a diamond, perfect for those who love to stand out.
- Moissanite is available in larger sizes for affordable prices.
- It's highly resistant to scratches with a 9.25 on Mohs Scale.
Problems with Moissanite Jewelry
Just as with any gemstone, moissanite has its own problems and drawbacks. Are these drawbacks dealbreakers? You be the judge.
1. A Moissanite Ring Doesn't Always Look Colorless
Some companies will sort their moissanite stones into colorless and near colorless grades. However, even the "colorless" or "D" graded moissanite stones can have a tint in natural light. It doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the moissanite stone. It's just one of the unappealing aspects of having a moissanite engagement ring.
Read also: Moissanite vs Lab-Created Diamond
2. Moissanite is Too Sparkly
Just as some people love the brilliance of a moissanite ring, there are those that don't like it. Moissanite's refractive index is higher than a diamond's.
The moissanite brilliance is described most often as a disco ball effect. It is also a double-refractive gemstone, which means it can also look blurry from time to time. The rainbow brilliance of moissanite dancing in the light is too much for those who prefer a subtle sparkle for their engagement ring. Some might even call moissanite tacky or fake. They may also compare it to cubic zirconia, a cheap fake diamond simulant.
3. Moissanite Costs Too Much
A high quality moissanite ring is almost always going to be cheaper than an engagement ring with natural diamonds. But when it comes to other diamond alternatives, moissanite on the market is not the cheapest. Many people still can't afford a moissanite engagement ring.
Other lab-created semi-precious gemstones are more affordable moissanite alternatives, if you're looking for color. Rubies and sapphires are all more affordable as lab-created stones than moissanite. Rubies and sapphires have a comparable durability to moissanite and are some of the hardest gemstones.
The cost of moissanite gems is very wide. There's no real cost per carat, as most of the stone is based on if its colorless. You can find moissanite very cheap on the web, and you can find best quality moissanite rings for a few thousand. There is no quality regulations for these stones, which is why some are able to be sold so cheap.
4. Moissanite Doesn't Have a Real Grading System
For every natural diamond and lab-grown diamond in the diamond industry, there is grading system called the 4Cs. It was implemented by the Gemological Institute of America, also known as the GIA. The GIA is the leading authority on diamonds and gemstones.
The 4Cs of diamond quality focuses on the cut, clarity, color, and carat weight of a diamond.
Moissanite doesn't have an actual grading system. Some retailers may sort them into standards, like Standard, Premium, and Super Premium. Most often, this has to do with the color. Moissanite color grades take their cues from diamond color grades.
In this case, a Standard moissanite would be a faint J-K range. Premium would be near colorless (G-I) and Super Premium would be D-F color grades.
Moissanite stones aren't measured in carats either, so you're likely to see them listed in a millimeter measurements instead of carats like a diamond. Moissanites weigh approximately 10% less than a real diamond.
Colored moissanite is available on the market, but not many are in circulation. Nearly every fine jewelry store that carries moissanite, carries colorless.
5. A Moissanite Stone Isn't Natural
The story about how natural moissanite came to the earth through meteorites is a great origin story. However, virtually none of the moissanite rings in today's jewelry market share in this story. Natural moissanite is extremely rare, found only in meteorites and some upper mantle rocks.
Instead of a romantic love from space story, this stone was created in a lab by scientists. There's no real history or romance in the details. And while this isn't a dealbreaker for a lot of people, some people don't like the idea of man-made gemstones.
Lab-created stones are real gemstones, just with a different origin, cost, and value.
Read also: Moissanite vs Cubic Zirconia
6. Moissanite Has No Real Value
Most jewelry, even diamond rings, don't have great value. They may cost a pretty penny to buy, but the resale value is much less. If that's true for real diamonds, what do you think that means for moissanite rings?
Read also: Do Lab Diamonds Have Resale Value?
Most people aren't picking moissanite rings for resale purposes. I understand that. However, many people think about leaving an heirloom ring to generations below. They hope it will increase in value over the years. Most lab-created gemstones have no intention of increasing value over the years. You could probably get some of what you paid for on a resale marketplace, but it'd be the same idea with a diamond ring too.
7. Moissanites Can Get Cloudy
Unlike natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, moissanites are susceptible to becoming cloudy. A cloudy moissanite engagement ring can be the result of the stone being exposed to different elements.
The layer of film on your moissanite stone can't be removed by cleaning it. Jewelry steam cleaners and ultrasonic cleaners won't do the trick either. You'll need to take a trip to your local jeweler or whomever you purchased your moissanite engagement ring from. If you don't have a warranty that covers wear and tear, you'll have to pay for polishing out of pocket.
Moissanite rings cost less than diamonds, but more than most other diamond alternatives. Not everyone will be able to afford one. Some looking for a less expensive diamond alternative will have to resort to white sapphire or cubic zirconia instead.
Unlike diamonds, it doesn't have a specific standard grading system. It can be very difficult to assess the value of a stone this way. Its messy grading system doesn't make it a good candidate for becoming a valuable gem over time.
At the end of the day, no gemstone is perfect. The same is true for a moissanite ring. There are many great benefits to owning one. Many people own both diamond rings and moissanite rings. There is something to be loved about every stone.
Read also: Best Place to Buy Moissanite Rings