• Cara-Lee Compton

Moissanites, a modern-day marvel

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but moissanites might just be the newfound bestie. Moissanites are anything but ‘fake diamonds’. The first natural moissanites were discovered in the early 1890’s by scientist Henri Moissan in a meteor crater in the United States. In its natural form, moissanite, a true gemstone composed of silicone carbide, does not appear in large enough quantities to be mined, and so it took years to perfect the gem’s composition in laboratories.

Stella Johannesburg, online moissanite fine jewellery company

What is the difference between a Moissanite and a Diamond?

Diamonds are popular because they are beautiful and shiny – and so are moissanites. Moissanites actually emit more of those beautiful ‘rainbow flashes’ than diamonds do. Its brilliance, the way that light reflects from the interior of the gemstone, does not shy away from that of a diamond, and although it is a bit different, it is actually more brilliant than a diamond!

Durability is just as important. While diamonds are the hardest gemstone, measuring a 10/10 on the Moh scale of hardness, moissanite is a close second at 9.25, meaning your gemstone won’t chip, scratch or dull like other white gemstones or cheap diamond replicas.

Another very important factor to consider when shopping for some sparkle, is the sourcing of the stone. Moissanites are environmentally friendly in every way because of how they are created and sourced. Diamonds have always had controversy surrounding its sources and its environmental impact, as well as social and political factors, will always play a role when considering diamonds.

Finally, let’s talk money. Buying a ring is no cheap thing. Fortunately, moissanites that compare in size with diamonds, are considerably lower in prices. Overall, moissanites are an appealing option, bearing in mind its brilliance, eco-friendliness and what you pay for it.

What about the value over the long run?

Ika van Wyk, founder of Stella Johannesburg, an innovative online moissanite, fine jewellery company answers the question of how the value of a moissanite will compare to that of a diamond and points out the mark-ups in the diamond industry, saying: “Firstly, diamonds have for a long time lost their attraction as an investment item, if you buy a diamond today at normal retail price, it's unlikely that you'll be able to resell it for more than its retail price at the time of selling it. This is because diamonds are not rare and scarce, and they are very easily accessed. Rarity and scarcity are drivers of price.”

“Moissanites are popular for the same reasons as diamonds, for their beauty and durability, and the cost is much lower because it costs much less to produce it”, says Ika. She also suggests that, as with any fine jewellery, to have the piece valuated every two years for insurance purposes and, most importantly, have it insured!

Now, Ika compares a 1ct diamond ring, that is marked off from R409 990 to R204 995, with a 1.5ct moissanite ring with a very similar design priced at R21 450, and says the following: “Both will last equally long and are equally beautiful. You must wonder how a R400 000 ring can be discounted by R200 000 in the first place? It gives you an idea of the crazy retail mark-ups on diamonds and diamond jewellery. It certainly raises suspicions with companies can offer such huge discounts to begin with.”

She gives the following advice if you are considering buying diamonds: “If you want to purchase diamonds as an investment specifically, please do some research to see what the real appreciation is, and not the perceived value. As a jeweller I've never seen someone with a diamond sell it at a profitable price, because jewellers and traders can buy them at trade rates which can be up to 50% lower than retail prices, which is what you'd be reselling it for. However, if you’re buying diamonds out of personal preference, then it’s best to buy from a reputable jeweller to make sure you know what you get. In that case, don’t think of your purchase as an investment that will appreciate over time.”

The purpose of this is not to make diamonds the bad guys of bling, but to inform consumers of what they are buying, what quality alternatives are available to them, and what to consider when doing so. There is a new kid on the block to consider this year when it comes to buying an engagement ring, or maybe some earrings, a graduation gift or something shiny for Christmas, and it's called moissanite!

Go check out Stella Johannesburg website for some beautiful everyday and statement pieces.