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Supposedly a girl’s best friend, or even “forever”, our culture holds many cliches about diamonds, some of which are more true than others; some which have proven themselves to be absolute nonsense. Mostly derived by marketing campaigners in years gone by, sayings such as these were designed to glorify the diamond industry and make people believe that diamonds were the be-all and end-all of desirable stones for wearing in jewellery.

The result? To this day, in spite of cheaper and far more ethical options being available, people still feel historically pressured into buying diamonds for momentous occasions, such as engagement rings. Free your mind and your wallet by educating yourself on some of the better alternatives to diamonds. And I don’t mean silly backwater cheap knockoffs – I mean alternatives that are excellent jewels in their own right, the king of which is the marvellous moissanite.

A perfect fit for an engagement ring

Moissanites cost much less per weight than diamonds do, which means that you will be able to purchase a far larger rock for the money you spend on it, than you would have with a diamond.

Moissanite also means freedom, not only to those who wish to break free of the enduring entrapment diamonds have had over man for centuries, but also for the environment and the workers who play a role in the process of getting your jewel to you. Because moissanite is lab-produced, you will be making an exploitation-free choice; one that does not rely on a culture of underpaying exploited workers, giving rise to regional conflicts and which destroys the environment. It is simply a result of a clean laboratory process, which you can buy or use without any guilt.

What is it, anyway?

Moissanite was discovered by a French scientist, Henri Moissan, from whom it takes its name, in the late 1800s. Moissanite is derived from the naturally-occurring compound, silicon carbide, which is recreated cost-effectively and easily in a laboratory setup, negating the need for expensive and destructive mining processes. There is currently only one company in the United States that is licensed to distribute authentic moissanite.

The production process

Large silicon carbide crystals are grown in a controlled lab environment, after which they are cut into smaller crystals which are processed and sold as moissanite. Watch out for impostors who create legitimate-looking websites, but who are unable to provide any proof of affiliation with Charles and Colvard, the sole license holder for Moissanite. Moissanites sold in this way are guaranteed fakes, and you will be wasting your money on an inferior product.

Moissanite performs remarkable well in hardness and toughness tests. The Mohs hardness scale rates diamonds at 10, while moissanite weighs in at 9.5 – a very competitive comparison. What does this mean for the consumer? A hard-wearing jewel that is essentially just as hard as diamond, and equally resistant to scratches and damage in the long run. It is a solid investment piece for jewellery, and holds its own in both appearance and performance.