Moissanite in South Africa

Using moissanite as viable alternative to a diamond

What is moissanite?

Moissanite is a crystal mineral form of silicone carbide, which does exist in nature, yet it is not native to Earth. It was first discovered in a meteorite by the French scientist Henri Moissan in the distant 1893, and subsequently named after him. It is correct to say that moissanite came to Earth from the stars. The stone was eventually synthesized and after many years of perfecting, offered as a stone of its own merit in the jewellery market worldwide. All the moissanites on the market today are man-made, and don’t exist naturally on Earth. 

Why moissanite?

Moissanite looks like diamond, but the trained eye will notice that the dispersion (commonly known as fire) is stronger than it is usually in a diamond. People who see moissanite for the first time are astonished by the intense sparkle and liveliness of this stone. This “fire” is not evident in most pictures, this is why I recommend viewing the actual stone, which can be easily arranged. (083 667 7896)

Moissanite is almost as hard and durable as a diamond. The hardness of moissanite on the Mohs scale is 9.25, leaving behind the sapphire and ruby with 9 and second only to the diamond, standing at 10. The only substance that can scratch the moissanite is a diamond. Sandpaper for example will not leave any trace on the moissanite’s surface, no mater how hard we rub.

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Diamond Moissanite
Composition: CarbonComposition: Silicon carbide
Hardness: 10Hardness: 9.25

Moissanite is affordable. I wouldn’t say that the moissanite is a cheap stone since it is more expensive than many natural gemstones, yet compared to the diamond, it costs a fraction. The lower cost allows allocating of one’s budget into larger size stones, impressive looking designer pieces and even use platinum, a statement of its own, for the setting. Below you you will find a table with some prices to compare. You can also find additional information here 

Moissanites are always with excellent or ideal cut grade since the notion of retaining maximum weight does not apply in this case. All moissanites I offer are colour D,E or F with lab certificates and most of the stones have laser inscribed ID number for added security.

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Points of reason

I’ve been in the jewellery industry for more than 30 years making mostly diamond rings for South African customers. In the early nineties the average size of a diamond, set in an engagement ring was 0.80ct to a carat, with average quality H-Vs. These were the stones the jewellers used as a starting point of their offer. 30 years later such stones are way out of reach for most young South Africans. The starting size dropped to 0.40-0.50ct with qualities seldom exceeding J-Si. The devaluation of the SA rand against major currencies, together with shrinking economy and ever rising prices had grave impact on the local jewellery industry. For less than 30 years, the diamond ring the average earner can afford shrunk to the unimpressive 0.40ct (4.6-4.7mm) average quality diamond, set in equally unimpressive 9k solitaire.

Now, let us regress and redefine what is the purpose of a piece of jewellery and the engagement ring in particular. Its main (if not only) purpose is to adorn, hence, to be beautiful. The marketing pitch that diamonds have investment value is a half-truth. Investment diamonds are stones with top colour and clarity with size well over 2ct. These are stones with a price tag near a million rand and for 30 years I never sold one. Even an expensive 1ct diamond which is a size seldom sold in South Africa doesn’t have viable appreciation. Leaving the investment part behind, we can concentrate on the only purpose left, and this is the pride of owning an astonishingly beautiful piece of jewellery

Let’s now compare what we can get for the average engagement ring budget of a young South African professional with intention to propose. I would place this budget at around 20k and this is being realistic.  R 20k will buy you a 0.45ct diamond J Si1 quality set in a simple solitaire setting in 9k yellow gold. 9k white gold option will require a bit of a budget stretch. The same amount will buy you a 1.25ct (7mm) moissanite flanked with two trilliant shaped 5mm side stones set in a solid (6+gr) platinum setting. Here are the two rings next to each other to compare. It is the mediocre next to the glamorous. I will suggest you to think about it this way: You are not buying a cheaper stone, you are buying a size and look that will turn heads any time within the same budget frame.

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Some prices to compare

Here is a table comparing the prices of natural diamonds, lab created diamonds and moissanite. The prices are in US dollars (currently 15:1) to avoid the constant price updating due to the changing rate.

Ct/diameterNatural diam. D-VS1Natural diam. J-VS1Lab diamond D-VS1Moissanite