If you are thinking about a diamond ring, and you are interested in ethical jewellery, then here is some vital information for you. No matter what kind of claims jewellers or diamond suppliers make, due to the deep corruption in the diamond supply process, there is no way you can be guaranteed a conflict-free diamond, especially if it is coming out of Africa. Natural conflict free diamond simply do not exist and anyone who is making that claim is distorting the issues. Even non-third world mines such as in Canada and Australia present problems environmentally, in that the damage to the earth goes way beyond greenhouse gas emissions – there is mass clearing of land and disruption to valuable, fragile ecosystems, like Canada’s arctic tundra, and the tropical forests of Africa where unregulated mining can poison people and ecosystems alike.
Moissanite – a superior alternative to the diamond
What is moissanite?
The origins of moissanite begin with a meteorite that crashed into the earth over 50,000 years ago, carrying with it a trace amount of silicon carbide. It wasn’t until 1893 that samples from the Canyon Diablo crater (Arizona) were given to French scientist Dr. Moissan to examine. What he discovered within these samples were crystals of a new mineral – silicon carbide – that displayed and extraordinary sparkle and ability to capture light.
Natural silicon carbide crystals are so incredibly rare on Earth, and available in such tiny particles, that there is not enough available to create a single pair of earrings! However, the qualities of stunning jewel were so exciting to scientists that in the 1980s a process began, utilising advanced scientific methods and technology, to create gem-quality silicon carbide. In 1995, a master gem cutter was brought into the process and three years later, Moissanite was presented to the jewellery industry for the first time.
Why choose moissanite over diamond?
Well, apart from the ethical and environmental considerations, here are a few other characteristics of this stone:
Moissanite is known for its high refractive index of 2.65 (diamond is 2.42) – the higher the index, the more brilliance the jewel emits.
The fire of moissanite (0.104) is more than twice that of diamond (0.044) – emitting more fire, or flashes of rainbow coloured light, than a diamond.
On the moh’s scale, the diamond is rated at 10 hardness (the hardest substance known to man). Moissanite ranks at 9.25, and is therefore the second hardest gemstone, which means it is incredibly durable and resistant to scratching or chipping. Whilst both the diamond and moissanite are rated excellent in toughness, the atomic structure of the moissanite does not have a direction of cleavage (structural weakness) like a diamond does, thereby outranking the diamond in overall toughness.
Unlike cubic zirconia and synthetic diamonds, moissanite will not loose its sparkle or cloud over time, making it the most superior alternative to diamonds.