Every woman dreams of having a diamond in her jewelry collection. It has always been seen as a symbol of prosperity and unending love. However, not everyone can afford the “king” of gemstones. But there are always alternatives which can be as durable as diamonds and much more affordable. Sapphires and moissanites are two such options and they can be dainty additions to your collection too. These stones can be as hard as diamond. They have a hardness of 9.2/9.25 and 9 on the Mohs scale, which is close to that do diamond’s 10.
Sapphire has its name derived from the Latin word “saphirus” that means blue. It is also believed to have its name associated with Saturn. It is a type of Corundum and is an oxide of aluminium, and can range from opaque to transparent. Its true color is blue, which is most popular but it also has other colors including green and yellow. These different colors result from other mineral compounds.
Sapphires were worn by kings around their necks to protect them from harm. People believed that wearing it helped in protecting against envy and also drew divine favors. During ancient times sapphire became the perfect choice for ecclesiastical rings. Sir Richard Francis Burton is a well known Oriental traveler who wore a large star sapphire. He believed it to be his talisman that helped him bring good horses and all the attention during his expeditions. The stone helps bring luck, and even King Solomon wore one.
Moissanite is very rare to find in nature. This high-end diamond imitation can be so rare that you will have to explore other planetary bodies to find your piece. This is the reason why it is synthetically made. Moissanite is silicon carbide and entered the North American market only in the 20th century. These are colorless crystals and can be used as diamond imitation after cutting. The stone occurs only in tiny amounts in nature. It has been valued for its weight, hardness, brilliance and strong resistance to scratches.
Moissanite has many qualities that make it closer to the ‘king’ of gemstones than other stones. It has brilliance that’s closer to diamond. It has a specific gravity of 3.2, while diamond has it 3.51. Its refraction index is around 2.64, while that of diamond is 2.42. The stone also has comparative thermal conductivity. Interestingly, the invariable diamond tester mistakes moissanite for a diamond.
But moissanite also has characteristics which make it different from natural diamonds. One of the main differences is that it has double refraction. When you look at the crystal from any direction, out of line with its optic axis, it will show bifurcated rear facets and edges. But gem cutters will mostly position this stone in a way to prevent you from seeing facets bifurcation when it is seen through the base. Just turn the stone a little bit and you will see its bifurcated prong.
Moissanite can be told by its very light grayish-green hue. Still it comes close to diamond. It will also slightly weigh less than a similar sized diamond. What makes it the more special is its wear-resistance. The stone doesn’t scratch easily and will not look as dull as other stones even on your 25th wedding anniversary.
Moissanite shows ample sparkle and fire, and offers good amount of clarity. It is recommended to choose quality stones which offer excellent clarity. It will be best to look a stone under a loupe to get a good idea of its clarity.
So whether it’s a wedding or an occasion for special gifts, sapphires and moissanites can be more affordable yet equally durable and beautiful stones as diamond.