The story of sparkling white moissanite in custom rings began at the site of a meteor strike — but there’s so much more to the rare stone than a dramatic history. Moissanite is a natural mineral, silicon carbide, but it’s rarely found in nature anymore and is now grown in a lab. For custom designed jewelry, moissanite is an accessibly priced alternative to white diamonds. “When I show clients rings from our case with moissanite, they first ask ‘is it a diamond?’” says Ivy Lieberman, sales manager at Bario Neal’s New York City showroom.
“As someone who designs custom rings a lot, I’m always conscious of a client’s budget,” says Sarah Brown, Bario Neal Sales + Custom Design Specialist. “You can create an elaborate cluster ring centered around a moissanite and free up budget for other stones in the cluster.”
What Is Moissanite?
A chemist, Henri Moissan, is credited with first identifying moissanite, at the site of a meteor strike in Arizona in 1893. In the 1990s, scientists figured out a way to produce the silicon carbide crystals that Moissan, when he first saw them, thought were diamonds. North Carolina-based Charles & Colvard filed a patent and started growing moissanite in a lab.
“I appreciate the special story behind moissanite. Henri Moissan was a Nobel Prize winner! And some people call them ‘space rocks,’” Sarah explains. “I also love that they complement other colored gemstones and play up color with a disco ball brilliance, like with our Custom Oval Moissanite with Blue Green Sapphires Cluster Ring.”
At larger sizes, moissanite throw off rainbow vibes, whereas a white diamond has a truer white/silver sparkle. Moissanite are nearly as hard as diamonds (at 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale vs. a diamond’s 10) so they’re durable enough for a ring worn every day. Moissanite come in tiny melee sizes too.
Moissanite works well with yellow gold, platinum and other metals. “Our Custom 9x7mm Moissanite Three Stone Ring in platinum looks stunning and is a great example of a classic engagement ring with moissanite,” Sarah notes. Ivy says yellow gold is her favorite metal to match with moissanite, but she adds that some people love how white gold gives the stone an “icy vibe.”
5 Custom Rings with Moissanite
- Moissanite has its own story to tell as unique-to-the-lab stones. Two Bario Neal clients who happened to be scientists chose moissanite for this Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring. The lab created stone was a touching nod to their shared profession. Moissanite and diamonds are so twinning that you can use both in a custom ring too, like this asymmetrical Custom 2ct Oval Moissanite Cluster Ring with Diamonds.
- “We have a client who loves our Eaves Cluster Diamond Ring — but she wanted everything bigger,” Ivy says. “With the stones that are in the collection version, the ring was out of her budget. Instead, she went for a carat-plus moissanite, and a ring that would have been around $9,000 became a $4,000 ring. This also allowed her to double the size of her side stones — morganite, a princess cut diamond, and a champagne diamond.”
- Sarah recently worked on a custom design with moissanite for a client who “wanted a statement ring,” Sarah says. “And it wasn’t necessarily about having a 2-carat diamond. She wanted it to have character. I showed her a moissanite I had in house for another client, and she fell in love with the rainbow flash of the stone.” The client’s cluster includes white diamonds, champagne diamonds, morganites, and one peridot in yellow gold. (The peridot was for a touch of green — and is her husband-to-be’s birthstone.)
- “One Bario Neal client already had our Avens Diamond Ring with a white diamond when she saw our Custom Moissanite Cluster Ring,” Ivy says. “We made a second custom designed ring for her with three moissanite placed so they curve around that center diamond in her solitaire Avens.”
Custom Ring, Accessible Price
“Moissanite is significantly more affordable than lab grown and natural diamonds,” says Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer Anna Bario. “So, for me, when a client wants something beautiful and affordable and colorless, I think moissanite is a great choice.”
If there’s a giant stone in the perfect custom engagement ring design you have in your head, and budget is top of mind, a moissanite could be your go-to at about half the price of white diamonds.
Is Moissanite a Sustainable Jewelry Choice?
While choosing moissanite for a ring means avoiding new mining, and therefore the environmental impact of extractive industry, labs where gemstones are manufactured still require a lot of energy. (For more on diamonds from labs, read “Bario Neal’s Take on 4 FAQs About Lab Grown Diamonds.”) Although you’re not zeroing out your carbon footprint with a custom moissanite ring, one advantage is that because there is no existing large-scale moissanite mining sector, the lab doesn’t diminish potential benefits for artisanal miners.
Custom Designing with Moissanite
“Moissanite has intense fire, instead of the white sparkliness of diamonds, there’s a spectral colorful sparkle,” Ivy says. “They’re a fun addition to any ring.” Sarah notes that she loves to educate clients about moissanite and watch their fascination grow as they learn more about the history and creation in a lab today. “I don’t think of moissanite as ‘imitation’ because it is a naturally occurring mineral, just a rare one,” Sarah says. To learn more about moissanite and how Bario Neal custom designs with this unique stone, make an appointment today. You can work with the team long-distance, or visit a showroom in Philadelphia or New York City.