Diamond Buying Advice - Moissanite is a great (and deceptive) diamond look alike

Dec 30, 1999 (Updated Jan 1, 2000)

By now, you have probably heard of the most common diamond look alike, Cubic Zirconia, sometimes referred to as CZ. However, there are other diamond look alikes out there that are significantly harder to spot.

Moissanite is a product that many people haven't heard much about yet. It is another lab created gem (created by Charles & Colvard) that is very close to diamond, so close that even trained professionals can have a hard time recognizing it.

If you are looking for beautiful jewelry without the expense of diamonds, Moissanite definitely beats Cubic Zirconia (CZ). One company, C3, is currently planning a national advertising campaign for jewelry made with this material. Already its Italian distributor is selling "Gioielli Moiss" 18K (both yellow gold and white gold) jewelry line that exclusively uses moissanite.

However, if you are looking for diamonds, it is possible for an unscrupulous jeweler to pass off one of these stones as a diamond. From what I read, as a layman, you wonít be able to tell these stones apart from the real thing.

The stones are actually beautiful to look at and according to the manufacturer they have more fire and brilliance (sparkle) than even diamonds. Since it is lab created it is much cheaper than diamonds and has some different properties (among other things, the Mohs hardness is a little lower 9.25 as opposed to diamonds 10, and the refractive index is a little higher). If you want to find out more about Moissanite, you can go their website at http://www.moissanite.com/red/red_01.shtml

Therefore, the best way to avoid being cheated with a look alike is:

- If the stone isnít already certified, ask the jeweler to have it certified. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) will certify stones (for a fee), and provide a written assessment of the stoneís properties, such as color, cut, clarity and carat. It will also provide you with a visual representation of the stones inclusions.

- Take the stone to an independent jeweler for an appraisal and ask them to test the stone to assure it is a real diamond (this may cost between $50 Ė and $100 but it is worth it). The methods I know of for identifying the stones are to:
1 Use a Moissanite tester (created by the same company that created the gem stone).
2 A professional can use a loope and recognize the double images by the facets.
3 Use the "shadow method". In this test, the diamond has short blurry light images whereas moissanite makes long sharp color images (the moissanite web site shows this test how much more dispersive thier stones are).

- And most of all, purchase the stone from a reputable vendor (make sure they have a return policy). A vendor whose reputation is on the line is less likely to be willing to loose his valuable reputation for a few bucks.

So remember, when someone presents you with a deal that seems too good to be true it may just be.

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