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What is moissanite and why is it a popular alternative to a diamond engagement ring?

While Gen Z-er’s seem to be growing less inclined to don engagement rings with large diamonds, it seems many of them may also be gravitating toward a more affordable, lab grown stone too.

After coming across TikTok user Zahné’s (@zzzahneee) video in which she explains why her engagement ring is not a diamond, Gen Z bride Ella Parr-Tierney (@ellaparrtierney) and her husband, Drake, felt compelled to do the same.

“My wedding band is diamonds and my engagement ring is a moissanite,” Parr-Tierney says on Sept. 22. For her and her husband, buying a diamond engagement ring wasn’t worth the potential debt it would put them in.

“At the end of the day, it is just a piece of jewelry,” she adds. “I want to buy a house before 25. I want to take a very long, expensive honeymoon throughout Europe. I want to buy designer bags. There are other things that I was more interested in spending my money on.”

Parr-Tierney claims that “you literally can’t even tell the difference” between her diamond wedding band and moissanite engagement ring, and that both “look amazing” stacked on one another.

“I’ve never tried to hide the fact that my ring is moissanite,” she says. “And there’s obviously nothing wrong with wanting a diamond, but I know a lot of people may think, ‘Oh my god, Drake balled out…all this money on a ring and they weren’t even out of college yet.’ No…we are somewhat, at least, trying to be financially responsible.”

So what exactly is moissanite?

According to the Moissanite Company (@themoissanitecompany), a jewelry shop founded in Australia, moissanite is a diamond alternative that was discovered by the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Henry Moissan in 1893.

“Today, naturally occurring moissanite is exceptionally rare and therefore all moissanite on the market is is lab-created in controlled conditions,” Makayla, the company’s founder says. “This means moissanite stones are created in a sustainable, controlled environment, leaving as little carbon footprint as possible.”

A 2020 BBC article revealed that young people are “falling out of love” with mined diamonds, due to their “high environmental and humanitarian costs.” While millennials and Gen Z-ers are the “main purchasers of diamonds for engagement rings,” a study shows that almost 70% of millennials have considered purchasing a lab-grown diamond instead.

Nidhi Dangayach, a jewelry expert and the founder of luxury jewelry brand Verlas, further explained why younger demographics are drawn to diamond alternatives.

“We know that younger audiences or Gen Zs have been skewing towards more nontraditional or affordable gemstone choices,” she told In The Know by Yahoo via email. “Lab-grown diamonds or moissanites are preferred choices primarily for being sustainable and conflict-free. Moissanite is the only diamond simulant that ranks as high as 9.25 (second hardest to natural diamonds and LGDs) on the Mohs scale, making them durable and suitable for everyday wear.”

The larger the moissanite, however, the greater possibility that different-colored tones may be seen, Dangayach explained.

“When on a budget, customers love alternatives because you can either get a bigger bang for your buck with, LGDs, for example, or a near colorless yet sparkling gemstone like a moissanite,” she added. “As you go bigger in moissanites though, there’s a higher chance of the stones reflecting yellowish or grayish tones under certain lights. This is why it’s either a better alternative choice with smaller stones or working with retailers that only offer premium quality in moissanites.”

Other brides and brides-to-be have taken to Parr-Tierney’s comment section to share their own reasons why they’ve opted for moissanite instead of diamonds, too.

TikTok user @mxxnch_ld, for instance, claimed they’d prefer a moissanite ring as well because they tend to lose their jewelry: “I told my bf i rather get a moissanite ring as well! Just bc i dont take care of my jewelry well, so it would be really bad if i lose a diamond ring.”

“Yess I said the same thing! I’m not sure why men are so pressed on getting diamond rings I don’t ever wanna go into debt over a ring lol,” @teannahunt1 revealed.

“Hell yeah moissanite gang! Everyone always LOVES my ring and get a lot of compliments,” @epc2786 wrote.

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