Jewelry,  Wedding

The Perfect Ecofriendly Engagement Ring

When my now-husband proposed to me, it was a total surprise.

He searched for a simple ring to propose with, and purchased a gorgeous little knot ring from Deb Blazer on Etsy.

He surprised me by popping the question on a weekend trip to Santa Cruz, California. We were sitting on a bench overlooking the Pacific Ocean when he stood up and got down on one knee. Did I cry? You bet!

Ready to build your dream engagement ring?

See my EcoFriendly Ring Building Guide.


Finding the Perfect Engagement Ring

When we started ring shopping, we went to big jewelry retailers to try on rings. At the time, my fiance was a grad student and I was working at a nonprofit, so our budget was small. He wanted me to pick out my own ring, but I was pretty clueless about the whole process. Every time I fell in love with something, I gingerly turned the price tag over and got sticker shock. Why should I trade a dream vacation for a rock? Surely that would make the jewelry store happy, but was that what I really wanted? I looked at hundreds of photos online and tried to find something we could afford that was beautiful, but most importantly, wouldn’t break the bank.

After several months of looking (and more sticker shock), I got a better sense for the perfect engagement ring: I wanted a half carat diamond solitaire on a 1.7 mm wide white gold band. There was only one problem: I couldn’t find the ring of my dreams that fit my less-than-$1,000 budget. Anything close would have a stone that was tiny or very low quality.

That’s when my fiance found Moissanite.

Now, I’ll admit, I love shiny things, so when he told me that Moissanite was more brilliant than diamonds, my ears perked up. When he convinced me that a Moissanite stone would be more beautiful than any diamond in our price range, conflict free, and nearly as durable as diamond and sapphire (unlike CZ), I gave the idea serious consideration.

Before I go into the details… I should share what my experience of wearing this ring. Everyone has complimented it, and nobody has mentioned that they noticed it wasn’t a diamond. A jewelry store employee even thought it was a diamond. We don’t try to hide the fact, but we enjoy giving people a chance to notice before we tell them (they never do!).

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a shiny gemstone with more fire and brilliance than diamonds. It is an extremely rare mineral called silicon carbide, which occurs naturally in stardust. The man who discovered Moissanite found it while excavating a site of a meteorite landing in rural Arizona. With modern technology, Moissanite can be made in a lab nearly colorless and very clear. Like diamonds, it is so hard that it is used for cutting metal and stone.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds

Hardness (Mohs scale)
9.25 – Moissanite is the hardest gemstone next to diamonds.
10 – Diamond
8-8.5 – CZ

Brilliance (Refractive Index)
2.65 – Moissanite
2.42 – Diamond
2.17 – CZ

Fire (Dispersion)
0.104 – Moissanite
0.044 – Diamond
.060 – CZ

Silicon carbide – Moissanite
Carbon – Diamond
Zirconium dioxide – CZ

Buying With MoissaniteCo

We purchased our Moissanite as a loose stone through MoissaniteCo. We paid $195 for the loose stone including tax.

I’m a deal lover, so when I found MoissaniteCo, I was a happy camper. Working with them was a straightforward, easy process.

MoissaniteCo is an independent retailer and manufacturer of fine jewelry created with Charles & Colvard Moissanite. MoissaniteCo buys Moissanite from national distributors who purchase directly from Charles & Colvard. The Moissanite stone we bought came with an official Charles & Colvard certificate of authenticity, so we knew we were buying the real thing.

We selected ForeverOne Moissanite. It is colorless, equivalent to the D-E-F clarity range on diamonds. An equivalent diamond would cost in the ballpark of $2,000-$5,000 just for the stone, but could run much higher.

I was worried about the hardness aspect, but when I read about the history of diamonds, honestly, I decided the 0.75 of hardness difference didn’t matter. My fiance showed me this article in The Atlantic about the DeBeers diamond cartel, and that sealed the deal for me.

When the stone arrived, I couldn’t stop staring at it. It was so perfectly brilliant. Natural light and fluorescent light illuminate the stone in different but equally beautiful ways. I love watching the rainbows cast by the double refraction, which diamonds don’t have.

Moissanite is forever, just like diamonds. Moissanite is a stone made of stars. On the other hand, diamonds are formed at high pressure below the earth’s surface. I like thinking of the stars when I look at my Moissanite ring!

My Beautiful Ring

Cost to Build My Ring:

Stone: $195
Setting: $365
Cost for jeweler to place my stone in the setting: $45 (includes free rhodium dipping)

Total cost: $605

The pricing for the stone depends on carat size, but the prices are reasonable. At last check, a 1-carat stone only cost $50 more than 0.5-carat

A year later, and I am still happy I chose a 0.5 carat stone. My hands are small, so my ring looks elegant and not overstated.

I found that a 4-prong setting is perfectly suited to my 0.5 carat setting because it lets more light in from the sides, improving the refractive qualities.

It took me a long time to figure out the perfect ring thickness-to-carat ratio. The most standard width for rings is 2 mm, and that suits most hands.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Happy hunting for your perfect eco-friendly engagement ring!

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