Why We Chose Moissanite
By now, you guys know that Caleb and I got engaged this past March!
We were excited, happy, and shaking. Well, the shakes were partly from walking all around Boston in 40 degree weather. But still. Such an amazing day that neither of us will forget. He held the box upside down and an 8-year old took our picture and there wasn't a fanfare of my friends and family to surprise us, but this was our moment, and it was so special.
But let's rewind.
A lot of you messaged me (and still do) asking for details about my ring and how he picked it out and if it has any significance for us. And many might think that it's invasive and rude to ask such questions about intimate details that are reserved for the couple. But is it really? We as a society now talk more and more about things that are deemed taboo, like menstrual cycles and debt, so why should this be any different?
I think the more you know about something, the more equipped you are to make important life decisions and have intelligent conversations about such topics. So I've partnered with The True Gem Company to learn about diamonds and other rocks that are equally as beautiful, yet not well known, in hopes of spreading awareness and hopefully educating at least 1 other person about this industry.
Like most girls, I had "the ring" picked out before Caleb and I had even started thinking about getting married. I wanted something simple, classic, and timeless. Since my own parents had to sell their wedding rings when they immigrated here to the US for some extra cash, I didn't have an heirloom ring ready to be passed down to me. So the older I got, and the more "real" marriage became, it became increasingly important to me to have a ring that I'd cherish forever, then love it enough to pass it down as a symbol of tradition. And being the analytic planner that I am, I started my research at good old Google. I did a general search of how expensive diamond rings really are. Yes literally, "How much is a diamond ring?" No idea about carats, no idea about clarity, no idea of cut. Then when that page came up, I immediately closed the window on Tiffany & Co because holy shit how could anyone pay tens of thousands of dollars on a piece of jewelry!?
But then I kept telling myself, it's because it's a diamond. Duh. Then I'd replay the Shane Co and Jared ads in my head. "The most beautiful stone in the universe." "The way to show your lover how much you love her." "Diamonds... a girl's best friend." "Real is rare. Real is a diamond."
But then I'd remember how expensive they were. How asinine it seemed to have to go into debt for 1 ring.
But then you see everyone's "I'm engaged!!!!" posts on Facebook and suddenly you forget how expensive they were and you convince yourself that you, too, need a diamond.
This internal debate went on for a while, until I got really curious and searched where exactly diamonds come from to possibly cost that much. I mean, it better be touched by God himself for it to cost that much, right? So then I learned about labor laws (or lack thereof) of diamond miners. How these people are treated and trafficked. How little they're paid. How diamonds really aren't rare, after all, despite what the large jewelry corporations like to advertise. It then became very clear to me: I didn't want to wear a piece of jewelry on my finger for the rest of my life that didn't align with my own values.
Before you scroll down to the comments to tell me that I'm judgmental and hateful and wrong for saying the statement above, read this: I'm not saying that if you have a diamond, you're evil. I'm not saying that if you want a diamond, you're stupid. I'm saying that for a long time, consumers threw tens of thousands of dollars at these large companies to get a diamond ring, because we just didn't know any better. We didn't know the difference between traditionally mined diamonds and ethically-sourced diamonds, we didn't know you could grow diamonds in a lab (science is incredibly cool), and we didn't know about other gemstones that are equally or more beautiful than the standard diamond. It's like when some individuals choose to eat only ethically sourced + raised animal products because they don't agree with the meat industry. (I know it's not a perfect analogy, but it works.)
So when the time came for Caleb and me to start looking at rings, I told him that I didn't agree with the ethics of diamond mining. And he did his own research because this was important to him, too. Not only because he would be the one to spend a lot of freakin money on this piece of jewelry, but because it's a piece of jewelry that would represent our values and beliefs from the time of purchase, all the way till it's passed down to the last generation.
So... if not a diamond.. then what?
There are so many options. Like so many that I can't even list them all. I mean for all I care, you can wear a sterling silver band or get matching tattoos on your ring fingers and call it a day. Whatever works for you and your significant other. After all, you two are the only people who really should have a voice in this debate. But for those of you who want a gemstone, there are Morganite rings that are absolutely stunning. Many people choose Opal. Or Pearls. Or Sapphire. Or literally anything else. My mind was blown, because this challenged what I knew and what I thought was "normal." I mean, I'm sure you can relate that everyone we know and their mothers have diamond rings. And they're stunning. But times are changing! Though many people still value earth-mined diamonds because of the "diamond" name and status, a lot more people are opting with lab-grown diamonds or other lab-grown gemstones like Moissanite.
A little history lesson here: Moissanite was first found in 1893 by Henri Moissan, a French chemist. It's a naturally occurring mineral, but it's also very rare (actually rare), so most moissanites on the market today are grown in labs. Then, Charles and Colvard launched the Forever One moissanite that is not only incredibly hard, but also bright and shiny, just like a diamond. Since their patent expired, new companies are taking development in their own hands, and creating their own versions of Moissanite that are uniquely shaped and cut to each couple's liking, kinda like how TTG has created their own moissanite.
Let's pause here real quick.
A widely argued stance is that moissanites are trying to replace diamonds. And people fight and argue and defend and yell and insult, but regardless of which "side" they're on, they're simply missing the point. Moissanites aren't fake diamonds. They're not trying to be diamonds, or replace diamonds and remove diamonds from the conversation. The moissanite industry is just trying to give consumers another option: an option that is more ethically in line with certain beliefs and values of consumers, and more cost-friendly, all without sacrificing the beauty of the well-loved diamond. And it's just factthat there will always be some people who want a diamond. So be it! The reality is, though, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source an eco-friendly, ethically-sourced, lab-grown diamond. So that's why moissanite serves as a great option.
Now, let's talk money.
I know, I know. No one really likes to talk about their finances and their debt and what they can afford and how much/little they have in their savings. So I'll do it for you. Newsflash: Not everyone has $20,000 to spend on a robin's egg blue box. Phew, now that's said and done, let's talk about the societal norms for buying an engagement ring.
When Caleb and I first started talk about buying a ring, he said, "Okay, so that's 3 months salary." And he almost passed out. Then I did the math. At the time, we were both college students. I had about $200 to my name and could maybe save some more if I ate more ramen instead of going out for margs. He had money saved from previous internships and jobs. Regardless of the actual amount that the 3 months salary turned out to be, it just didn't make sense. So we challenged this idea, too. (Can you tell we like challenging things?)
What was more realistic to us, as 2 college students barely in the real world ready to start our careers, was to buy something that we could afford and was worth the money. That's when I found The True Gem Company and it was honestly perfect for us. We love supporting small business that care about their clients. We'd rather purchase something that will help the owner of a small business pay for their kids' soccer lessons rather than buy from a large company and support a CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation buy another Ferrari. And honestly, it was a simple decision. As seen in the tables above and below, moissanites and diamonds are comparable. But the price difference is significant and a priority that we simply couldn't ignore.
For Caleb and me, it was far more important for us to save to buy a house and a wedding and to start a family together. So we went with a "cheaper" ring. And I'll be the first to admit that I was worried that people would judge us for this. So I didn't really talk much about the fact that my ring was a moissanite at first, despite the fact that I was so passionate about the topic. But the more I chatted with you guys via DMs, sharing the same story of, "We really want to get engaged but we can't afford a diamond, nor do we want to support the diamond industry," the more it became apparent to me that I should share it more proudly.
Because when you forget about the center stone and how many months of salary the ring "should" cost, you are left with the love between you and your significant other. The love that sustains far more than "Do people care that my ring isn't a diamond?" At the end of the day, the ring is merely a symbol of a promise of a marriage. Not how much your SO loves you or how much your love is worth. With this all said, I am absolutely in love with my cushion cut Taylor ring. It's 7.5mm (1.67carats) and it's everything and more that I could've dreamed of, because let me tell ya, when I saw the price of a 1.5 carat diamond, I almost had a panic attack.
(Warning: You'll find yourself scrolling for hours at a time. Speaking from personal experience.)
I hope that this post helped you in some way, whether I taught you that moissanites simply exist, or if I helped you and your significant other choose to purchase a moissanite ring. Again, I'm not saying if you have a diamond ring, you're bad. That would be counterintuitive as I'll have a lab-grown diamonds in my wedding band. I'm saying that there are options beyond the widely advertised diamond, as well as opportunities to learn about said options. And when we increase our knowledge and challenge our current beliefs, we are stronger and equipped to make the best decisions for ourselves and our lives.