May 2008

A Flash of Brilliance: Moissanite shines at Inspired Creations

Author: Whitney Farmer

It’s the closet sentiment of women everywhere: The only thing better than being the girl that every guy wants is being the one that every other girl wants to be. And every lady knows nothing sparks that envy quite like a faahbulous piece of jewelry, dahling.

However, those huge rocks and trademark designers that immediately draw the eye are only attainable to that .001 percent of nauseatingly well-off population. So what are we “normal” girls to do? We do what women before us and the women before them have done for generations: Just fake it—still talking about jewelry here.

Fortunately, Hilton Head Island has one of the best resources for those of us with limited resources. Inspired Creations, operated by its second-generation owner Dustin Bryan, has developed a loyal customer base, returning to find beautiful replica jewelry and attainable designer-inspired pieces.

“Our jewelry looks as good as the things you find in high end department stores, but at an affordable price,” Bryan said.

And now, customers old and new have a different reason to pay Bryan a visit. Inspired Creations has acquired a new collection of the next big thing in jewelry; the up-and-coming gemstone Moissanite.

The gem is the talk of the jewelry world as the new contender for diamond alternatives. In fact, Bryan says, celebrities are choosing the lab-created gem over diamonds as a political statement. “They’re a socially acceptable alternative to diamonds,” he said.

With the recent controversy over blood diamonds, many socially conscious consumers are looking for ways to achieve the elegant look of diamonds without the stigma. Pervading the news recently, blood diamonds, often called conflict diamonds, refer to a diamond mined in a war zone and sold, usually unauthorized, in order to finance an insurgency, especially in Africa. According to the activist website stopblooddiamonds.org, the head of the operations often murders and enslaves the local populations to carry out the acts.

Although actions have been taken to thwart the conflict diamond trade, it is still a hot topic in today’s culture. Conveniently, Moissanite has also made more of a name for itself in the last few years. The lab-created mineral looks like diamond, can have the same brilliance as a diamond, and is almost as hard as a diamond. Yet Moissanite sells for just a fraction of a diamond’s price.

“You usually pay about seven to eight thousand dollars per carat with a diamond,” Bryan explained. “But Moissanite costs just about seven to eight hundred dollars per carat.”

So what exactly is Moissanite? According to moissanite.com, Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral discovered in the late 1800s by Henri Moissan in a meteor. In the mid 1990s, jewelers realized that Moissanite would make an ideal gemstone and since there are almost no supplies of this mineral on earth, scientists set out to create synthetic Moissanite in a lab.

It’s such a good substitute for diamonds that many jewelers cannot easily tell the difference. Bryan illustrates by pulling out an electronic diamond tester. He touches a cubic zirconia ring and the red light lights up, indicating it is not a real diamond. Touching the same wand to a Moissanite ring, the green light blinks. Moissanite has fooled the diamond tester.

More brilliant than a cubic zirconia, Moissanite is also harder and more durable. While cubic zirconia registers at about a 9.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, Moissanite is about a 9.25, compared to 10 for a diamond.

However, Bryan says, Moissanite isn’t meant to be passed off as a diamond substitute. Moissanite shouldn’t be considered a “fake diamond” but rather a unique stone in its own right. Unlike diamonds, Moissanite is rarely perfectly colorless, and may be slightly green or gray, especially in larger stones. To avoid purchasing an inferior stone, always examine Moissanite under different types of light to see how its hue alters.

You have to see it to believe. Check out Inspired Creations’ collection of Moissanite and designer-inspired jewelry at the Mall at Shelter Cove.

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