So, what is moissanite? Is it a created diamond? Is it natural? Is it too good to be true?
Shown above in its rough uncut form, moissanite was first discovered in meteor craters. The chemical compound is silicon carbide. Because it is an extremely rarely occurring mineral, the moissanite available on the market is manmade, but it is structurally the same as that found in meteorites. So although it contains carbon like a diamond, it's not a diamond. It does come in at a 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, just ahead of sapphire and ruby and just behind diamond.
It's also different from a diamond because moissanite is doubly refractive, while diamond is singly refractive. This gives moissanite greater brilliance, but careful examination under magnification will show the doubled reflections of the facets.
Until very recently, almost all moissanite available on the market was also distinguishable by a greenish tinge of color in the otherwise colorless gem. Nowadays some manufacturers can produce stones in the D-F or "colorless" color range of the diamond scale, making them an even more attractive option.
Because they are manmade, moissanites are much less expensive than comparably sized diamonds and are thus an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings among young couples with tight budgets. The Charles Babb Designs store on Etsy features an entire section of moissanite rings, and moissanite can also be substituted upon request for most of the designs on this site.