Charles & Covard, makers of the best diamond substitute on the market, Moissanite, recently hired a brand marketing firm to figure out why the company's product hasn't gained more traction in the jewelry market.
As a former jeweler, I find the Moissanite an excellent choice for those who want the fire and durability of a diamond but don't want to pay the price. Because it can be made synthetically, the Moissanite retails at a quarter or less of the cost of a similarly sized diamond of good clarity.
I made a Moissanite ring for my wife for Christmas a few years ago, and it has worn like iron. The stone, silicon carbide, is a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, exceeded in gemstones only by the diamond.
So why don't more people buy Moissanites instead of diamonds? It all comes down to cachet, sex appeal, and DeBeers. A century of marketing stands behind the public's perception of a diamond as a touchstone for romance and devotion.
If you can shake free of the brainwashing and see the Moissanite for what it is, a stone as beautiful and durable as a diamond at a fraction of the price, you can save yourself a pile of dough. I think, however, that Charles & Covard is going to discover that very few people are able to take that step. So before you offer your betrothed a Moissanite instead of a diamond, be very, very, very sure she is on board with it -- because regret is forever.