If you’re considering a Moissanite ring, you may be wondering which cut is going to provide the most beautiful sparkling effect. Cut is critical. Here are the details you need to know.
Which Moissanite Cut Sparkles the Most? Round cuts provide the most sparkle. They’re cut with 58 facets that are carefully angled to reflect light back through the top of the stone, rather than allowing it to escape through the sides or bottom. Those reflective characteristics are what brings the fire and brilliance to your Moissanite ring.
The right cut can make make your ring dance with sparkle, but the wrong cut can leave it dull and lifeless. Here’s what you need to know to get this critical component right.
Cut for Maximum Reflection
When we talk about the “cut of your ring, we aren’t only talking about the general style or shape (round, heart, princess, etc). We’re talking about the ridges and facets that are cut into all sides of your ring, regardless of the style. Facets are the flat surfaces that are polished all around your ring.
Moissanite, like diamonds, are cut in a very calculated and specific way to take in light, channel it, and then reflect it back through the top of the ring in a certain way. Most stones will have between 48 and 58 facets. More facets generally means more sparkle, though that isn’t the only influence on sparkle.
The most popular style of diamond sold today is the round brilliant cut. It has either 57 or 58 facets that help it to really shine and reflect light in beautiful ways!
The Anatomy of Sparkle
It’s estimated that approximately 20% of light deflects off the surface of your stone in some way. The remaining light (roughly 80%) enters your ring. Whether that light leaks out the side of the ring, or is reflected back through the top as a sparkle, depends on how many facets you have, how the facets are positioned, and other cut angles.
The terms that jewelers and gemologists use to describe the sparkle of a particular stone are:
Brilliance is the amount of light that reflects back to you through the top of the stone as white light. When rings reflect lots of white light back, you might refer to them as being “brilliant”.
Fire has to do with the breaking of light into a spectrum of color that’s then reflected back as a rainbow of various colors. It’s a prism like effect. A ring that reflects lots of color is said to be “fiery.”
Scintillation is the white and dark spots that appear across the ring as you move it back and forth in various lighting. They add a really beautiful contrast to the visual experience.
You can turn the 3 aspects of sparkle up or down depending on the type and quality of your cut and polish. Some cuts can accentuate brilliance, while others can maximize the fiery qualities of the stone.
Moissanite is naturally very fiery. It loves to reflect beautiful colored light.
Cut is King
Diamonds are graded based on four quality characteristics, often just referred to as “the 4 C’s”. They include:
- Carat Weight
Those are the factors that gemologists at grading companies use to assigned grades to the gems they evaluate. While none of the 4 C’s are unimportant, cut is easily far more important than the other 3.
If you have a poor cut, your ring won’t shine…even if it has an amazing color and clarity for example. If the angles are wrong, light will escape out of the bottom or sides. That escaped light makes the gem look dull and lifeless instead of vibrant and sparkly.
On the other hand, if you bought a stone with less than ideal color or clarity, you can often have the quality of the cut make up the difference. A mediocre stone with an amazing cut will always look much better than an amazing stone with a mediocre cut.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the group that invented the 4 C’s for grading diamonds. They grade diamonds for cut based on a scale that ranges from “poor” to “Excellent.” When that rating comes from a reputable agency like GIA, it becomes a valuable basis for quickly comparing multiple stones to find the one that will likely meet your needs best.
While a quality cut is also important for a Moissanite ring, GIA doesn’t grade simulated stones. The term “Simulated,” would include anything made in a lab (other than a lab-grown diamond). This means that the best way to judge the cut, and resulting sparkle, of your Moissanite stone, is to pick it up and look at it. If it sparkles like crazy for you, the cut and polish will meet your need, and a grade from GIA won’t be needed.
Beware of Inconsistent Grading
Be aware the terms related to grading are thrown around very loosely. Jewelers may give you their opinion on what a particular stone would be graded, or they may claim to have had grading done elsewhere.
A rating of “Excellent” from one organization might be equal to a “Good” from a more reputable service. Don’t take any opinion or grading too seriously if they don’t have a certificate from GIA or a service of similar reputation to backup claims. Again, the best quality test is to pick the stone up and observe it’s qualities.
The Moissanite Stone Shapes that Sparkle Best
Round Brilliant is, by far, the shape that’s most popular with ring shoppers. This option has lots of facets, carefully angled and coordinated, to reflect light through the top of the ring and thereby maximize all elements of sparkle. The Oval, Marquise, and pear shaped stones have cuts that have lots of sparkle too, but generally not quite as much as the round brilliant.
Rounded corners can be used to increase brilliance. The Pillow Cut is an example of light manipulation using this technique. Moissanite can also come in all the other shapes that are currently used for diamonds. That could include princess, heart, pear, marquise, radiant, triangle, Emerald Asscher, and Baguette (among others).
The following graphic shows how various shapes can be expected to sparkle based on the shape of the stone and, the number of facets, and the positioning of those facets.
Maintaining the Sparkle
Both diamonds and simulated diamonds are going to lose some of their brilliance as dirt and oils collect on the surface of the stone and get lodged between the stone and the setting. Those deposits can disrupt the way light is able to interact with the ring, making the stone look more dull and muted.
The solution is careful, but regular, cleaning. No need for special equipment or cleaning fees. All you really need to do the job, is a bowl of warm water, a soft bristled toothbrush, and some mild dish soap. Use the toothbrush to carefully scrub the surface of the ring, and around the setting. Take your time in the setting area, because again, dirt and oils often get lodged between the stone and the housing.
After cleaning the stone well, lay it on a soft towel to air dry, or use a blow dryer on a cool setting to thoroughly dry the ring.
When Size Interferes with Sparkle
Moissanite is very reflective. Some people have experienced instances where their ring reflects a color (like green) under certain lighting or from a particular angle. The reflection could temorarily block, or mask, some of the sparkle that people have come to expect and love from a Moissanite stone.
This issue tends to be noticed far more in rings that are over 1 carat in size. If you purchased a 6 carat ring, you might experience that issue at some point. If you pick something up that’s 1 carat or less, it’s unlikely to be something you experience much (if ever).
The Shaping That Makes Your Stone Look Largest
Interestingly enough, the same shape that helps your Moissanite ring to reflect the most fire and brilliance, is also the shape that can give it the appearance of being larger than it is. There’s just something about a round cut that can give us the impression that the carat weight of the ring is higher than is actually the case.
Will Moissanite get cloudy over time?
Moissanite isn’t prone to clouding with time, but you should keep your ring away from potentially harsh chemicals. Taking your ring off before using hand sanitizer and bleach, for example, is a good idea.
Will Moissanite Get Scratched?
It’s possible, but not easily done. Moissanite is rated at 9.25 on Mohs Scale of Hardness. That’s a pretty hard substance! Diamonds are rated highest (at 10), so they’re even more scratch resistant. It is possible though for a Moissanite to get scratched if it comes in contact something harder than it is (which is fairly uncommon).
Can you chip Moissanite?
Moissanite and diamond are both extremely hard materials. That hardness makes them scratch resistant, but not indestructible. If Moissanite gets struck hard enough, it’s possible to chip it.