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Fabulous fakes for your true love -- Page 2

Moissanite (pronounced MOY-san-nite) is a mineral that's been transformed into a stunning gemstone as a result of art and proprietary science. Introduced as a jewel in 1998 by Charles & Colvard, a North Carolina-based company that is its sole-source manufacturer, it has a fiery brilliance that makes it a formidable diamond rival. It rates an impressive 9.25 on the Mohs scale -- harder than emeralds and rubies. A moissanite gemstone will, like a diamond, doubtlessly outlive and outshine many a marriage (less blessed than your own, of course). To find shopping channels and jewelers near you that carry it, visit

Know your priorities
Are you looking for a ring with fire and brilliance? If so, moissanite and a quality CZ can provide that at an astonishing level and a reasonable price.

Would you rather partake of a hallowed tradition with a rich heritage? Diamonds have first dibs on that.

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Do you want a symbol of promise and commitment? Indeed, any stone can symbolize that bond, if sincerity is its foundation.

Still tentative about bucking tradition?
Consider that new traditions are being made all the time. The trend-setting show "Sex and the City" featured sexy Samantha with a knockout non-diamond sparkler on her hand.

"Oh, who cares," she tells buddy Miranda about the scintillating stone. "All that matters is what it looks like." From Samantha's mouth to how many ears of the about-to-be-betrothed?

An average of 25 percent of those responding to the National Jeweler 2003 Bridal Fine Jewelry Consumer Buying Survey said they would consider buying an engagement ring with a moissanite center stone.

How convincing are the un-diamonds?
A one-carat moissanite ring was shown to 10 jewelers in the Washington, D.C., area for ABC TV's show "20/20." Half of the jewelers thought they were looking at a diamond worth thousands. The moissanite reportedly even tricked an electronic diamond detector -- but not some brides-to-be at the Great Bridal Expo in Manhattan, who had the ice down cold.

As always, do your research and comparison shop before making a purchase. If you don't have jewelers in your area that inspire your confidence and trust -- and even if you do -- you might wish to visit the American Gem Society's Web site. The site is a mother lode of jewelers nationwide who must pass rigorous tests and maintain the highest ethical standards to become a member.

Speaking of confidence and trust -- be worthy of that, yourself, if you are the ring-giver. It's always best not to tell your beloved that the ring you offer is a diamond if it is not. There's nothing wrong with giving an un-diamond ring -- indeed, it's cool and trendy -- but deceit and deception are always out of style.

One last bit of advice. Don't forget that the first act does not have to be the final one. I know a woman -- OK, full disclosure: She's my mother -- who got a diamond engagement ring to accompany her lovely "engagement watch," after 49 years of marriage.

A patient woman, but hardly alone. Her local jeweler estimated that about one-third of diamond engagement rings he sells are to those who have been long married and who have decided the time was right.

Now, do what's right for you -- in your time. And congratulations!

Laura Shanahan is a freelance writer based in New York City.

-- Updated: May 3, 2005
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See Also
Investing in gems for fun and profit
Diamond quiz
Gold: the glittery quiz
Sparkle plenty: a gemstone quiz
Frugal U. definitions
More Frugal U. stories

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