“Moissanite is a gemstone that has finally found its time,” says Suzanne Miglucci, who has recently taken the reins as president and CEO at Charles & Colvard, the preeminent provider of the gem-quality natural mineral. For 20 years, the company has been quietly perfecting the lab-grown colorless gemstone, all while diamonds dominated the industry.
Miglucci says several forces are now finally altering the public’s perception of moissanite as an alternative to diamonds. Diamond sales have softened, leaving a glut of inventory in the market. Meanwhile, old rules that once dictated engagement etiquette don’t have the hold they once did on younger generations. Millennials, the largest-growing segment of the population that in numbers and in spending force has yet to reach its full potential, are not only open to diamond alternatives, but they also actually seek them out. “I would go so far as to say they are rewriting tradition,” says Miglucci, explaining that moissanite is attractive to this customer for both its conflict-free status and value. “With consumers now looking for alternatives to mined stones, we’re moving up the ‘visibility scale’ and are becoming part of the conversation.”
According to a recent study conducted by Thirdside Solutions, 95 percent of millennials said they were concerned about the socio-environmental impacts of the diamond industry, and 82 percent said they would rather buy a lab-grown gem as an alternative. Like Warby Parker’s affordable eyewear or Uber’s taxi-anywhere concept—businesses turning whole industries upside-down—moissanite is poised to fill a void. “[Millennials] love disruption, and we love disrupting,” says Miglucci. “We’re bringing forward a colorless, more brilliant gemstone at a fraction of the cost. We’re perfectly aligned for this value-conscious consumer at the right time.”