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Lauren Chang Sommer and Alana Chang are two enterprising young women, who happen to be sisters who have secured the exclusive Australian and New Zealand distributorship for a dazzling new jewel named Moissanite, originating from outer space with a sparkle unlike anything else - even diamonds (at 90 per cent off their price). Don't believe it? Read On.

Lauren Chang Sommer has been involved in the jewellery business since 2004. With a background in fine arts, she is not a jeweller or a gemmologist - she just loves gorgeous things and making people happy! Alana has come from a background of extensive travel throughout the UK and Europe with a Bachelor of Communications and background in events' coordination. Together, they are the owners and Managing Director and Director respectively of Moi Moi Fine Jewellery in Sydney. Lauren and Alana share with Lucire their discovery of Moissanite and why it has become a phenomenon across the world.

We were captivated when we saw Moissanite for the first time back in July 2004. Moissanite is a jewel with more brilliance, fire and lustre than any other jewel, but unlike some precious jewels it is really affordably priced at approximately one-tenth of the price of fine diamonds.

What is it?
Over 110 years ago a 50,000 year old meteorite fell to earth in the Arizona desert. It contained a special mineral, silicon carbide, and was discovered by Nobel Prize winner Dr Henri Moissan. It was later named Moissanite in his honour.

Our father first heard of Moissanite 18 months ago whilst he was trying to buy some jewellery for Lauren's wedding as a gift. A jeweller told Dad that there was this new jewel called Moissanite that had more sparkle than any other jewel. So intrigued by this, Dad went on a search in Australia to find some. The search was unsuccessful as there was no one in Australia selling Moissanite. Not long after, Dad was overseas, spotted some Moissanite and bought Mum some earrings and a ring. On his return to Sydney, we went over for dinner and he showed off Mum's new acquisitions. They were stunning. From that moment forward it was love. Straight away, we saw how beautiful Moissanite was and the potential this precious stone had to offer in Australia. It was then that this great business opportunity presented itself to us, bringing Moissanite to Australia and New Zealand. Just five months later we became the sole distributors of Moissanite in Australia and New Zealand. It was in this month also that we opened our first Moi Moi flagship store in the Queen Victoria Building.

Moissanite is created by Charles & Colvard. Structurally, there is no difference between natural and created Moissanite. Both natural and created Moissanite consists of the naturally occurring mineral, silicon carbide. However, naturally occurring Moissanite is too rare to be used for jewellery purposes, which is why Charles & Colvard create Moissanite for use in jewellery. (The concept is very similar to that of a cultured pearl).

According to the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America), Moissanite outperforms all jewels in terms of its brilliance (refractive index), fire (dispersion) and lustre. It is only second in hardness to diamonds, and harder than a sapphire and ruby.

We find that women love to buy Moissanite as an affordable alternative to diamonds, as it sits in a unique jewellery category compared with other fine jewellery. For those sighing and wondering if this is just another cubic zirconia-type jewel, here's a perspective on how Moissanite sits in the market place: for a loose 1 ct round brilliant stone, cubic zirconia is $7, Moissanite is $700, and a diamond $7,000.

Because buying Moissanite is affordable and not a life-changing decision (i.e. you don't have to forgo eating to buy a piece!), many women buy something for themselves rather than waiting around for someone to buy it for them. Every woman wants a luxurious jewel with outstanding sparkle, high durability and more importantly, affordability. Once in a while, a woman will treat herself to a beautiful fashion piece or designer handbag as a special reward. Now with Moissanite, we can afford to shout ourselves a stunning piece of fine jewellery, too.

Our clients are women from all age groups who are savvy, fashionable and lovers of magnificent jewellery. Another group who we have a strong appeal to are couples that make a decision together to buy Moissanite as their engagement ring. The money that they are saving can cover the entire cost of their wedding!

Our biggest stroke of luck for the business was discovering Moissanite and then realising that it was not being sold in Australia yet! Moissanite is in 67 countries and doing very well, so we were thrilled to get the exclusive distributorship for Australia and New Zealand.

Like any business, we have challenges and it sure is one to introduce a whole new stone to the Australian and New Zealand public (Moissanite has only been in the jewellery market for 10 years, beginning in the USA). Awareness is the key to the success of Moissanite. Its phenomenal success internationally only makes this challenge in Australia and New Zealand more exciting. We are always striving to educate the public.

One of the ways that we do this is through our Fine Jewellery Appreciation Workshops that Lauren runs in the store. These are held every Thursday night in our flagship store and they are free. We serve champagne and canapés and educate clients on what to look for when buying fine jewellery, how pieces are made, what setting suit different face shapes, etc. These have been hugely successful because people are excited about being able to buy themselves something gorgeous, with longevity and quality, and which isn't going to mean they have to mortgage the house. It makes them feel special and indulgent - something we all deserve.

A lot of people also buy from our shopping gallery online. We have found that because people like to ponder jewellery purchases, this has been a popular avenue both internationally and domestically.

We get great pleasure when we see our clients' faces light up when they try on our jewellery. It is a very positive business to be in. We know that we are offering a great product that is affordable, but will make you feel like a million dollars.