Moissanite is an exceptionally beautiful and extremely rare mineral, which occurs naturally in the form of silicon carbide. Almost 2.5 times more brilliant than a diamond, this near-colorless gem has its own distinctive properties and splendor that make it truly one-of-a-kind.
Moissanite was named after French chemist Henri Moissan, who discovered it in the year 1893. During the examination of rock samples from a meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona, he spotted this crystal and mistook it for a diamond. It was only after 11 years that he was able to identify it as silicon carbide.
Till the 1950s, moissanites were believed to be found nowhere other than in meteorites. However, in 1958 it was discovered as inclusions in kimberlite from a diamond mine in Yakutia, Russia and in the Green River Formation in Wyoming.
Its extremely scarce discovery, in upper mantle rocks and meteorites, caused much speculation. The rarity of this gem also led scientists to find a way to synthetically create it using particles of naturally occurring moissanites.
Moissanite has a refractive index that is higher than that of a diamond and other popular gems such as sapphire and ruby. This particular property determines the brilliance of a gem, and with a refractive index of 2.65 to 2.69, a moissanite certainly outshines every other stone. The same can be said about its dispersion (fire), which refers to the spectral (rainbow) colors that reflect back when light enters a non-opaque object. Moissanite has a dispersion of 0.104, which exceeds all other gemstones.
Why Choose Moissanite?
Moissanites are quickly gaining popularity among the masses for a host of reasons, some of which are mentioned below:
Moissanite in its natural form is very rare; therefore all of the currently available stones are lab created. Due to this, they have minimal impact on the environment.
This splendid gem does not just have exceptional brilliance and fire; it is also affordable and costs only a fraction of a diamond’s price.
Highly durable, they are resistant to chipping and scratches. This makes them a wonderful option for daily-wear jewelry.
The beautiful moissanite is so close to diamonds in appearance that it is practically impossible to differentiate between the two with the naked eye.
Hardness & Strength
Pure synthetic moissanites are created through a process which involves the thermal decomposition of the preceramic polymer poly (methylsilyne). This was first successfully undertaken by one of the founders of modern chemistry – Jöns Jacob Berzelius.
The crystalline structure of this gem requires no binding matrix and is held together with strong covalent bonds that are similar to that of a diamond. This property makes moissanite one of the hardest substances known to mankind. It is durable and extremely resistant to breakage, chipping and scratches. With a rating of 9.5 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, this gem’s strength is extremely commendable.
This gem has a stable color that does not usually change. It must be noted that tests have been conducted to prove that moissanites are more resistant to heat than several gemstones, including diamond. The brilliance of a moissanite remained unaffected even when subjected to heat at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s a rare possibility that the stone may change color temporarily if subjected to extreme heat, however it will return to its original hue when cooled.
Quality & Grading
The majority of moissanites sold today are near-colorless. But at times, they do have undertones of yellow or gray that are visible under certain lights. Color does play a role in determining the value of a moissanite with the colorless and near-colorless versions demanding a higher price than the tinted ones.
Typically, moissanites sold in the market are eye-clean, which means they do not have inclusions visible to the naked eye. Upon magnification, however, you may find needle-like inclusions that are inherent to the crystal’s growth process. The clarity of a moissanite is graded by examining the inclusions that can potentially affect the gem’s optical appeal.
Moissanite is a hard gem and can be cut into any desired shape, but round brilliant remains the most popular one. It is also available in other shapes, such as oval, pear, princess, cushion, heart and marquise.
Moissanites have low density and therefore weigh less. The carat weight of this gem is 10% less than that of a diamond.
At Angara, we adorn our expertly crafted jewelry designs with Charles & Colvard Created Moissanites. They are available in the following categories:
These moissanites are truly exceptional in color and clarity. They exhibit 10% more brilliance than a diamond, and have been cut remarkably to elevate their fire and purity. Their color can be described as “next to white”.
Off white in color, these gems are well-cut and radiate high brilliance.
Moissanite is a remarkably beautiful gemstone that is extremely tough and durable. However, it needs to be cared for like any gemstone. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that it sparkles for years to come.
Avoid wearing your moissanite jewelry (especially rings) when engaging in any kind of strenuous activity.
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner can be used for this gem.
You can also clean it with mild soap, water and a soft bristle toothbrush.
Store your moissanite jewelry separately as it can cause scratches to other soft gemstones.
Consider getting your moissanite jewelry examined by a professional jeweler at least once a year.
A moissanite must be cherished as a unique gem with distinct chemical and optical properties. Its matchless fire and brilliance will continue to capture hearts with effortless ease.