Moissanite Knowledge & History
MOISSANITE HISTORY & FACTS
What is moissanite?
Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® is a unique near-colorless gemstone grown from a small seed crystal in a controlled environment that mimics nature, then cut, polished, and distributed by Charles & Colvard®, the world’s exclusive source of moissanite. Moissanite, also known as silicon carbide (SiC), is a naturally occurring mineral found in extremely limited quantities in the earth. Moissanite is not a diamond simulant or diamond substitute; it is its own jewel. The rarity of large natural moissanite crystals makes their use in jewelry making impossible.
For years, scientists tried to re-create this extraordinarily brilliant material. Only recently through the power of advanced technology has Charles & Colvard® developed a way to duplicate this amazing jewel by manufacturing large, gem-quality crystals in a controlled environment.
How did moissanite get its name?
Natural moissanite was discovered in 1893 by prominent French scientist Dr. Henri Moissan, who later won a Nobel Prize. Dr. Moissan began studying geological fragments of a meteorite taken from a crater in the Arizona desert. In these fragments, he discovered minute quantities of a shimmering material. At first, he thought the material was diamond. After extensive research, however, Dr. Moissan concluded that this material was silicon carbide. In 1905, well-known Tiffany & Co. gem expert and mineralogist George Kunz, suggested the gemstone be named moissanite in Dr. Moissan’s honor.
Is moissanite natural or man-made?
Moissanite does occur in nature; however, the crystals are extremely small and scarce. Today, moissanite is grown through a proprietary and patented thermal growth process, then fashioned into beautiful gems and distributed exclusively by Charles & Colvard®.
Is moissanite a brand of diamond or a simulated diamond?
No. Moissanite is not a substitute for diamond, either scientifically, chemically, or emotionally. Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® is a unique, near-colorless gem with its own set of chemical properties, and that exhibits more fire and brilliance than any other gemstone.
How does Charles & Colvard create moissanite?
A patented thermal growing process is used to create single-crystal raw moissanite gem. The process is lengthy, complicated, and expensive, which limits the output (it takes 2-3 months for the creation of a single gem). Charles & Colvard® proprietary patents for the moissanite manufacturing process and for moissanite’s use as a gem currently make Charles & Colvard® the sole source and global distributor of created moissanite.
In creating moissanite, what steps are taken to ensure the product is of the highest quality?
Years of development have led to a rigorous process for the production of created moissanite, which follows exacting specifications and very high standards of quality control. The Charles & Colvard® Certificate of Authenticity certifies that every gem is an original product manufactured in meticulously controlled facilities by highly skilled specialists. Post production, all created moissanite undergoes stringent testing for quality and purity, along with four rounds of grading, before being released for sale.
Are moissanite gems hand cut or machine cut?
Because hand-cutting is the only way to release the brilliance that intensifies a gem’s fire, each and every Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® gemstone is hand-cut by a master gem cutter.
Is moissanite an ideal cut stone?
Carefully and precisely hand-faceted, each Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite gemstone is cut according to the exact angles and proportions specific to moissanite to maximize its brilliance and enhance its incredible fire. While ideally cut diamonds reflect hearts & arrows, moissanite stones are cut ideally to reflect more light than an ideal cut diamond. The most popular moissanite cut is the traditional round brilliant cut. View our shapes and sizes chart here.
How is moissanite graded for clarity?
The Charles & Colvard® manufacturing facility is managed by a Graduate Gemologist certified by the Gemological Institute of America. Each gem is studied by a trained gem examiner using a 10x jeweler’s loupe for any inclusions that may affect moissanite’s optical performance.
How does moissanite compare to other gemstones on key gemological properties?
The chart below compares moissanite with other popular gemstones, including diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire, on key characteristics such as hardness, fire, brilliance, and luster.
What property of moissanite makes it sparkle with such exceptional brilliance?
The most significant optical property affecting a gemstone’s brilliance, or sparkle, is the Refractive Index, or RI. The RI of moissanite ranges from 2.65 to 2.69, meaning it displays more brilliance than diamond (with an RI of 2.42) or any other popular gemstone.
Will the brilliance of moissanite ever fade?
No. Charles & Colvard® provides a Limited Lifetime Warranty which guarantees that every Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® gemstone will maintain its brilliance and fire for its lifetime.
What gives moissanite its fire?
A gemstone’s fire is determined by a quality called dispersion. Dispersion refers to the prism effect that occurs when pure white light enters a non-opaque object, breaks into spectral (rainbow) colors, and reflects back to the viewer. Moissanite displays 2.4 times the fire of diamond (0.044), and much more dispersion than ruby (0.018), sapphire (0.018), and emerald (0.014).
Do other gemstones have more fire than Moissanite?
Moissanite’s fire exceeds that of any popular gemstone, including diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald. Fire can be measured scientifically; with a dispersion of 0.104, moissanite displays nearly 2.4 times the fire of diamond. No other gemstone or jewel compares to Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® with regard to fire.
Will a moissanite gemstone ever lose its fire?
No. Charles & Colvard® provides a Limited Lifetime Warranty which guarantees that every Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® stone will maintain its fire and brilliance forever.
COLOR & CLARITY
Will moissanite fade or change color over time?
No. There are no likely situations in which the color of moissanite will be permanently changed. Moissanite does undergo a temporary color change when exposed to extreme heat (for example, from a jeweler’s torch during jewelry repair), but with proper bench techniques there will be no lasting damage, and the gem will return to its normal color once it cools.
Is moissanite graded on the GIA diamond color grading scale?
No. While diamonds may have undertones of brown or yellow, Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® may have undertones ranging from green to yellow to gray to teal. Thus, the GIA diamond color grading scale is not appropriate for grading moissanite.
Does moissanite have inclusions?
Yes. Moissanite has needle-like inclusions that can be seen under magnification; however, they are not visible to the naked eye, and do not affect the clarity of the stone. It’s worth noting that nearly every gem has some sort of inclusion. They are unique characteristics which occur in the formation of the crystalline structure.
HARDNESS (RESISTANCE TO SCRATCHING) & TOUGHNESS (RESISTANCE TO BREAKING)
Is moissanite resistant to scratching?
Yes. Moissanite is durable, tough, and extremely resistant to scratching and abrasion. With a hardness of 9.25, moissanite is harder than all other gemstones but diamond.
Does moissanite break easily?
No. Moissanite is one of the toughest known jewels. Studies in high pressure research have shown that moissanite is highly resistant to breaking and chipping.
Is moissanite heat resistant?
Yes. Moissanite exhibits more heat resistance than many other jewels, including diamond. Tests prove that at 2000ºF (higher than the equivalent intensity of a house fire) moissanite gems remain intact and as brilliant as the day they were created. This heat tolerance make moissanite unlikely to suffer damage during jewelry repair.
How can moissanite be distinguished from other colorless gemstones?
There are five (5) methods:
- Use a tester specifically designed to distinguish moissanite from diamond.
- Determine if doubling of facet junctions is visible through magnification.
- Use a jeweler’s loupe to examine the girdle of the stone. Forever Brilliant® moissanite stones are engraved on the girdle for easy identification.
- Examine for needle-like inclusions, typically perpendicular to the table facet, which are visible in moissanite under 10x loupe magnification.
- Examine for specific refractive and gravity indices.
Is it true that moissanite can test positive as diamond using some conventional equipment?
Yes. The physical properties of near-colorless created moissanite are very similar to those of diamond, and moissanite will test positive as diamond using a thermal diamond tester.
What is the difference between Classic Moissanite™ and Forever Brilliant® Moissanite?
Classic Moissanite™ is the original brand of created moissanite manufactured and distributed by Charles & Colvard. As the first successful creation of a pure, laboratory-produced moissanite gem, Classic Moissanite remains a popular choice for jewelers, retailers, and customers. Classic Moissanite’s accessible price point also makes it an attractive choice for budget-minded consumers.
Forever Brilliant® Moissanite is the world’s finest grade of moissanite. This moissanite brand is brighter and up to four shades whiter than Classic Moissanite™. A technical breakthrough ten years in the making, Forever Brilliant® Moissanite is also known as the World’s Most Brilliant Gem®.
Is moissanite available in colors?
Yes. In addition to Classic Moissanite™ and Forever Brilliant®, we offer treated (coated) moissanite in a number of colors, and occasionally, a very limited quantity of natural green, blue, gray, and/or yellow. The majority of moissanite sold is near-colorless, however.
Are fancy cuts available?
Yes. Moissanite is available in twelve shapes and dozens of sizes. The most popular cut continues to be the round brilliant cut, but fancy cuts such as cushion, emerald, pear, heart, marquise, baguette, oval, radiant, triangle, and square brilliant are available as well.
Why is moissanite sold by millimeter rather than by carat weight?
Carat is the traditional unit of measurement for a diamond’s weight. Moissanite is not measured in carats because it weighs approximately ten percent less than diamond. For example, a 6.5mm round diamond would weigh 1.0 ct, while a 6.5mm round moissanite would weigh only 0.88 ct. The two stones would be the same size – 6.5mm in diameter. All stones for sale are listed with their size in mm and/or the diamond equivalent weight (DEW) in carats.
Will moissanite retain its value over time?
Due to its rarity, unrivaled beauty, and patent protection, Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® is expected to retain or increase its value over time.
MOISSANITE REPAIRS & CARE
How should I care for my moissanite jewelry?
You may clean moissanite the same way you would diamond or any other fine gemstone. As with any fine jewelry item, an ultrasonic cleaner can be used; however, be gentle with your valuable treasures – do not simply toss all your jewelry in at once, as this could lead to chipping. You can also clean your moissanite jewelry using a commercial (non-acid based) jewelry cleaner, or with mild soap and water using a soft toothbrush.
Can moissanite withstand repairs and sizing?
Yes. Moissanite is an extremely stable material. It is durable, tough, and highly resistant to scratching, abrasion, breaking, and chipping. Its high heat tolerance makes moissanite very unlikely to experience damage during jewelry repair.
Can moissanite gemstones be re-set into new jewelry?
Yes. Re-setting your moissanite gemstone into a new piece of jewelry can be done by an experienced jeweler. Jewelry designers and manufacturers create their design jewelry collections featuring Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® using techniques very similar to those practiced by bench jewelers.