Moissanite History and Facts
1st of all what is moissanite?
Moissanite is also known as silicon carbide. In nature, silicon carbide is created over millennia by a combination of extreme heat and pressure. Researchers re-create those conditions in a controlled, profoundly accelerated process which produces durable, super-hard crystals with a minimum of ecological impact…and absolutely no mining. In a research laboratory located in Central North Carolina, scientists perfected and patented the innovative process that creates silicon carbide crystals, for Charles & Colvard®, with such purity that it rivals any earthly gemstone for fire and brilliance. These gems are more durable than diamond, sapphire, ruby, or emerald.
How did moissanite get its name?
Natural silicon carbide is impossibly rare on Earth; in fact, it first gained fame when tiny particles were discovered by the Nobel Prize-winning French chemist Dr. Henri Moissan at the site of a massive meteorite strike in Arizona. This intriguing new stone was named Moissanite in his honour, and Moissan spent the rest of his life attempting to re-create this rare mineral, which is among the hardest materials on Earth.
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-colourless 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 gems. 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’s proprietary manufacturing process and moissanite’s use as a gem currently make Charles & Colvard® the leading 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 master gem cutters.
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.
How is moissanite graded for clarity?
The Charles & Colvard® manufacturing facility is managed by a Graduate Gemmologist certified by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA). Each gem is studied by a trained gem examiner using a 10x jeweller’s loupe for any inclusions that may affect moissanite’s optical performance
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) colours, and reflects back to the viewer. Moissanite’s dispersion is 0.104 and has 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?
No moissanite’s fire exceeds that of all popular gemstones, including diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald. Fire can be measured scientifically; with a dispersion of 0.104, moissanite has 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.
Colour & Clarity
Will moissanite fade or change colour over time?
No. There are no likely situations in which the colour of moissanite will be permanently changed. Moissanite does undergo a temporary colour change when exposed to extreme heat (for example, from a jeweller’s torch during jewellery repair), but with proper bench techniques there will be no lasting damage, and the gem will return to its normal colour once it cools.
Is moissanite graded on the GIA diamond colour grading scale?
There are three grades of moissanite available today. Forever One™, Forever Brilliant®, and Forever Classic™. Charles & Colvard Forever Classic™ occupies the faint and near colourless J–K range. Charles & Colvard Forever Brilliant® spans the versatile, near-colourless G–H–I range. And the colourless D–E–F range is Charles & Colvard Forever One™.
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 except diamond.
Does moissanite break easily?
No. Moissanite is one of the toughest known gemstones. 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 gemstones, 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 makes moissanite unlikely to suffer damage during jewellery repair.
How can moissanite be distinguished from other colourless gemstones?
There are five (5) methods:
1. Use a tester specifically designed to distinguish moissanite from diamond.
2. Determine if doubling of facet junctions is visible through magnification.
3. Use a jeweller’s loupe to examine the girdle of the stone. Forever One™ and Forever Brilliant® moissanite stones are engraved on the girdle for easy identification.
4. Examine for needle-like inclusions, typically perpendicular to the table facet, which are visible in moissanite under 10x loupe magnification.
5. 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 created moissanite are very similar to those of diamond, and moissanite will test positive as diamond using a thermal diamond tester.
Are fancy cuts available?
Yes. Moissanite is available in various 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?
The 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.
Moissanite Repairs & Care
How should I care for my moissanite jewellery?
You may clean moissanite the same way you would diamond or any other fine gemstone. As with any fine jewellery item, an ultrasonic cleaner can be used; however, be gentle with your valuable treasures – do not simply toss all your jewellery in at once, as this could lead to chipping. You can also clean your moissanite jewellery using a commercial (non-acid based) jewellery 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 jewellery repair.
Can moissanite gemstones be re-set into new jewellery?
Yes. Re-setting your moissanite gemstone into a new piece of jewellery can be done by an experienced jeweller. Jewellery designers and manufacturers create their design jewellery collections featuring Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® using techniques very similar to those practiced by bench jewellers.