What is Moissanite?

1. What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a gemstone made of silicon carbide, named by the French scientist Henri Moissan who first discovered it in a meteorite crater during 1893 in Arizona. Often compared to diamonds for their similar optical and physical properties, Moissanites are highly valued for their brilliance, durability, and flexibility that allows them to be fashioned into a variety of exquisite jewelry settings such as engagement rings, earrings, and necklaces. 

2. How is Moissanite made?

During the late 80s, scientists developed the thermal growing process of Moissanites that made it more available to consumers. A mixture of silicon carbide and other chemicals is heated to high temperatures and then allowed to cool, which causes moissanite crystals to form. This method is often used to create large moissanite crystals.

Another method is a process called "chemical vapor deposition", where a small diamond "seed" is placed in a chamber along with a mixture of gas that contain silicon and carbon. The gas is then heated to a high temperature, causing the silicon and carbon atoms to deposit onto the diamond seed and form a layer of silicon carbide. This process is repeated several times, layer upon layer, until a rough moissanite crystal is formed.

Once the moissanite crystals have been produced through either the thermal processing method or chemical vapor deposition, they are cut and polished to create the final gemstones. The finished Moissanites are then graded based on their quality and used in a variety of jewelry applications.


3. How long does Moissanite last?

Moissanites are often considered a “lifetime” gemstone due to its durability and longevity. It is highly resistant to scratches, abrasions, chipping, heat, chemicals, and other environmental factors. With a score of 9.25 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, Moissanite is harder than any gemstone, second to diamond. As long as it is properly cared for, a Moissanite can retain its beauty, color, and brilliance for a very long time.


4. Brilliance & Fire

Moissanite is known for its exceptional brilliance and fire dispersion. Its brilliance (or sparkle) has a higher refractive index than that of a diamond, which means it reflects more light and has more fire (or spectral flashes of color) than a diamond. Moissanite has a refractive index of 2.65-2.69, while a diamond has a refractive index of 2.42, which makes Moissanite the most brilliant gemstone in the world!
Additionally, moissanite has a high level of dispersion, which refers to the separation of white light into its spectral colors. Moissanite has a dispersion rating of 0.104, which is significantly higher than that of a diamond, which has a dispersion rating of 0.044. This means that moissanite displays more colorful flashes of light or "rainbow" colors than a diamond.
The combination of high refractive index and high dispersion gives moissanite its signature brilliance and fire. When light enters a moissanite gemstone, it is reflected and refracted many times, creating a dazzling display of light and color. This makes moissanite an excellent choice for those looking for a gemstone that has exceptional sparkle and beauty.

5. Comparisons to Diamond

Moissanites are created in a controlled environment that recreates the same conditions that produce gemstones that have physical, chemical, and optical properties identical to those mined/found in nature. Only a certified gemologist with a powerful microscope can tell the difference between lab created and mined gemstones. 
A significant difference that can be considered is that the creation of Moissanite does not contribute to environmental degradation or unethical mining practices. You get the same appearance and durability of mined stones without the price tag.