What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral made from silicon carbide that people often use as a cheaper alternative to diamond. Moissanite can be hard to differentiate from diamond without careful inspection, and jewelers use it in engagement rings, necklaces, wristwatches, and other jewelry. Moissanite gemstones are hard and tough, making them ideal for use on jewelry that people wear daily.

History of Moissanite in Jewelry Production

Dr. Henri Moissan, a French scientist who won the Nobel Prize, made the first discovery of natural moissanite in 1893. Almost 130 years later, the mineral has only been discovered in two other places– the Green River Formation in Wyoming and a diamond mine in Yakutia. Because of how extremely rare natural moissanite is, all moissanite used worldwide is lab-created.

When Dr. Henri discovered moissanite, he first labeled it as diamond. It wasn’t until 1906 that he realized it was silicon carbide. Sadly, he died in 1907 while still trying to find ways to replicate this mineral in a laboratory. The name “moissanite” is a homage to Dr. Henri Moissan.

It took close to a century to make the first breakthrough in creating lab-grown moissanite gemstones on a commercial scale. Charles & Colvard secured the patents to produce moissanite and presented it to the jewelry industry as a diamond substitute in 1998. A single moissanite gemstone requires two to three months to form.

4Cs Of Moissanite

Like all other gemstones, not all moissanite are of the same value. Gemologists grade moissanite using the 4Cs of Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. This use of the 4Cs to evaluate moissanite is an imitation of the GIA grading system used for diamonds.

Carat

Carat measurement in diamonds deals with the weight of the stone. However, because moissanite is less dense than diamonds, it is challenging to compare the weights of the two stones. A moissanite’s “carat weight” is indicated by the stone’s size in millimeters due to the difference in densities. For instance, a 6.5mm moissanite is equivalent to a one-carat diamond.

Color

The color of a gemstone deals with how transparent it is. A color grading scale for moissanite exists based on the GIA diamond color grading standard. Currently, moissanite is available in three different color grades: colorless (D-E-F range), near-colorless (G-H-I range), and with traces of color (J-K range). 

Because moissanite comes from a controlled environment, most stones are very clear.

Clarity

Gemstone clarity indicates the number of imperfections in the stone; these imperfections are called inclusions. All naturally-occurring gemstones have inclusions; however, some moissanite are inclusion-free. Moissanites that have inclusions would require intense magnification for you to see them.

Moissanites have five categories of clarity grade, with number 1 being the clearest and number 5 with the most inclusions:

  1. FL, IF: Flawless and internally flawless
  2. VVS1, VVS2: Very, very slightly included
  3. VS1, VS2: Very slightly included
  4. SI1, SI2: Slightly included
  5. I1, I2, I3: Included

Cut

The cut grade ranges from Excellent to Poor, indicating how effectively the jewelers cut a stone. The stone sparkles and transmits light better with good cut grades. Alternately, improperly cut stones will not efficiently permit light to pass through the stone, producing dull-looking moissanite. The cut grade chart is as follows:

  1. Excellent
  2. Very Good
  3. Good
  4. Fair
  5. Poor

Shapes of Moissanite Stones

Moissanite Shapes

Manufacturers can cut moissanite into many different shapes. Below is a look at the most common shapes of moissanite stones.

Round 

Round moissanite is the most well-known shape because of its similarity to a round diamond. There are different varieties of round moissanite, with the brilliant-cut being the most expensive. 

Princess

The princess-cut moissanite follows the model of the princess diamond. Arpad Nagy created the Princess-cut diamond in 1961 and was one of the first cuts that mixed a step cut pattern with a standard round cut. 

Emerald

The emerald Moissanite cut, one of the first step cuts, gets its name from how emeralds were prepared and cut many years ago. This cut highlights the purity of a moissanite stone; however, emerald-cut moissanite doesn’t shine as much.

Asscher

The only true difference between an Asscher cut and an emerald cut Moissanite is that the Asscher cut seems more square. Asscher cut also has more facets, highlighting the gemstone’s brilliance.

Cushion

It is the ideal fusion of a square and a round cut. It has a lovely shine and looks great in a more vintage setting. 

Oval

Oval cuts are popular due to their symmetry and unique 70 facets. The shape of oval moissanite can alter the appearance of a finger by making it look longer and more slender.

Pear

The pear-cut moissanite is the marriage of a marquise and an oval. The shape exhibits the ideal amount of facets and brilliance. Pear-cut moissanite has a contemporary and elegant look to it.

Radiant 

Henry Grossbard introduced the radiant cut in 1977 and featured a more extended, slight step-cut. It features the shine of a round cut with some cutting edge.

Moissanite Vs Diamond

Moissanite vs Diamonds
Source: Haifeng County Meilong Liming Jewelry

It’s impossible to speak about moissanite without diamonds entering the conversation. The resemblance this stone has to diamond is a reason for its popularity; however, this brings with it a burden of comparison that’s impossible to shake off. With that in mind, let’s see how they compare.

1. Appearance

Moissanite stones have a unique faceting pattern that gives them a refractive index of 2.65-2.69. When exposed to light, moissanite emits a vivid, blazing burst of color that is unlike any other gemstone. These rainbow flashes are particularly alluring for people who want a huge, bold style for their engagement ring or other fine jewelry. 

However, a diamond’s brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation reflect light more intricately, giving the stone its renowned glitter.

2. Price 

The pricing system of moissanite and diamonds is not the same. The cost of moissanite does not rise exponentially with size. For instance, a two-carat diamond of very high grade would cost around ten times as much as moissanite of equal weight. The low cost of moissanite makes many consider them an inexpensive alternative to diamond.

Additionally, the cost of moissanite will only climb gradually, unlike diamonds, whose value can more than double as size increases by only one carat.

Carat SizeGIA Certified Diamond (Round, I-color, VS2)Classic MoissaniteNear Colorless MoissaniteForever One Colorless Moissanite
.5$1,100+$89$243$269
1.0$4,000+$269$539$599
1.5$10,000+$449$945$1,049
Source: Do Amore

3. Quality

Since moissanite stones originate from a controlled environment, most stones don’t have inclusions. This level of purity is something you cannot find in any natural diamond, as all naturally-occurring stones have some inclusions.

When you’re trying to purchase moissanite, you can don’t have to worry about clarity as you would do with a diamond. The bother about clarity is doesn’t exist because most jewelers would only sell clear moissanite, and you need strong magnification lenses to see the inclusions.

4. Strength 

The strength of both gemstones examines their hardness and toughness. Hardness has to do with the resistance of a stone to scratches and abrasions, and in this regard, diamond has a slight advantage. Moissanite has a 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness, while diamonds score 10, making them both hard to scratch and fit for daily use.

The hardness of the stones examines their resistance to breaking and chipping. In this regard, moissanite has an edge as they are harder to break or chip than diamonds.

Are There Colored Moissanites?

black moissanite
Black moissanite by Foshan Brilliance Jewelry

These days, moissanite come in a variety of colors. Manufacturers can create colored moissanite using a specific heating procedure known as ion induction. This treatment can create moissanite ranging from blue to yellow and even black.

Colored moissanite cannot lose its colors as you can only reverse the process if you expose the stone to extremely high temperatures. Heat below 1020 degrees Fahrenheit– the same as the sun’s surface– cannot affect the stone’s color. Pink diamonds are the exception as they result from a coating process that may fade or peel off as a result of use.

Is Moissanite Fake Diamond?

No, moissanite is not a fake diamond, just as sapphire and other sparkly gemstones aren’t. Many people have this view of moissanite because its physical characteristics and heat index closely resemble those of diamonds. Moissanites resemble diamonds so closely that some high-accuracy diamond testers can identify them as diamonds.

The untrained eye might not be able to distinguish between diamonds and moissanite. As a result, some dubious people label moissanite as diamonds, but that is only deception. All reputable jewelers have to label moissanite jewelry as moissanite and would not deceive a buyer that it’s diamond.

Read More: Types of Diamonds Cut And Sizes

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