What is Moissanite? - The Real Jewelry Company

What is Moissanite?

What is Moissanite? - The Real Jewelry Company

Moissanite is a mineral composed of silicon carbide. Often referred to as the gemstone from the stars, it was discovered in 1893 inside of a meteorite in Canyon Diablo, Arizona, by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Henri Moissan. Initially mistakenly identifying his discovery as diamonds, it wasn’t until 1904 that Moissan determined the crystals were, in fact, silicon carbide. This naturally occurring mineral form of what we now call moissanite was named in honor of Moissan later in his life.

In its natural form, moissanite remains very rare. It wasn’t until 1958 that geologists found it outside of meteorites: first, in the Earth’s upper mantle near Wyoming, and then, the following year, as inclusions in rock in Russia.

Today, moissanite is exclusively grown in laboratories as an alternative to diamonds. Created in a controlled environment with advanced technology, it is easily traceable and requires no mining. This means moissanite has a smaller carbon footprint and lessened environmental impact than a naturally mined gem.

Increasingly popular as an alternative to diamonds, moissanite is now widely used in jewelry, especially as the center stone of engagement rings. 

 

IS MOISSANITE A DIAMOND?



No, a moissanite is not a diamond. Professionals grow them in laboratories because they are visually similar to diamonds, but compositionally they’re quite different. Diamonds are composed of carbon and moissanites are composed of silicon carbide.

While the untrained eye may visually perceive a moissanite as similar to a diamond, it has a higher refractive index — meaning it produces more rainbow ‘fire’ than a diamond when light hits the stone’s surface. Diamond is also physically harder than moissanite, which is a 9.25 on the Mohs hardness scale compared to a diamond’s rating of 10.

While they both feature dispersion, scintillation, and are both considered to be good thermal conductors, moissanites and diamonds are otherwise distinct.

 

HOW TO TELL MOSSANITE FROM DIAMONDS

If you are not trained in the differences between diamond and moissanite, telling the difference can be difficult.

The best way to tell the difference is to line up two similarly sized gemstones, one moissanite, and one diamond, and compare them side-by-side. The distinct sparkle of a diamond is a unique combination of reflected light, the colors that refract through it, and its scintillation. While moissanite exhibits light reflection, color refraction, and scintillation, it also features more than two times the amount of 'fire' than diamonds, meaning it shows more intense flashes of rainbow light than diamonds. This 'disco ball' effect, which is more prominent in moissanite with larger carat weights, is the best way to quickly distinguish between moissanite and diamond.

To officially confirm the difference between a moissanite and a diamond, take it to a trained professional. By examining the ‘doubling’ of opposing facet junctions with a loupe, they can validate if your stone is a moissanite or a diamond.

 

TIPS FOR SELECTING A MOISSANITE

While shopping for a moissanite is not unlike shopping for any other gemstone, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Unlike diamonds that are graded by independent institutions on cut, clarity, color and carat, moissanites are reviewed only for cut, color, and clarity. Then, at Brilliant Earth, they’re categorized by their color and rated as Premium or Super Premium. A Premium moissanite is similar to a G-H color diamond, while a Super Premium moissanite is in the D-E-F range. As the technology to create a moissanite is so advanced, there is very little variation in their quality.

Lastly, it’s most important to consider if moissanite is the right gemstone for you. To come to a conclusion, think about its difference from diamonds (its fire, scintillation, price, and durability) to determine if it’s your ideal fit.