You may have heard about the diamond substitute called moissanite, but perhaps are not familiar with what exactly the substance is, how long it has been in use, and why it is a popular alternative to diamonds.
Truely, moissanite has the “diamond look” but it is a different material.
Let’s have a deeper look to this shiny stone.
Moissanite is a naturally-occurring silicon carbide that was discovered in 1893 by Henri Moissan, a French chemist. Silicon carbide is used in many industrial applications because of how it can conduct heat, its hardness and durability, and the optical properties it offers, which also makes it a popular substitute for diamonds in jewelry, although it does stand on its own when it comes to inherent beauty.
The discovery of moissanite occurred in 1893 when Moissan was looking over some rocks in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. He saw what he thought were diamonds and kept the samples for nearly 10 years before discovering that they were made of silicon carbide. Just before Moissan determined that the substance was silicon carbide, it had been artificially produced in the lab.
For decades, it was believed that moissanite was only present in meteors and not naturally developing on Earth.
However, starting in 1958 moissanite was found along the Green River Formation in Wyoming, and a year later in a diamond mine in Yakutia. While such discoveries were questioned, it is now presumed that moissanite does exist in nature, although rarely.
It was not until 1998 that moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market as the production of the material became more cost effective.
Over time, the cost of moissanite has come down considerably, which has made it quite popular and useful in so many applications. Because it can be produced, the substance is available in far greater quantities than diamonds and is used in many different applications, which include electronics along with jewelry.
Since moissanite is made from silicon carbide, which can be produced, most of the applications you see today that use this substance come from artificial sources since moissanite is so rarely found in nature.
As it does have a similar structure to diamond, it can hold up to high pressure and an impressive range of colors.
It is commonly used in industries that require large, hardened gems for drills, anvils, motors, and other products. Because diamonds are expensive and rare, moissanite has become a popular alternative. This is especially true for electronic devices because it can convey electrical impulses efficiently.
Because moissanite can be easily mistaken for diamonds by the untrained eye, it has been used as part of scams. This is why those who purchase diamond jewelry or any product where diamonds play an important role, need to ensure that it is not crafted from moissanite.
Heat and electrical conductivity can distinguish the difference between diamonds and moissanite, but it is otherwise a very similar material.
Moissanite vs. Diamonds
A great deal has been made about the similarities between moissanite and diamonds, but what are the differences?
In fact, is there a significant enough difference in terms of jewelry that you should prefer one over the other?
Brilliance: This refers to the ability of the stone to reflect white light or “sparkle.” While diamonds are quite brilliant, moissanite may be more so and is easier to maintain because it does not have the rough edges that attract dirt and grease.
Color: Colorwise there is an important difference: Moissanite is not graded by color in the same manner as diamonds. However, as with diamonds, the smaller the gemstone, the less color it will contain or be visible.
Standard moissanite has a color similarity to K-color diamonds, but there are nearly colorless versions that are available.
In the end, both diamonds and moissanite have similar color variations depending on the stone that you order.
Hardness: Diamonds are the hardest known mineral on earth, scoring at the top of the scale with a “10”. Moissanite is close behind with a 9.25 rating that makes it quite hard and durable, although admittedly not quite like diamonds. Still, for many people the hardness factor is nearly indistinguishable.
Cost: This is the biggest difference between moissanite and diamonds based on the classic cut and clarity along with other considerations. Moissanite costs a fraction compared to diamonds, often just 10% to 20% of the cost for similar carat size which makes it a real bargain for those who do not have the budget to afford diamonds.
In the end, if you want diamond jewelry, that is a matter of personal taste and selection. While moissanite is not quite a diamond, it is quite close and makes a great product for some excellent jewelry.
Once it was introduced in 1998, moissanite quickly became popular thanks to its similarities to diamonds and lower price. It was Charles & Colvard that first introduced moissanite to the jewelry world when they were known as C3 Inc.
Today, the company distributes the moissanite under the trademark Forever One. However, there are other versions of moissanite from different companies that use trademarks such as Berzelian and Amora.
Moissanite is sold by most fine jewelry stores that cater to those who may not be able to afford diamonds and want a high-quality alternative.
Because moissanite is so close in terms of hardness, color, and beauty, it has become quite popular on its own. It does help that it only costs a fraction compared to diamonds and it stands on its own as a remarkable piece of jewelry.
If you are looking for jewelry crafted from diamonds, but cannot afford the price, you may want to consider moissanite as an alternative. It offers similar qualities to diamonds, but at a lower price.
Moissanite is beautiful, nearly as hard as diamonds, and long-lasting so that you can enjoy them for a lifetime. It’s little wonder that so many people have chosen to go with moissanite over diamonds for their jewelry needs.