Synthetic silicon carbide crystal minerals have made their way into mainstream jewels providing a budget conscious alternative to natural diamonds. Known as moissanite, this man made crystal jewel is a replication of the original silicon carbide crystals found in meteorites illuminating as tiny diamonds.
As a diamond stimulant, moissanite is not a cheap version of a cubic zirconium. Instead, the moissanite, due to the cost associated with laboratory production, runs in costs similar to, but not quite, as expensive as natural diamonds. Difficult to differentiate from a diamond, the moissanite is almost as hard as a diamonds and conducts heat as a diamond would do. Because of this similarity, the moissanite, when under testing by a jeweler, is often mistaken for a diamond.
This disadvantage to a moissanite versus a natural occurring stone is in the potential for consumer fraud following the purchase. With brilliance, hardness and heat conduction similar to that of a diamond, many consumers, shopping for diamonds, are falling prey to the fraudulent sale of moissanite stones poised as a natural diamond. This, unfortunately, may be occurring at significant rates with such resale vendors as EBay.
To avoid falling prey to the fraudulent sale of a moissanite stone posed as a natural diamond, there are additional tests which can be done to confirm the basis of the stone in question. One such test, of the moissanite, involves the examination of the refractive degree. With natural diamonds occurring as isometric, the moissanite upon close examination will appear as a hexagonal refraction with faceted edges that appear as double which is in direct contrast to the single edge of the natural diamond.
So, where did the moissanite obtain its name?
Naturally, the moissanite was first discovered by Dr. Ferdinand Henri Moissan in a meteorite which fell in Arizona in 1905. From this time, the moissanite was produced synthetically but did not change names. As a result, the natural occurring moissanite is rare but is named exact without regard to synthetic versus natural production. In most cases, however, the moissanite created is so identical to the natural moissanite that a difference is not easily identified even within the family of this stone.
As with any fine jewelry purchase, choosing a stone which has been examined and appraised by a jeweler is critical to ensuring your purchase is made with the appropriate information. When in doubt, obtain a second opinion to determine if the stone you are purchasing is a natural diamond, natural moissanite or synthetic moissanite. Once the facts are in, weighing the options may find the synthetic moissanite will provide the same degree of satisfaction as that of the natural diamond.