Moissanite is a gemstone born from the stars. It was first discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered microscopic particles of the gem that would eventually bear his name in Arizona, in a crater created by a meteorite that fell to Earth. He initially thought that he had discovered diamonds, but later determined that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide.
Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, so moissanite available today is laboratory-created. After many years of trial and error, the particles Moissan discovered were successfully synthesized to produce what is now one of the world’s most scintillating gemstones.
Moissanite is engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but is compositionally and visually quite different from a real diamond. The durability, brilliance, and color of the two gems are quite distinct.
Benefits of Moissanite:
Gemstones are measured on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which assesses a gem’s ability to withstand surface scratching.
On the Mohs scale, moissanite scores a 9.25, a very good score that makes it one of the hardest substances on earth, and very suitable for everyday wear as an engagement ring.
Brilliance refers to the appearance of light reflected from the interior of the gem.
Moissanites exhibit a different kind of brilliance than diamonds do, as their faceting pattern is different. The fiery, rainbow flashes emitted by moissanites are beloved by some, but others feel that moissanite’s heightened brilliance can create a “disco ball” effect, especially in sunlight. The bigger the moissanite, the more likely it is that the difference will be noticeable. Moissanite has a refractive index from 2.65 – 2.69, which is higher than a diamond.
While moissanites are labeled as “colorless”, the gems can still project a yellow or grayish hue in certain lights. Here again, the larger the moissanite, the more noticeable the color.
For the same size from the top view, moissanites are dramatically lower in pricing than diamonds of that size. Moissanite gems typically vary in price only based on size and whether the stone is Premium or Super Premium.
Because moissanites are lab created, they are an appealing option for those seeking an eco-conscious gemstone as they require no mining.