Moissanite is a rare, naturally occurring mineral also known as
silicon carbide, which was first discovered by the Nobel
Prize-winning chemist Dr. Henri Moissan at the site of a massive
meteorite strike in Arizona. This intriguing new stone was named
moissanite in his honor, and Moissan spent the rest of his life
attempting to recreate this rare mineral in his laboratory. It
wasn't until the late 90's that scientists - working in a research
laboratory located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina -
developed the innovative thermal growing process that creates
silicon carbide crystals. These crystals are fashioned into
moissanite gemstones that rival any natural gemstone for fire and
brilliance. These man-made gems are more durable than diamond,
sapphire, ruby or emerald.
A gemstone's fire is determined by a gemological property called
dispersion. Dispersion refers to the prism effect that occurs when
pure white light enters a non-opaque object, breaks into spectral
(rainbow) colors, and reflects back to the viewer. Moissanite's
dispersion is 0.104, which exceeds that of any gemstone, including
diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald.
Moissanite's fire exceeds that of any popular gemstone, including
diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald. Fire can be measured
scientifically; with a dispersion of 0.104, moissanite has 2.4
times the fire of diamond. No other gemstone or jewel compares lab
created Moissanite with regard to fire.
The most significant optical property affecting a gemstone's
brilliance, or sparkle, is the refractive index or RI. The RI of
moissanite ranges from 2.65 to 2.69, meaning it displays more
brilliance than diamond (with an RI of 2.42) or any other popular
Moissanite is durable, tough and extremely resistant to scratching
and abrasion. With a hardness of 9.25, moissanite is harder than
all other gemstones except diamond. Moissanite gemstones will
maintain its fire and brilliance forever.
Moissanite is one of the toughest known gemstones. Studies in high
pressure research have shown that moissanite is highly resistant to
breaking and chipping.
Moissanite exhibits more heat resistance than many other gemstones,
including diamond. Tests prove that at 2000ºF - higher than the
equivalent intensity of a house fire - moissanite gems remain
intact and as brilliant as the day they were created.
Resetting your moissanite gemstone(s) into a new piece of jewelry
can be done by an experienced jeweler.
You may clean moissanite the same way you would diamond or any
other fine gemstone. As with any fine jewelry item, an ultrasonic
cleaner can be used. However, it is best to be gentle with your
valuable treasures. You can also clean your moissanite jewelry
using a commercial (non-acid based) jewelry cleaner or with mild
soap and water using a soft toothbrush.