Tech Tips: Moissanite Frequently Asked Questions
Charles & Colvard created moissanite is getting a lot of attention. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q: What is moissanite? Where did the name moissanite come from?
A: Created moissanite is silicon carbide formed as a single crystal. Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral found in limited quantities in the earth. Discovered in 1893 by Dr. Henri Moissan, the jewel was later named in his honor. The natural quantities of moissanite are too small to create jewelry. The jewel was created through a combination of science and art.
Q: How can they claim that moissanite is "rare"when silicon carbide is a very common abrasive?
A: Abrasives formed of silicon carbide powder are inexpensive to manufacture. Large single-crystal silicon carbide is extremely difficult to produce. Charles & Colvard have U.S. and international patent protection for moissanite jewels.
Q: Is it a synthetic diamond?
A: No. A lab-created jewel is cut to take advantage of the exceptional properties most of us like to see in fine jewelry.
Q: Is created moissanite available in different colors?
A: Yes, it is available as near colorless or as a limited number of green and yellow tints.
Q: How is moissanite made?
A: Single-crystal moissanite is manufactured through a patented thermal growing process, the specifics of which are proprietary. The process is very difficult and is performed by only one company in the world.
Q: How is moissanite graded on the GIA diamond color grading scale?
A: Moissanite is not graded on the GIA color scale. It is available in a near-colorless form that is brilliant and highly dispersive - thus, a beautiful jewel.
Q: How is moissanite graded for clarity?
A: Each individual jewel is examined using a 10x loupe for inclusions or damage that may affect the optical performance of the jewel.
Q: How hard is moissanite?
A: Charles & Colvard created moissanite is measured at 9.25 on the Mohs scale-harder than all other materials used as gemstones, except diamond.
Q: How can moissanite be distinguished from other colorless jewels?
A: Ceated moissanite can be identified by: moissanite testers; a specific gravity test with a calibrated medium such as methylene iodide; doubly-refractive; and needle-like inclusions.
Q: Does it fluoresce?
A: Rarely - This is not an identifiable characteristic.
Q: Is it irradiated?
Q: Why should I use this instead of other colorless materials?
A: Moissanite has brilliance, hardness, and dispersion unlike any jewel on the market. Every store should have samples and will sell it once they show it. This product is a unique lab-created jewel with properties people expect to see in fine jewelry.
Q: Why is the price so much higher than CZ?
A: There is no comparison; moissanite is a much higher quality product.
Q: Why do you call it a "jewel"rather than a gemstone/stone?
A: Terms such as gem/gemstone/stone should be avoided as their use is subject to Federal Trade Commission and Industry regulation to prevent consumer confusion.
Q: Do larger stones tend to show more color than the smaller stones?
A: Yes, as with all other materials, larger jewels tend to show more color. All moissanite will have some color saturation.
Q: What materials can scratch moissanite?
A: Carborundum abrasives and any harder materials can scratch moissanite.
Q: Why is moissanite cut to the proportions and dimensions it is?
A: The unique cut of Charles & Colvard moissanite is specifically designed to maximize the performance derived from the superior optical properties of moissanite: fire, brilliance, luster.
Editors Note: Tech Tips of this article originally appeared in the August 2000 issue of Finding Facts.