Moissanite Colors, Shapes, and Sizes
Moissanite is one of the many synthetic gemstones produced. However, Moissanite is just any ordinary gemstone, its unique qualities, attractive looks, and industrial applications, make it one of the more promising synthetic minerals ever created.
Moissanite is a little over 100 years old and includes two elements, silica sand, and carbon. When these two elements are combined at very high temperatures, they create crystals that are very strong and very beautiful.
Moissanite usually comes in either one of two colors. When Moissanite crystals are very small, let’s say less than a carat, they are always clear. However, as the crystal increases in size, it has a green tinge to it.
Moissanite has been on the market commercially since 1998 with the trademarked name Moissanite. Moissanite is named after its founder Dr. Henri Moissan. He discovered this new element in 1905 on a meteor that fell to earth.
Moissanite looks very similar to diamonds and is created to be a diamond substitute. Unlike Zircon, you can’t easily tell the difference between Moissanite and Diamonds. In fact, when they first came onto the market, they sometimes confused professionals. However, there are sure-fire ways to figure out which is which.
Moissanite is extremely hard and has a hardness rating of 9, where a diamond has 10. Besides hardness, Moissanite is extremely clear and has no inclusions. This makes for a perfect-looking stone, even in larger sizes. It should be noted that the refraction or fire of the Moissanite is even higher than that of a diamond.
How is Moissanite Made?
Moissanite is not a naturally occurring mineral. However, it is a synthetic mineral that is used in a wide variety of applications from commercial jewelry to industrial applications.
For the most part, Moissanite is made from Silica sand and Carbon, it is trademarked as Carborundum. The easiest way to create Carborundum is through mixing silica sand and carbon and then heating them at extremely high temperatures usually between 1600 Celsius and 2500 Celsius. In order to create heat this hot, usually, an Acheson furnace is employed. The Acheson furnace uses a graphite resistor as its heat source and the material closest to the heat source are sometimes different colors and purer, items farthest away from the graphite heat source are usually doped with aluminum or iron and less pure.
The gemstone Moissanite is extremely attractive and is very similar to clear diamonds. In fact, the two gemstones are so similar, Moissanite is known as a substitute rather than just a simulation.
Moissanite also has lots of great attributes, most notably being able to be formed as a truly clear stone without any inclusions. Moissanite also has a great shine and lots of fire, more so than a diamond itself.
The Uses of Moissanite
Moissanite is the commercial name for silicon carbide. Silicon carbide does not occur naturally on earth but sometimes can occur in meteors or other types of phenomenon.
For the most part, Moissanite is created by mixing silica sand and carbon at extremely high temperatures, the result is crystals that are extremely strong and heat resistant. It is used for numerous industrial applications such as heat sinks, computer chips, abrasives, and blue LED lights.
Moissanite is created with a special technique but still includes carbon and silica sand. Moissanite closely resembles a diamond on many levels including its beautiful clarity, its hardness, and refraction.
Besides commercial jewelry, Moissanite in its industrial form can be made into an abrasive, for instance, it is usually found in superfine sandpaper products. It can also hold up well to high temperatures and is used for many industrial applications, one of them being high-performance brake pads.
While natural Moissanite is not very good at conducting electricity, when a few other elements are added, it makes a great conductor that can stand up to extreme temperatures.
Moissanite – The History and Origins
Moissanite does not form naturally within the earth, it is a synthetic gemstone. Moissanite was first sold commercially in 1998 by Charles and Colvard. Moissanite should be noted, is a mixture of two chemicals, Silicon and Carbide. When mixed together, these chemicals form a very strong and beautiful gemstone. Moissanite is sold as a diamond substitute in many retail jewelry markets. The fact that Moissanite comes very close to that of a real diamond makes it more valuable and precious than other types of simulants, specifically Cubic zirconia.
Moissanite is an extremely hard gemstone and is usually 9 or higher on the Mohs hardness scale, where diamonds are a 10. One of the many qualities of Moissanite is that it can handle heat very well and because of this attribute is used as heat sinks, part of processors, as a component in high-performance brake pads, and a myriad of industrial uses. Moissanite can also be used in its grain form as an abrasive and it is usually found quite frequently on finer sandpaper products.
Regarding jewelry gemstones, Moissanite can be created to look identical to diamonds. In fact, the refraction usually referred to as the sparkle or fire is sometimes even better than diamonds. Usually, Moissanite crystals have no flaws or inclusions and their color is extremely clear. One should note that there can sometimes be a very slight tint of green in the color of Moissanite, especially as the size of the crystal increases.