What is moissanite?
Made from the mineral silicon carbide, Moissanite is commonly used as a diamond alternative in jewelry due to its shimmering appearance, durability, and lower price tag. But the history behind this mineral is quite fascinating.
In 1893, French scientist Henri Moissan, discovered Moissanite while examining samples of rock that came from a meteor crater. At first, he believed that the crystals were actually diamonds. Considering the extremely close hardness level of moissanite and diamonds, this prediction wasn’t implausible. However, in 1904 he eventually realized that they were in fact made of silicon carbide and not carbon. Later in Moissan’s career, he won a Nobel Peace Prize for “his work in isolating fluorine from its compounds” and eventually the mineral version of silicon carbide was named after him.
How is moissanite made today?
Unfortunately, silicon carbide is extremely rare. In fact, it has only been found in a few various environments, including meteors, the Green River Formation in Wyoming, and sometimes even as inclusions inside diamonds. Due to this rarity of naturally occurring silicon carbide, all products made from this mineral today are created using a lab-created synthetic version.
Benefits of moissanite
Although moissanites are not diamonds, they do have their own benefits and are the diamond alternative of choice for many individuals.
For couples that are extremely cost-conscious, moissanites can be a great gemstone choice for a forever ring or just for a temporary stone in an engagement ring. In general, moissanites are only priced on their size and if they are Premium or Super Premium (the latter having a better, less yellow, color). For reference, an average round 8mm (about the size of 2 carats) moissanite would cost under $2,000.
As mentioned above, moissanites also have a very high Mohs hardness level. Just 0.75 below a diamond, this gemstone is extremely durable and a great option for someone who either does a ton of work with their hands or doesn’t plan to remove their ring for activities such as working out.