The Mineral MOISSANITE

  • Chemistry: SiC, Silicon Carbide
  • Class: Native Elements
  • Subclass: Non-metals
  • Group: Carbon
  • Uses: Only as mineral specimens, but artificial material has many uses especially as an abrasive, semi-conductor and as diamond simulants.
  • For Moissanite crystal mineral specimens see our For Sale or Sold lists
    For Moissanite Jewelry, see --> MOISSANITE JEWELRY

    Moissanite is a mineral that was first discovered in fragments of the meteorite at Diablo Canyon or Meteor Crater in Arizona. It was named in honor of its discoverer, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Ferdinand Henri Moissan. Synthetic moissanite is also known as silicon carbide after its chemistry and by the trade name carborundum. In the meteoritic material, moissanite is associated with tiny diamonds.  Moissanite is also the trade name being used for new synthetic SiC gemstones.

    Moissanite grown in laboratories is now being cut as gemstones and they are used as diamond simulants. Moissanite brings to the jeweler's table a similar index of refraction and better than twice the fire of diamond, but is only slightly less expensive due to the difficulty in growing nearly colorless crystals. Moissanite is causing quite a stir in the jewelry markets.

    As a diamond simulant, artificial moissanite is very hard to differentiate from diamond and can fool many gemologists. It does have many similarities. It is very hard at 9.25 (diamond is 10) and it is highly refractive with an index of refraction of 2.6 - 2.7 (diamond's IR is slightly lower at 2.42). Most important, moissanite and diamond are thermally conductive unlike other diamond simulants and unfortunately it is this property that is primarily used as the test for the authenticity of real diamonds. Differences however are clear and other tests can be used to differentiate the two. First of all, moissanite is hexagonal, not isometric and therefore it is doubly refractive unlike diamond. A through-the-face examination of a moissanite gemstone should show double facet edges whereas a diamond's edges are single in appearance. Moissanite is also slightly less dense than diamond and is rarely perfectly clear of color, having pale shades of green. Natural flaws are absent in moissanite, replaced instead by tiny, unnatural, white, ribbon-like structures that are a result of the growing process. The synthetic SiC known as carborundum has seen many uses in high tech ceramics, electrical components, abrasives, ball bearings, semi-conductors, extremely hard saws and armor.

    Natural moissanite is very rare and is limited to iron-nickel meteorites and a few other rare ultramafic igneous occurrences. Initially there were skeptics to the original meteorite findings and were attributed to the silicon carbide blades that may have been used to saw the type specimens. But this has been disputed because Dr Henri Moissan did not use silicon carbide blades to prepare the samples.

    Moissanite can be a bi-product of the blast-furnace process used to make iron. In a blast furnace, the raw ingredients such as iron ore, carbon (usually in the form of coke, but other forms such as methane may be used), limestone and other chemicals and air (used to react with impurities) are continuously introduced. The reaction results in the production of pig iron which is removed as a liquid while the impurities form a slag which floats to the top and is removed. The sides of the huge furnace are relatively cool, while the interior is very hot, and this creates conditions for minerals to crystallize. Every few months, the furnace is emptied so that these minerals can be cleaned from the walls of the furnace. One such mineral is moissanite, which readily crystallizes from the silicon and carbon dissolved in the molten iron. The resulting moissanite crystals are nearly black and opaque due to their iron content, but they can be quite colorful and beautiful due to a surface iridescence, although most are ground up and used as abrasives.

    There are several phases of SiC. The original mineral discovered is officially known as moissanite-6H. The (6H) refers to the hexagonal symmetry of this phase of moissanite. There are two other phases recognized as minerals: moissanite-5H and the isometric phase beta-moissanite.

    Moissanite is classified as an element despite the fact that in chemical reality it is a compound! The reason for this is that the elemental bonds that exist between carbon and silicon are very similar to the carbon-carbon bonds of other elemental minerals such as diamond. There also is just no other mineral class that moissanite could fit in better than the Native Elements Class! Moissanite in fact is sometimes placed into the Carbon Group which includes diamond and graphite. Additional justification lies in the structure of moissanite which is similar to the structure of diamond. Other chemically unusual Elements Class minerals that are found in meteorites include osbornite {TiN}, cohenite {Fe3C} and schreibersite {(Fe, Ni)3P}.

    PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

    • Color is green (although it may be nearly colorless to essentially black).
    • Luster is adamantine.
    • Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
    • Crystal System is hexagonal, trigonal and isometric.
    • Crystal Habits include tiny six-sided plates and grains in meteorites.
    • Hardness is 9.25
    • Specific Gravity is 3.1 - 3.2 (average)
    • Streak is white.
    • Other Characteristics: Index of refraction is 2.6 - 2.7, crystals are thermally conductive and highly double refractive.
    • Associated Minerals include iron meteorites and olivine.
    • Notable Occurrences include Diablo Canyon or Meteor Crater in Arizona and as a trace in several kimberlite deposits and placer deposits eroded from them.
    • Best Field Indicator is crystal habit, color, index of refraction, double refraction, density, thermal conductivity and especially hardness.
    Amethyst Galleries sells natural mineral specimens, including precious metals and gemstones. For Fine Jewelry, please visit our affiliates.

    Moissanite Jewelry - Hover over an item for more information
    Diamond, Blue Sapphire & Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K W. Gold 1.78ctw
    This multi stone ring with a total of 1.78 carats is a brilliant engagement ring with almost as much dazzle as she has. A 14K white gold, three stone, setting holds a fiery moissanite center stone with two half-moon blue sapphires and 74 round near...Only $1,635.38 at Allurez.com
    no photoDiamond, Blue Sapphire & Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K W. Gold 1.78ctw
    $1,635.38
    Allurez.com
    Three Stone Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K Yellow Gold 0.50ctw
    Both the one carat of brilliance, and its classic three stone style, make this moissanite engagement ring quite engaging. Nestled in a 14K yellow gold shared prong setting, each moissanite jewel catches the light and turns it into refracted, faceted...Only $590.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoThree Stone Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K Yellow Gold 0.50ctw
    $590.00
    Allurez.com
    Solitaire Moissanite Bypass Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold 1.00ctw
    Her heart will skip a beat when you present her with this stunning 14K white gold bypass engagement ring with a moissanite solitaire jewel of one carat total weight. This bezel set, 1.00ctw moissanite is an alternative to a diamond, with more dazzle...Only $900.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoSolitaire Moissanite Bypass Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold 1.00ctw
    $900.00
    Allurez.com
    Halo Moissanite Engagement Ring Diamond Accents 14K White Gold 1.00ct
    This outstanding moissanite and halo diamond engagement ring features 34 ideal cut diamond side stone accents to create a ring that's sure to please. This ring features approximately a half carat, 4 prong set, round bright moissanite, chosen for its...Only $990.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoHalo Moissanite Engagement Ring Diamond Accents 14K White Gold 1.00ct
    $990.00
    Allurez.com
    Round Solitaire Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K Yellow Gold 1.50ctw
    Known as the world's 'most brilliant jewelr', moissanite stones, like this 7.50mm round solitaire, are individually hand-cut to dazzle her with their unmatched, multi-faceted beauty. This 14K yellow gold engagement ring with six white gold prongs...Only $1,129.58 at Allurez.com
    no photoRound Solitaire Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K Yellow Gold 1.50ctw
    $1,129.58
    Allurez.com
    Moissanite Solitaire Engagement Ring Princess 14K White Gold 2.00ct
    Bathed in reflective light, this 14K white gold moissanite solitaire proposal ring sparkles like none other. 2.00ct of brilliance emanates from the rare, square, moissanite jewel center stone featured in a popular four prong setting. Ask her to be...Only $1,488.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoMoissanite Solitaire Engagement Ring Princess 14K White Gold 2.00ct
    $1,488.00
    Allurez.com
    Round Solitaire Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K Yellow Gold 2.00ctw
    This 14K yellow gold solitaire engagement ring features unmatched fire and brilliance. Six white gold prongs hold this 2.00ctw moissanite jewel, a stunning solitaire with unparalleled fire and brilliant light. This mesmerizing solitaire moissanite...Only $1,393.98 at Allurez.com
    no photoRound Solitaire Moissanite Engagement Ring 14K Yellow Gold 2.00ctw
    $1,393.98
    Allurez.com
    Diamond Accented Moissanite Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold 1.33ct
    This stunning moissanite and diamond engagement ring features 22 ideal cut, bright diamond side stone accents and one brilliant moissanite center stone with a total of approximately 1.33 carats. Created from polished 14K white gold, each diamond accent...Only $1,890.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoDiamond Accented Moissanite Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold 1.33ct
    $1,890.00
    Allurez.com
    Prong Set Moissanite Solitaire Pendant Necklace 14K White Gold 0.50ct
    This half carat solitaire moissanite is set in a four prong basket setting that shows every magnificent facet of this unusual jewel. This stunning stone is hand cut, and chosen specifically for its unmatched beauty. Set in 14K white gold this...Only $390.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoProng Set Moissanite Solitaire Pendant Necklace 14K White Gold 0.50ct
    $390.00
    Allurez.com
    Moissanite Solitaire Engagement Ring Princess Cut 14K Y. Gold 0.50ct
    Sure to take her breath away, this four prong square solitaire engagement ring features a half carat of moissanite dazzle. This hand cut moissanite jewel, with unmatched fire, is the center of attention in this 14K yellow gold classic engagement ring...Only $525.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoMoissanite Solitaire Engagement Ring Princess Cut 14K Y. Gold 0.50ct
    $525.00
    Allurez.com
    Delyth - 2.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Floating Pendant, (Inc 18 Inch Chain) 14k White
    Delyth - 2.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Floating Pendant, (Inc 18 Inch Chain) 14k White GoldOnly $999.00 at moissanite.com
    no photoDelyth - 2.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Floating Pendant, (Inc 18 Inch Chain) 14k White
    $999.00
    moissanite.com
    Trios - 2.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Martini Friction Back Earrings, 14k White Gold
    Trios - 2.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Martini Friction Back Earrings, 14k White GoldOnly $799.00 at moissanite.com
    no photoTrios - 2.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Martini Friction Back Earrings, 14k White Gold
    $799.00
    moissanite.com
    Bravo - 0.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Friction Back Earrings, 14k White Gol
    Bravo - 0.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Friction Back Earrings, 14k White GoldOnly $299.00 at moissanite.com
    no photoBravo - 0.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Friction Back Earrings, 14k White Gol
    $299.00
    moissanite.com
    Channel Set Moissanite Anniversary Ring Band 14K White Gold 0.66ctw
    This semi eternity ladies wedding ring features 0.66ctw of faceted moissanite jewels. Known for their brilliance, all eleven moissanites are channel set in a 14K white gold setting with light and shine to spare. Each round moissanite in this graceful...Only $590.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoChannel Set Moissanite Anniversary Ring Band 14K White Gold 0.66ctw
    $590.00
    Allurez.com
    Pear Cut Moissanite Halo Pendant Necklace 14K White Gold 1.50ctw
    This bright halo style moissanite pendant features 1.50ctw of fiery beauty. A 14K white gold setting holds a large one carat pear shaped moissanite, surrounded by ten additional jewels forming a stunning floral design. Brighter than diamonds, these...Only $845.00 at Allurez.com
    no photoPear Cut Moissanite Halo Pendant Necklace 14K White Gold 1.50ctw
    $845.00
    Allurez.com

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