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
    14KW 1.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Earrings
    Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite - the sole source of Moissanite worldwide - is delighted to bring you our Bravo 1.00ctw round Moissanite Earrings. Shipping direct from the source, these exquisite round Forever Brilliant stones, set in 14K White...Only $449.00 at moissanite.com
    no photo14KW 1.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Earrings
    $449.00
    moissanite.com
    14KW 2.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Martini Earrings
    Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite - the sole source of Moissanite worldwide - is delighted to bring you our Trios 2.50ctw solitaire Moissanite Earrings. Shipping direct from the source, these exquisite round Forever Brilliant stones, set in 14K...Only $1,099.00 at moissanite.com
    no photo14KW 2.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Martini Earrings
    $1,099.00
    moissanite.com
    2 CT. T.W. Cushion Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry necklaces, bracelets, anklets at Target.com! 2 ct. T.w. Cushion forever brilliant moissanite solitaire prong set pendant in 14k white goldOnly $1,399.99 at Target.com
    no photo2 CT. T.W. Cushion Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    $1,399.99
    Target.com
    Heart of Resilience 1/3ctw. 3 Stone Pendant Pink Gold
    The Survivor Collection Heart of Resilience - The placement of the gems symbolizes the Survivor's three-part journey - life before the diagnosis, treatment, and the magical moment when your doctor says you are clear. 1/4ctw. Pink and Forever...Only $352.80 at Boscov's
    no photoHeart of Resilience 1/3ctw. 3 Stone Pendant Pink Gold
    $352.80
    Boscov's
    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
    14KW 1.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Bezel Set Pendant
    Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite - the sole source of Moissanite worldwide - is delighted to bring you our Lyssa 1.00ctw Moissanite round Bezel Set Pendant. Shipping direct from the source, this exquisite Forever Brilliant stone, set in 14K White...Only $699.00 at moissanite.com
    no photo14KW 1.00ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Bezel Set Pendant
    $699.00
    moissanite.com
    1.60 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Earrings in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry earrings at Target.com! 1.60 ct. T.w. Forever brilliant round moissanite solitaire prong set earrings in 14k white goldOnly $799.99 at Target.com
    no photo1.60 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Earrings in 14K White Gold
    $799.99
    Target.com
    .50 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Cushion Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry necklaces, bracelets, anklets at Target.com! .50 ct. T.w. Forever brilliant cushion moissanite solitaire prong set pendant in 14k white goldOnly $479.99 at Target.com
    no photo.50 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Cushion Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    $479.99
    Target.com
    14KW 3.40ctw Cushion Cut Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Earrings
    Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite - the sole source of Moissanite worldwide - is delighted to bring you our Acclaim 3.40ctw solitaire Moissanite Earrings. Shipping direct from the source, these exquisite cushion cut Forever Brilliant stones, set...Only $1,599.00 at moissanite.com
    no photo14KW 3.40ctw Cushion Cut Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Earrings
    $1,599.00
    moissanite.com
    2 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Earrings in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry earrings at Target.com! 2 ct. T.w. Forever brilliant round moissanite solitaire prong set earrings in 14k white goldOnly $1,199.99 at Target.com
    no photo2 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Earrings in 14K White Gold
    $1,199.99
    Target.com
    1.50 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry necklaces, bracelets, anklets at Target.com! 1.50 ct. T.w. Forever brilliant round moissanite solitaire prong set pendant in 14k white goldOnly $999.99 at Target.com
    no photo1.50 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    $999.99
    Target.com
    14KW 1.00ctw Cushion Cut Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Earrings
    Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite - the sole source of Moissanite worldwide - is delighted to bring you our Acclaim 1.00ctw solitaire Moissanite Earrings. Shipping direct from the source, these exquisite cushion cut Forever Brilliant stones, set...Only $399.00 at moissanite.com
    no photo14KW 1.00ctw Cushion Cut Forever Brilliant Moissanite Solitaire Earrings
    $399.00
    moissanite.com
    2.70 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Bezel Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry necklaces, bracelets, anklets at Target.com! 2.70 ct. T.w. Forever brilliant round moissanite solitaire bezel set pendant in 14k white goldOnly $1,699.99 at Target.com
    no photo2.70 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Bezel Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    $1,699.99
    Target.com
    14KW 2.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Bezel Set Earrings
    Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite - the sole source of Moissanite worldwide - is delighted to bring you our Melody 2.50ctw round Bezel Set Moissanite Earrings. Shipping direct from the source, these exquisite round Forever Brilliant stones, set in...Only $1,199.00 at moissanite.com
    no photo14KW 2.50ctw Round Forever Brilliant Moissanite Bezel Set Earrings
    $1,199.00
    moissanite.com
    3.10 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    Find fine jewelry necklaces, bracelets, anklets at Target.com! 3.10 ct. T.w. Forever brilliant round moissanite solitaire prong set pendant in 14k white goldOnly $1,999.99 at Target.com
    no photo3.10 CT. T.W. Forever Brilliant Round Moissanite Solitaire Prong Set Pendant in 14K White Gold
    $1,999.99
    Target.com

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