What kind of stone is moissanite?
To distinguish moissanite from a diamond, you cannot do this without special equipment, since their similarities are great. At the moment, most buyers prefer natural diamonds, but the popularity of moissanite is growing. Moissanite is not inferior to a diamond in many ways, and in some ways even surpasses it. At the same time, natural moissanite is practically not found in jewelry, since a synthetic analogue is used in jewelry. What is the moissanite mineral, what is its value and whether it is really able to displace diamonds, we will consider below.
Production of moissanite for the jewelry market
Moissanite is a rare jewel for today. The amount of this beautiful diamond-shine mineral is negligible in nature. It can only be found in deposits, kimberlite rock and some meteorites. As a rule, on the jewelry label you can find the word “moissanite” – it will always be not a natural stone, but its artificially grown carborundum or silicon carbide.
The easiest way to obtain a lab diamonds moissanite is sintering of silica with carbon. This takes place in a special furnace, at very high temperatures up to 2500 ° C. Here I would like to mention one more feature of synthetic moissanites – they are very refractory and can withstand temperatures up to at least 1500 ° C.
In addition, there is another way to obtain a laboratory diamond. At 2500 ° C, silicon carbide sublimates and settles at lower temperatures on a substrate in the form of high-quality flake crystals. This process can be further improved by using induction heating in graphite crucibles.
Today, the main supplier of moissanites is American companies. The patented manufacturing process, honed over two decades, allows you to create stones that demonstrate incredible brilliance and purity. The company also emphasizes ethics and a responsible attitude to the environment, which are integral to the creation of moissanites.
Chemical and physical properties of moissanite
The chemical formula of the stone is SiC – silicon carbide. The Mohs hardness is 9.25, which is close to the standard diamond in this sense with 10 units.
The color of natural moissanite is usually green or black, but in the case of a synthetic analogue, you can get any color or shade, although in 99% of cases colorless stones are used in jewelry for maximum resemblance to natural diamonds. The refractive index reaches 2.69 (an average of 0.25 higher than that of diamonds). The dispersion responsible for the play of light also exceeds the diamond index: for moissanite it is 0.104, and for diamonds – 0.044.
However, we recall once again that we are talking about a synthetic analogue of a natural mineral. Natural moissanite is so rare that you will not find jewelry with this stone.