Collection: Mossonite

Moissanite is naturally occurring silicon carbide and its various crystalline polymorphs. It has the chemical formula SiC and is a rare mineral, discovered by the French chemist Henri Moissan in 1893. Silicon carbide or moissanite is useful for commercial and industrial applications due to its hardnessoptical properties and thermal conductivity.

Moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market as a diamond alternative in 1998 after Charles & Colvard (formerly known as C3 Inc.) received patents to create and market lab-grown silicon carbide gemstones, becoming the first firm to do so. By 2018 all patents on the original process world-wide had expired. Charles & Colvard currently makes and distributes moissanite jewelry and loose gems under the trademarks Forever One, Forever Brilliant, and Forever Classic. Other manufacturers market silicon carbide gemstones under trademarked names such as Amora.

On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (with diamond as the upper extreme, 10) moissanite is rated as 9.25. As a diamond alternative Moissanite has some optical properties exceeding those of diamond. It is marketed as a lower price alternative to diamond that does not involve the expensive mining practices used for the extraction of natural diamonds. As some of its properties are quite similar to diamond, moissanite may be used as counterfeit diamond. Testing equipment based on measuring thermal conductivity in particular may give results similar to diamond. In contrast to diamond, moissanite exhibits a thermochromism, such that heating it gradually will cause it to temporarily change color, starting at around 65 °C (150 °F). A more practical test is a measurement of electrical conductivity, which will show higher values for moissanite. Moissanite is birefringent (i.e., light sent through the material splits into separate beams that depend on the source polarization), which can be easily seen, and diamond is not.