Moissanite Jewelry Fact Sheet

by Angela Tague

The fire and luster of moissanite is undeniable. The brilliant gems are known for their sparkle and shine and are sometimes mistaken for diamonds. Used in a variety of jewelry pieces, including rings, earrings, and necklaces, moissanite is a fabulous and affordable diamond alternative that stands on its own as a unique gemstone. Learn more about moissanite jewelry, so you can shop with confidence.

All about Moissanite:

  1. Overview: Moissanite does occur naturally, however, most moissanite jewelry features man-made gems. Authentic natural stones are extremely rare and usually not large enough to be used in jewelry. Lab-grown moissanite -- the chemical composition is silicon carbide -- is often more beautiful than natural moissanite because the gems are created by a patented thermal process to exhibit the finest qualities of the stones. Moissanite jewels rate high on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with a 9.25 measurement. This means they are a bit softer than diamonds, but harder than all other mineral-based gemstones; overall, they are very durable.

  2. History: Moissanite was discovered in an Arizona meteor crater by a French scientist, Dr. Henri Moissan, in 1893. Since then, moissanite has been found in a small variety of places, particularly near meteor sites in the American Southwest. Moissanite is commonly found as an inclusion in diamonds and other stones. It has been used as a cutting material due to its hardness and similarity to diamonds.

  3. Appearance: Moissanite is one of the colorless gemstones and is clear in appearance, although, some of the stones can be a very faint yellow with a green tint. The gems are described as brilliant, and with the ability to catch and reflect light, moissanite crystals are often used in fine jewelry pieces.

  4. Comparison: With more scientifically tested brilliance, fire, and luster than a diamond, it's not surprising that moissanite is a popular option for fine jewelry. The brilliance, the flashes of white light called sparkle, is measured by a stone's refractive index (RI), and moissanite has an RI of 2.65-2.69. By comparison, a diamond's RI is 2.42. Moissanite is more brilliant than rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, too.

  5. Jewelry: Moissanite is commonly set in white gold or platinum but looks great combined with a variety of metals and stones. Jewelers often place the gems in solitaire settings that showcase the sparkle; look for moissanite stud earrings and solitaire pendants. Moissanite rings are popular as engagement rings. These bridal rings offer a large, beautiful center stone that costs much less than the diamond equivalent. Many rings have an eye-catching combination of diamonds and moissanite gems.

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Updated November 10, 2014