Mineral moissanite was discovered by Henri Moissan while examining rock samples from a meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona, in 1893.
At first, he mistakenly identified the crystals as diamonds, but in 1904 he identified the crystals as silicon carbide. Artificial silicon carbide had been synthesized in the lab by Edward G. Acheson just two years before Moissan's discovery.
The mineral form of silicon carbide was named moissanite in honor of Moissan later on in his life. The discovery in the Canyon Diablo meteorite and other places was challenged for a long time as carborundum contamination from man-made abrasive tools.
Diamond vs Moissanite
Moissanite is a fraction of the cost of a diamond. While a diamond’s price varies based on cut, clarity, and other individual characteristics, moissanite gemstones are usually the same price and vary only with size and colour.
While moissanite does not replicate the look of a diamond exactly, at the end of the day it presents a viable option for those not wanting to purchase a diamond for budgetary or other reasons. Coloured stones, like sapphires, are beautiful options as well and can help couples create a stunning ring without paying for the higher cost of a diamond.
While certified diamonds are graded on colour and can be compared with one another, moissanite stones are not graded on colour. Classic moissanite is not colourless and many feel that its colour is similar to a GIA-certified K-colour diamond. As with diamonds, the smaller the moissanite, the more colourless it will look. Additionally, under certain lighting, moissanite may project a yellow or green hue.
Many of our customers have asked us for pink moissanite gemstones. However, we do not sell them for one simple reason...we cannot guarantee that the colour will last.
All pink moissanite stones in the market today start off life as clear moissanite that are colour enhanced by a "coating" process (ion induction) to make them pink. This micron thick coating on the gemstone is not permanent. Many dealers sell these stones and lead you to believe that "under normal wear" the colour is permanent. You need to question these companies and ascertain exactly what is the definition of "normal wear"?
"Normal wear" in their definition certainly does not cover repairing, resizing or ultrasonically cleaning, polishing and rhodium plating. Yet each of these processes will most likely be required for the lifetime of your jewellery. The coating may also come off when it comes into contact with strong cleaning solutions, solvents, under high heat (over 550 degrees Celsius), boiling in acid and polishing of the coated surface.
Touchstone believes that the majority of moissanite sold today is for engagement rings and we believe that the gemstone should look as gorgeous today as it will in 50 years’ time. We have tested pink moissanite stones beyond what is considered "normal wear" and we have found that none have passed the colour permanency test.
At Touchstone we take pride in standing behind our products, so until we can guarantee you the colour of your Moissanite will last, and you will get a lifetime of enjoyment from your pink moissanite gemstone, we cannot sell this product.
The harder a material, the more difficult it is to scratch. On the Mohs Scale of Hardness, moissanite is rated as a 9.25, which is a great score that is higher than any gemstone used in jewellery besides diamonds. Diamonds, which are the hardest known mineral, score a 10.
Brilliance, which refers to the ability to reflect white light, is a good measure for how much a diamond will ‘sparkle’. Moissanite disperses light very well and is actually more brilliant than a diamond. Additionally, moissanite is less likely to attract grease or dirt than a diamond and should keep the ‘sparkle’ longer in between cleanings.
Manufacturing best practices
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