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[again] Beware of Synthetic Moissanite

Hi, I just read an article in the latest issue of National
Jeweler (Oct) about a new nemesis, Synthetic Moissanite. I’ve
never seen this material and I thought that if it looks enough
like a diamond and exhibits a lot of diam. properties we
(jewelers) ought to be on guard! Nothing like having a customer
want to have you reset it and tells you later that it was
supposed to be a diamond! Testing equipment anyone?, and soon!

Fortunately syn moisanite is doubly refractive, so if you
magnify the stone, through a crown facet, you should see doubling
of the facet junctions. Looking through the table may be
decieving since it is cut near the optic axis, thus not
exhibiting doubling.


Not to worry.

There are a couple of ways to distinguish SM from diamond.

  1. SM will test as a diamond with the popular thermal diamond

  2. If you suspect a stone testing positive on a diamond tester
    is SM & not diamond, look (use a 10x loupe or microscope) through
    the table at the pavilion facet junctions near the culet. Since
    SM is doubly refractive (diamond is singly refractive), the facet
    junctions will look as though there are 2 of each.

  3. C3, the company that mfgr. SM, also markets a tester (about
    $400-500) to distinguish between diamond & SM.

The Winter '97 issue of Gems & Gemology has a very good article
on SM & it’s identification.


So you’re just now reading about it? The news has been around
for a while now, with similar warnings. Check archives of this
list for more info, as it’s been discussed at length before. C3
corp IS producing the stuff, but it’s not flooding the market at
all. Not exactly a high volume of production… They do
produce a testing device for separation, but it’s costly, and
does nothing else but detect Moissanite. Some cynics have
suggested that C3’s marketing/business plan depends as much on
trying to get us all to plunk down $350 for their tester, as it
does on our purchasing the stones themselves. While Moissonite
does appear similar to diamond (so does C.Z.; how much trouble do
you have telling C.Z. apart?) it’s not that hard to seperate if
you’re aware of it. The main thing to look for is that it’s
double refractive, so with a loupe or microscope, if you’re aware
to look for it, you can find facet “doubling”. Diamond, of
course, never does that. It’s highly thermally conductive, so
the little thermal testers used for zirconia won’t work. but
it’s also heavier than diamond, so with loose stones, the weight
will be way off what you’d expect, which should be a good tip off
as well as visual differences.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe G.G.

 Synthetic Moissanite.  Testing equipment anyone? 

There are several devices that will test for it–none are
inexpensive. A c-z tester will tell you that moissanite is a
diamond so you have to get the tester for moissanite if you want
to detect it by mechanical means. However, syntheticg
moissanite is doubly refractive. For those that don’t know what
this means–some gems are doubly refractive (such as amethyst,
ruby, emerald, zircon, etc) and others are singly refractive
(diamond, garnet, spinel, etc). When light enters a gem, some
gems break the light into two beams, other keep it as one beam.
If, under high magnifcation you look at the facet edges of the
back of the stone (looking through the stone to see them) in a
doubly refractive gem-you will see two facet edges (they appear
doubled). Zircon is an example of a strongly doubly refractive
gem and the doubling effect can be seen easily, whereas quartz,
emerald and some others are dificult to see except at higher
mangicaftions. The use of a device called a polariscope can
quickly determine whether the gem is singly refractive or doubly
refractive. So, an experienced gemologist should be able to
quickly detect if the gem is doubly refractive or not, simply
under a microscope, detecting synth moissanite. Another
attribute of the synth moissanite is that it is more dispersive
than diamond–ie there are more spectral colors reflected back
to the viewer–so a particularly “hot” looking gem should be
reason for suspicison. Suggest that you buy one to have as a
sample so that you can quickly have a reference stone
(sorry-don’t have the contact phone #, but I am sure someone

Al Gilbertson

Moissanite is doubly refractive, diamond is singly refreactive.
See a picture of each in a magazine and from then on you’ll be
able to tell them apart. Anyone working in jewelry can and should
learn this simple differentiation. Don’t worry about it. There
is really nothing to be afraid of with all these simulants. You
just learn how to detect them and have good take in procedures.

Now if you want to be scared, be scared of synthetic diamonds.
These are also not so hard to detect, and actually, we don’t need
to be afraid of them either, just vigilant.


Hello Martin,

WELCOME, Good Morning and hello…

Go to :

punch on the search subject : synthetic moissanite.

The GENIE will tell you all.

Best Regards,


Martin, If you look closely at a faceted moissanite you will
notice it is doubly refractive. It looks very much like zircon
when you look through the table and observe the doubling of the
lower pavillion facets. Don’t rush to buy the testing
equipment,learn to use your observational powers. Michael

Aren’t you all getting pretty well tired of the Moissanite? I
agree that it is a ploy to sell a new kind of tester and not the
stones themselves. The stones are only going about .60ct or so,
and if you see one, it looks like a very off color diamond
first- like I don’t know about your customers, but mine wouldn,t
buy something that off color as a rule. If you are still aren’t
sure, do the refractive thing. If you haven’t seen one yet, when
you do, I think that you will understand why no one bothered with
them for almost 100 years… I think that this company is
after the pawn shop/ resell market to sell the testers, or to
people who don’t handle enough diamonds to be able to tell the
difference, because no slight intended to all of you GIA trained
people, etc., but you don’t need to be a GG to tell this is not a
diamond in my opinion- it seems pretty obvious when you look at
it that something is not quite right about it.

Hello All: I was busy working at my bench the other day and the
counter help brought back this ring and asked if I would check
the prongs. I looked at the stone for one second before I told
him it was not a diamond and about two more seconds before I said
I thought it to be Synthetic Moissanite. I am studying to be a
gemologist and have read a lot about this stone. Turns out that a
local jeweler has been advertising Synthetic Moissanite jewelry
in the last week. He was nice enough to bring a ring by and show
us. His store does practically no diamond sales and he said he
was desperate. He said he wanted to sell to people that could not
afford a real diamond. I wanted to ask if he was going to carry a
line of CZ jewelry for the people that could not afford Synthetic
Moissanite but that would have been rude. I noticed that in the
light at my bench the stone seemed a little dark and had much
more dispersion and displayed doubling. All in all I thought it
was a nice looking stone. Like all simulants, it will take it’s
place, but it will never take the place of diamond.

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA

I am wondering if there is such a thing as Synthetic Moissanite,
Is there also a synthetic CZ?

Another point to look for on Synthetic Moissanite, is some of
the inclusions. There are some that look almost like lasor drill
holes, but they do not reach the surface and they are not
straight like a drill hole would be. [-Kaiser, Sarah]

     ...Turns out that a local jeweler has been advertising
Synthetic Moissanite jewelry in the last week... 


I find it interesting that you are seeing this in Texas. The
last time I spoke to C3, about two months ago, I was under the
impression that they were just test marketing it in the south
east. Sounds like they are expanding their market area rapidly.

I would like to repeat a warning re: the tester, which I had
previously posted. I was watching a gentleman use the C3 tester
to test a syn. moissanite and it was indicating diamond. Turns
out that since the tester relies on optical properties, it you
don’t hold the stone quite right you can get a false reading. If
you rely on a tester at your take-in counter, be sure that your
sales staff is properly trained in the use of it. Better still,
teach them to detect the difference without a tester.

Just my $.02 worth.
Sharon Z.

I might be mistaken, but I suspect the moissanite tester is
really a ‘reflectometer’. If it is, then it generates it’s
response base on the amount of light reflected from the surface
of the stone. Typically, currently available reflectometers
require readings to be taken at three places on the stone (can
be 3 places on the same facet, the table is handy). These
readings are then averaged & the result is compared to a chart
listing readings for various materials. The moissanite tester
could be a ‘one material’ version of this & do the averaging &
comparison internally.

A couple of short comings of reflectometers are: the readings
can be affected by dirt or a film on the surface being tested &
the quality of the polish can also affect the reading.

One advantage of reflectometers over refractometers is the upper
limit of readings. Typically, refractometers have an upper limit
of about 1.81; reflectometers have an upper limit of about 2.25.
This value of this upper limit has to be tempered by the effects
any external conditions may have. Both diamond & moissanite are
over the limits of the refractometer used by the typical gem lab.

As indicated, probably the best method of identification is to
use a thermal diamond tester & then visually inspect the facet
junctions with a 10X loupe for doubling(look through the table).


Nope. CZ is a synthetic material since it is man made, but since
there is no natural Cz, it cannot be synthetic CZ. Synthetic
moissonite on the other hand is a man made material which copies
the natural moissonite, having the same chemical and physical
characteristics as the natural material. Hope that helps. Jerry
in Kodiak

The developer of Lab-Created Moissanite Gemstones is C3 Inc.

In May of 1998, C3 started selling synthetic moissanite samples
in the size of less than half a carat.

In June 1998, C3 signed an agreement with Recomira-Ray Corp. of
the Phillipines, and Sansiao ,Trading Co. Ltd of Japan to buy
from C3 an amount of aproximately $2.5 million worth of the goods
and their testing instruments.

In June 1998, C3 Inc. started marketing synthetic moissanite in
the US through Pendleton Jewelers, J.W. Dorton Co., and Rosenfeld
Jewelry Ltd. in the Atlanta area, and Moray’s Jewelers as well as
Beverly’s Jewelers in the Miami district.

In August 1998, C3 Inc. were distributing synthetic moissanite
into the US market through 33 retail locations in 29 cities.

Through Precious Gemstones International Pty Ltd., by year 2000,
about $4.9 million worth of synthetic moissanite will be
distributed in New Zealand and Australia.

In october 1998, C3 Inc. is distributing synthetic moissanite
through 52 retail locations in the US, in 47 cities.

In July 1998, C3 Inc. shipped out 1500 carats of symthetic
moissanite and reached 2000 carats in August 1998.

C3 Inc. objective is to reach 5000 carats by the end of this

That’s a lot af synthetic moissanite out there.

Best regards,


  I am wondering if there is such a thing as Synthetic
Moissanite,  Is there also a synthetic CZ?  

Both Cubic Zirconia and Moissante, as found in the marketplace,
are synthetic. The use of the word synthetic that there is a
natural form of the stuff which can then be duplacated in a man
made form, which we call synthetic, to distinguish this exact
chemical and physical duplicate with, say, an imitation which
might look similar but has no other real relationship.

Because Moissanite occurs in a natural, though not gem quality,
form, the label synthetic is needed. Cubic Zirconia also has
been found in nature, again as a very rare and essentially
useless occurance. So properly, all C.Z. on the market can be
called synthetic Cubic Zirconia. Only because there is no
chance of it’s being confused with the natural counterpart is the
word not really required. With C.Z., it’s simply understood that
the stuff is synthetic. Similarly, with colorless transparent
moissanite, it’s pretty reasonable to assume it’s also synthetic
when you see it.

By the way, regarding the C3 detector, I noticed in the SWEST
showroom the other day, a wall poster for the new Diamond Beam II
diamond tester. In addition to it’s previous “diamond” and
"metal" indications, the new one also has a "moissonite"
indicator. This tester, according to the counter clerk at
Swest, sells for something like $350 or so, rather less than C3’s
detector. Looks just like the classic thermal diamond probe, in
the photo… I’d bet it’s only a matter of time before someone
else jumps on the bandwagon, and pretty soon these testers, from
third party sources, will be only a hundred bucks… Anyone
wanna bet?

Peter Rowe

Now if you want to be scared, be scared of synthetic diamonds.
These are also not so hard to detect, and actually, we don’t need
to be afraid of them either, just vigilant.

Hello Elaine,

I was wondering exactly how you are distinguishing synthetic
diamond from natural. I was told that not even a dating method
works on diamond.

I was also under the impression that no tests performed on any
of the infamous Russian ‘silver bears’ proved conclusively that
these stones were in fact synthetic.

I obtained a few nice crystals of synthetic including a
brilliant canary yellow and a rather luscious ruby red. These I
had cut locally and the cutter declared the red was the nicest
brownie he had ever encountered. He also had no problems cutting
and was unaware that the stones were man made.

The resulting stones with the exception of the red, were
submitted for appraisal to several labs locally and also the
famous guys in california. None of the labs came up with
synthetic so I would be intrigued to learn your trick, unless it
involves closing your eyes and holding the stone to your temple
or third eye.

I am assuming you are not using the higher prices of the
synthetic rough as your ‘test’ although the ‘7 to 10 times the
cost of natural crystals’ is the dead giveaway as far as I’m
concerned, but as we all know the cost of the rough is an almost
insignificant part of the cost of a diamond, or any gemstone come
to think of it.

Synthetic Moissanite, I don’t think so. Moissanite is an off
worlder, not from around here, extra terrestial. Being from off
planet a synthetic would also have to be produced off planet to
use that name. It isn’t. It can’t. The damned stuff is Silicon
Carbide, that is the correct name. Old nails and bits of broken
window are NOT synthetic meteorites even if they are an exact
chemical duplication so lets stop with the nonsense.

\ () || |/
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web site:

Vancouver, B.C. CANADA.

   Synthetic Moissanite, I don't think so. Moissanite is an
off worlder, not from around here, extra terrestial. Being from
off planet a synthetic would also have to be produced off
planet to use that name. It isn't. It can't. 

The definition of synthetic vs. natural only states whether or
not it is made in nature or in a lab. Doesn’t suggest WHERE in
nature. Off world is still not man made, and still can be called
natural. Once it’s arrived on our planet, it’s off world origin
doesn’t change it’s designation as natural, so the label
synthetic for man made material is still technically correct,
though perhaps not needed. And “synthetic” reproduces the
physical and chemical properties. It does not, by definition,
reproduce the place of origin. Were it to do that, then
synthetic emerald would have to be crystalized in man made
pegmatite dikes or something. Again, the place of origin is
irrelevant to natural vs. synthetic designations.

Peter Rowe

Hi Chrissy, It is Professor Henri Moissanite that first
discovered moissanite in 1904. Moissanite is the natural hexagonal
polymorph of SiC. It occurs in meteorites, a little gift from
above, and also had just been found in kimberlite rocks from
Yakutia in Russia, but they occur only in small grains ( around
1mm ). The grains can be green, blue, black, transparent and
yellow. It has a hardness of 9.50, specific gravity of 3.218 and
a refractive index of 2.654 - 2.697. The fracture is conchoidal,
cleavage not determined. There are also an unnamed natural cubic
form of SiC and a natural trigonal form of SiC. The synthetic form
of SiC is called Carborundum and have all the same properties. In
1907 the first application of silicon carbide was produced as an
abrasive and cutting material. Today SiC has been called the
"material for the future" due to its many applications. For people
in the jewellery trade SiC or synthetic moissanite is a very
exceptional good imitator of diamond. Because of its properties
such as high thermal conductivity, hardness 9.50, diamond
hardness 10, refrative index 2.65, diamond RI 2.42, specific
gravity 3.21, diamond SG 3.5, this material is the closest to
diamond than any other gem materials. Most jewelers who had the
opportunities to look at the material mistakenly identified
synthetic moissanite as diamond!!! C3 Inc. plans to begin
distributing its artificial gemstone in the first half of 1998,
in the US and the Pacific Rim. Also C3 Inc. is taking a very
strong position about the full disclosure of the qualities of
synthetic moissanite. Apparently synthetic moissanite will cost
more than CZ but much less than the natural diamond : $50 to $ 70
per carat??? The annual market for CZ at present is over $
200.millions. Three characteristics of synthetic moissanite: - it
is doubly refractive, - it has white ribbon-like inclusions, -
doesn’t show an absorption spectrum line at 415nm as 95 % of the
natural diamonds do. Best regards, Francoise.