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
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
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.