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Sourcing Green Moissanite


#1

Hi Everyone,

I have a problem that I hope someone out there can help me with. I
made a wedding ring for a client less than a year ago with 5- 3mm
round brilliant cut green moissanites. She broke one and now I find
out that both Stuller or Rio Grande discontinued carrying them. This
morning I called Charles & Colvard, the manufacturer because when my
client called the company, they told her to call the jeweler who made
it! Get that! A big company like that not taking responsibility for
their own product! Nothing wrong with the ring…it’s the stone!
It came with a Limited Lifetime Warranty, which my customer put in
her return package to me. And now, they no longer make green
moissanites, and couldn’t refer me to “ANYONE” else who might sell
loose green moissanite. I find that incredulous! How can you not know
who your customers are?

I’ve spoken to Charles & Covard LTD three times today w/ three
different employees. The last employee advised me to call Stuller
back, their SPECIAL orders Department, and ask them to order one for
me. HOWEVER, there was no guarantee the stones would match in
color…“did I purchase the light or the medium colored green
moissanites”? If it was the medium green, definetly there are no
others". Color values were never mentioned to me when I made the
original purchase. In addition, when I asked “why” they were no
longer manufacturing this product I was told( three times by each
employee with the exact pat response) “the company has decided to
focus their resources on colorless moissanites.” Hmmmmmmm. Well, I
also spoke to my good friend David Huffman who told me he put one
into a ring for a family member and it broke too!

As this day progressed the plot is getting thicker. I got on the
internet searching for the replacement stone and called someone
advertising “loose” moissanites. After several phone calls to one
advertiser I was told they no longer carried them. As this person
didn’t have any vested interest in the company she innocently added
that she was told by the company that “they were having problems with
the green moissaintes, not finding them strong enough, and were not
holding up, so they were in the process of revising them in the
laboratory”. Hmmmmmmmmm…not what I was told. So, what
about my customers Limited Lifetime Warranty?? What good is it? When
I re-read the warranty I read nothing but an empty gesture…totally
meaningless and of no value. At this point I am unsure whether to
even replace the stone if I do find one but since the hardness is
supposed to be 9.25, perhaps "this was a"fluke…totally unusual"
as a Charles Covard company employee told me on the phone today!
Durable, wearable…but it’s utterly void if there is no
option for replacing a broken stone.

What does this say for other synthetics? If they come and go like
seasonal wardrobes who would even consider using these stones for
any jewelry that one would actually wear for fear of the now known
reality…they don’t hold up(in the washer).

If anyone out there does have one please call me at 231-348-6173 or
email me at my address below.

Thanks for allowing me to vent my frustrations of having spent my
entire day looking for a $20.00 stone for a lovely customer.

Mary Ann Archer
@Mary_Ann_Archer1
231-348-6173


#2

Hi Mary Ann and others;

At this point I am unsure whether to even replace the stone if I do
find one but since the hardness is supposed to be 9.25, perhaps
"this was a"fluke....totally unusual" as a Charles Covard company
employee told me on the phone today! 

Well, I just found out today how tough moissonite are. Not very. Had
to bright cut 18 X 1.9 millimeter rounds in nickel white gold, and
crunched 6 before I was finished. This is the first time I’ve tried
to do that kind of setting with them, and I frankly don’t think they
are even as tough as a CZ. Hard, yes. Durable, not. Thinking back, I
have another account who had me set one for his wife, which she soon
broke. I had assumed she was just super hard on her jewelry, but even
so, with a hardness of 9.25, you’d think it would be difficult to
break one. From my observations, it seems that although they are
hard, the crystal structure isn’t very resistant to cleaving. What
say you gemologists/gem cutters?

David L. Huffman


#3

Hmmm… odd, the Charles and Colvard web site clearly shows green
moissanite here

http://www.moissanite.com/shapes_sizes.cfm

with the medium-green right in the middle! Probably another one of
those web sites that gets updated once every five years…


#4

Toughness and Hardness are two entirely different scales. Cleavage
and growth pattern of the stone have a good deal to do with it. If
the stone is brittle all the hardess in the world is not going to
make it durable. I beleive GIA put out a chart on the 2 scales.

Sali


#5

Hi David,

Well, I have had to re-cut and re-polish a few pieces of synthetic
Moissanite…

The material is indeed hard, although a 9.25 on a Mohs scale is
meaningless since the numbers only indicate that one substance is
harder than another, but does not signify how much. In that regard,
I am amazed that no enterprising Doctoral Candidate in Mineralogy
has not conducted extensive Vickers or Knoop hardness testing on gem
materials, but I digress.

Because synthetic Moissanite is silicon carbide it does have a
brittleness factor. It DOES chip and fracture easier than diamond
and easier than corundum (sapphire, ruby), but not as easily as
Tanzanite (near King of Brittle). The brittleness of hard carbide
steel tools is well known.

Why anyone would pay relatively big money for this junk is beyond me,
and always has been. It does NOT look like diamond, and its double
refraction is annoyingly obvious in one carat plus sizes, and it has
a greasy, not adamantine, luster. When properly cut to the correct
angles and properly polished, cubic zirconia, when mounted can be
rather difficult to separate from diamond by eye alone. Much better
diamond simulant than moissanite, IMO. Fortunately or unfortunately,
we don’t get to see much of it properly cut and polished, although
when one takes the time to cut a fancy shape in colored cubic
zirconia with good meets and superb polish, they will command good
prices. I have made many a custom piece like that and the customers
have enjoyed them. I’m currently working on some colored CZ (dark
peach color) in an Asscher cut. (the cut is patented for diamond, but
not for color). When overseas mass cutting operations started
churning out CZ for costume jewelry in the early 80’s (and earlier),
it became associated with junk jewelry…rightfully so, as the
cutting and polishing was/is generally horrible…and even a diamond
looks ugly if polished poorly. Anyhoo…if a customer wants a
diamond simulant, I would suggest a well done CZ. It’s not tougher
than SiC, but when it needs replacing, it is available and
inexpensive.

BTW, Charles & Colvard, the only current source for cut syn
Moissanite has not been doing well financially. Don’t look for them
to be making green moissanite available any time soon…although
it is available in rough form from a Russian manufacturer, in sizes
large enough to cut smalls.

And, no, I am not interested in cutting it/them.

Wayne, glad I don’t have to set that stuff,and awed by you who do


#6
I had assumed she was just super hard on her jewelry, but even so,
with a hardness of 9.25, you'd think it would be difficult to break
one. From my observations, it seems that although they are hard,
the crystal structure isn't very resistant to cleaving. What say
you gemologists/gem cutters? 

Since moissanite does occur naturally as inclusions in diamonds
found in certain iron-nickel meteorites and kimberlite deposits,
gemologists refer to it technically as synthetic moissanite. Some
refer to it by its name as a true chemical compound, Silicon Carbide.
Either way, it is a strange gemstone.

Before diving into the important differences as regarding this
thread, I should explain to the few who don’t understand the
difference between hardness and toughness. Hardness is just that; how
hard the material is. It is usually determined by scratching it with
points of different hardnesses until it scratches. Toughness is a
representation of how easily the material will break, or fracture. My
favorite comparison is diamond vs. jade. Diamond, with a hardness of
10 can abrade any material. You can use it to fashion a hammer out of
jade (hardness of 6 or so). While nowhere near as hard as diamond,
jade is exceptionally tough. A person can take that jade hammer, give
that diamond a good clout on a cleavage direction and break it just
as nice as you please. If you try this at home, bear in mind that, in
reality, it is very difficult to accomplish this feat without
incredible precision. Diamond cleavers (yes, they still exist) are
extremely skilled people who carve a small nick in the rough diamond
and use a sort of wedge with a hammer to accomplish it. We once tried
it with a hammer and anvil and failed miserably.

Okay, back to the thread. Moissanite’s toughness is always listed as
"excellent" because it has no distinct cleavage. Diamond’s toughness
is rated as “good in cleavage directions (there are four),
exceptional in others.” So what this means is that moissanite is a
little tougher in all directions than diamond’s WEAKEST direction and
has a conchoidal fracture, while diamond’s has a step-like fracture.
Diamond’s weakest direction is very difficult to affect when properly
cut, but moissanite’s is available in any direction.

Everyone knows that diamond’s hardness on the mohs scale is 10, the
hardest. What many don’t know is how misleading the mohs scale can
be. In the first nine levels of hardness, it can be said that each
number is more or less twice as hard as the preceding number. That
isn’t precisely true, but it is quite close enough to illustrate. The
last number 10, however, is practically 100 times harder than 9. So,
at 9.25, moissanite is still less than half as hard as diamond.
That’s why your grandmothers’ diamond still has nice, crisp facet
junctions while her sapphire’s is heavily abraded. If she wore
moissanite, it would be just so. That is, if it didn’t break when
smacked on the corner of a table.

So, although fairly hard and tough, it seems to exhibit a brittle
nature. I’ve seen its’ crystal system listed as hexagonal, trigonal
and isometric. Most other gemstones have only one crystal system.
This is what I meant by it being a strange material. Most gemologists
learn how to separate it from diamond which is easy, since it is
doubly refractive with enough birefringence that you can usually see
double facet images through it. But with such a weird crystal
structure, it’s no wonder it doesn’t behave in concert with its’
hardness and toughness.

I’ve never cut any of this material because I’ve never seen any
rough. I don’t think Charles & Colvard allow it to be available to
independent cutters.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL