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
only occur in small grains (around 1 mm ). 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
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, refractive 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 view 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.
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.