Unless you have been living under a rock, you know a great deal about diamonds. However, you likely know little about Moissanite. So, it should come as no surprise to you that the first person to discover this rare stone believed he was viewing diamond particles under his microscope. Yes, Moissanite was first discovered by French chemist, Henri Moisson. These particles were discovered in rocks surrounding a meteor strike in Canyon Diablo, Arizona.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite is made up of silicon carbide (SiC). This crystal is generally only found in tiny crystals.
Where Can Natural Moissanite be Found?
This rare crystal is generally found as tiny crystals near meteorites. Originally found in Arizona, this crystal has been found in Czechoslovakia, Israel, and Russia. The largest naturally occurring moissanite crystals recorded were found in Israel. These crystals measure over 3mm in size.
What shapes can moissanite be cut into?
Moissanite can be cut into a wide variety of shapes. Some shapes and cuts showcase the natural qualities of this gemstone.
The most popular shape for moissanite is round. This brilliant crystal is ideal cut as a classic round for a solitaire engagement ring or as a pendant or a flashing pair of earrings.
Another exceptional shape for moissanite is oval. Oval cuts tend to make your gemstone appear larger than it actually is. The exaggerated size or the stone coupled with the dazzling cuts that accommodate this shape make this an excellent choice.
The princess shape, or a similar brilliant square-cut especially faceted to showcase the fire of moissanite, is another exciting shape for this stunning stone. Classic and elegant, this shape allows the luster of this gemstone to speak volumes.
The cushion-cut, reminiscent of the glamour of the days of Art Deco, is another shape that allows the sparkling nature of moissanite shine. This cut focuses on the fire and brilliance inherent in this gemstone.
Similar in shape to the cushion cut gemstone, the emerald cut offers exceptional depth to moissanite. While the cushion cut plays up the fire and brilliance of the stone, the Emerald cut allows you to focus on the luster and clarity of your gemstone.
How is moissanite graded?
Moissanite is graded for color using the GIA Diamond Color Grading Scale. Moissanite that is colorless will be graded D-E-F. Moreover, those stones that are deemed to be nearly colorless will be graded G-H-I. Moissanite with faint color hues will be graded J-K.
Moissanite is also rated for clarity. Examined under magnification, these stones are examined for inclusions just like diamonds like the following:
When there are no inclusions or blemished under 10X magnification.
IF: Internally Flawless:
When there are no inclusions under 10X magnification, but some minor blemishes exist in the stone.
VVS1 - VVS2:
Very Very Slightly Included to Very Very Slightly Included: When there are minute inclusions under 10X magnification.
VS1 - VS2:
Very Slightly Included to Very Slightly Included: The gemstone contains minute inclusions when viewed at 10X magnification. These may include small clouds, crystals, or feathers that are invisible to the naked eye.
SI1 to SI2:
Slightly Included to Slightly Included: The gemstone contains inclusions that are noticeable under 10X magnification. These may include clouds, knots, cavities, feathers, or included crystals.
I1, l2, l3:
Included: Stones in this category contain inclusions that are obvious at 10X magnification and may have a negative impact on the clarity and brilliance of the gem. The gemstone may have large feathers or crystals.
Moissanite will generally have tiny clear inclusions due to its crystalline nature and will likely fall into the VVS or VS clarity category.
How is Moissanite Made and Treated?
Made with the use of technology and heat, moissanite can be further treated with heat to alter its color. Although rarely truly colorless, your gemstone can be set in white gold or platinum to heighten the illusion of colorlessness.
How to Buy Moissanite:
Set a Budget:
As with all major purchases, you are going to want to establish a budget before shopping for your moissanite jewelry. You can expect a moissanite engagement ring set in gold or platinum to cost between $600 and $3000 dollars. Obviously, the cost of your jewelry will depend heavily upon the 4C’s (carat, color, cut, and clarity). By determining your price range before you shop, you can avoid many of the headaches that come with making a major purchase.
Choose a shape:
Moissanite is lovely in a variety of shapes and cuts as discussed above. Decide upon what shape fits your style before worrying about the size. You will find that some shapes enhance the perception of the size of your gemstone. This may help you keep your purchase within your budget.
Decide on carat weight:
Once you know the budget you are working with and the shape that fits your style, you are ready to decide on the size of your ring. Remember, sometimes a well-cut stone in a stunning setting has more visual impact than you will get by going for the largest rock you can afford.