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Moissanite

Stadler’s Jewlery carries certified moissanites in different shapes in sizes. Moissanite is an affordable alternative to a real diamond in an engagement ring. Please feel free to stop by and take a look at these beautiful stones and to select a setting!

Moissanite is the name given to naturally occurring silicon carbide and to its various crystalline polymorphs. It has the chemical formula SiC and is a rare mineral, discovered by the French chemist Henri Moissan in 1893. Silicon carbide is useful for commercial and industrial applications due to its hardness, optical properties and thermal conductivity. Efforts to synthesize silicon carbide in a laboratory began in the late 1800s.


Background

Mineral moissanite was discovered by Henri Moissan while examining rock samples from a meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona, in 1893. At first, he mistakenly identified the crystals as diamonds, but in 1904 he identified the crystals as silicon carbide. Artificial silicon carbide had been synthesized in the lab by Edward G. Acheson just two years prior to Moissan’s discovery.

The mineral form of silicon carbide was named moissanite in honor of Moissan later on in his life. The discovery in the Canyon Diablo meteorite and other places was challenged for a long time as carborundum contamination from man-made abrasive tools.


Geological occurrence

Until the 1950s no other source, apart from meteorites, had been encountered. Later moissanite was found as inclusions in kimberlite from a diamond mine in Yakutia in 1959, and in the Green River Formation in Wyoming in 1958. The existence of moissanite in nature was questioned even in 1986 by Charles Milton, an American geologist.

Moissanite, in its natural form, is very rare. It has only been discovered in a small variety of places from upper mantle rock to meteorites. Discoveries have shown that moissanite occurs naturally as inclusions in diamonds, xenoliths, and ultramafic rocks such as kimberlite and lamproite. They have also been identified in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites as presolar grains.


Sources

All applications of silicon carbide today use synthetic material, as the natural material is very scarce.

Silicon carbide was first synthesized by Jöns Jacob Berzelius, who is best known for his discovery of silicon. Years later, Edward Goodrich Acheson produced viable minerals that could substitute for diamond as an abrasive and cutting material. This was possible, as moissanite is one of the hardest substances known, with a hardness below that of diamond and comparable with those of cubic boron nitride and boron.

Pure synthetic moissanite can be made from thermal decomposition of the preceramic polymer poly(methylsilyne), requiring no binding matrix, e.g., cobalt metal powder.


Physical properties

The crystalline structure is held together with strong covalent bonding similar to diamonds, that allows moissanite to withstand high pressures up to 52.1 gigapascals. Colors vary widely and are graded from D to K range on the diamond color grading scale. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness moissanite is a 9.5, with a diamond being a 10.


The Moissanite Engagement Ring

Moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market in 1998 after Charles & Colvard, formerly known as C3 Inc., received patents to create and market lab-grown silicon carbide gemstones, becoming the first firm to do so. Charles & Colvard currently makes and distributes moissanite jewelry and loose gems under the trademarks Forever One, Forever Brilliant and Forever Classic. Other manufacturers market silicon carbide gemstones under trademarked names such as Amora and Berzelian. Moissanite is regarded as a diamond alternative, with some optical properties exceeding those of diamond. Its lower price and less exploitative mining practices necessary to obtain it make it a popular alternative to diamonds.


Citation
Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Permanent link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moissanite&oldid=777659642