Moissanite, The Gemstone From Outer Space
Things from outer space and distant galaxies have fascinated mankind for centuries. The possibility that there may be something out there has inspired novels, newspaper articles, and Hollywood movies. Not to mention numerous hoaxes.
Sites such as Area 51, plus the Roswell incident, have become the stuff of myth and legend. However, the majority of UFO sightings have been debunked. And so far, there has been no contact with little green men.
But, in 1893, one man began to examine pieces of a meteor that hit Arizona 50,000 years ago. Henri Moissan’s discovery was silicon carbide, one of the rarest ceramic materials in the world. From space had come a mineral that was to change the gem industry.
How was moissanite discovered?
Dr. Henri Moissan was looking to take his research further when he began examining meteor fragments. During his studies of the meteor, he came across tiny pieces of a mineral never seen before.
This mineral had a brilliance greater than that of cut diamonds, and in his honor, the material was named moissanite.
Despite the beauty of moissanite, it didn’t affect the popularity of diamonds and other gemstones, because the supply of this mineral was minuscule.
Is natural moissanite easy to find now?
Natural moissanite only exists in minute quantities in the world, as it originates from space. Indeed, the largest moissanite is in itself tiny.
In 2012, the largest known moissanite crystal was discovered near the Kishon River in northeastern Israel. Its size? A whopping 4.1 mm. Between 1893 and now, only a tiny amount of natural moissanite has ever been discovered.
In 1906, Henri Moissan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and he believed that diamonds could be successfully synthesized one day. Despite all his efforts, Moissan never did manage to recreate the crystals he discovered in the meteor.
Yet, in the late 1980s, moissanite was finally synthesized successfully. Finally, the gemstone was on its way for use in jewelry.
Is moissanite a replacement for diamonds?
Diamonds have always been sought after, and they are becoming even rarer as time goes by. Yet, this precious stone has a clouded history. Diamond mining isn’t always sustainable, and there have been ethical concerns surrounding this valuable gemstone.
With reserves diminishing, and environmental concerns with diamonds, many gemstones are now created in laboratories. And the same is happening with moissanite.
While it is near impossible to find natural moissanite to create jewelry, synthesis has enabled this gemstone to reach a wide market.
And moissanite looks very similar to diamonds. You may know how to identify a raw diamond. Or perhaps you can tell the difference between a moissanite and a cut diamond. But, the majority of people cannot.
Moissanite is becoming a very popular choice for those who want an alternative to diamonds.
Is moissanite a precious gemstone?
Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, and the price reflects that. Synthetic moissanite on the other hand is far more affordable than diamonds or many other gemstones.
Moissanite is considered to be a semi-precious stone. The only stones that are classed as precious are rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and emeralds. But, this hasn’t stopped the popularity of moissanite from growing.
Moissanite has more fire and brilliance than a diamond, and at a fraction of the price. A 1-carat diamond might set you back up to $5,000 but the same weight moissanite would be just $600.
There is a strong resale market with moissanite. If you’re considering investing in gold this year or in gemstones, then you might consider moissanite. But, perhaps jewelry should be bought because of its beauty rather than for investment.
Is moissanite growing in popularity?
Moissanite can rival all precious stones for beauty, fire, brilliance, and shimmer. Where moissanite really wins is the price. The main reason that moissanite is growing in popularity is that it’s more affordable than diamonds.
The gemstone also pairs extremely well with different colored gold. White, yellow, and rose gold, are perhaps the best pairings with moissanite. And the latter brings warm rose-colored hues that work well with moissanite.
A quick search online for moissanite rings rose gold will bring up plenty of options for window shopping. Perhaps the availability of moissanite in online jewelers is another strong reason why this gemstone is selling so well now.
With natural moissanite coming from space it is never going to be found in abundance. But, it seems fitting that space age techniques are used to synthesize moissanite so that the world can enjoy this incredible mineral.
While Henri Moissan never got to see his discovery being created in labs and worn as jewelry, he was certainly correct to believe that one-day diamonds and moissanite would be synthesized.
From space has come a sustainable, affordable gemstone that can rival diamonds for sheer brilliance and fire.