Silicon Carbide Moistanite Gemstone

Silicon carbide moissanite is a rare gemstone named after French chemist Henri Moissan. He discovered it while studying meteorites in Arizona in 1893 and at first thought the tiny particles might be diamonds; but Moissan immediately recognized them as something new and different.

Today, synthetic moissanite has become an increasingly popular alternative to diamond for jewelry purposes. It can be created using various processes including chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and flux growth.


Moissanite (SiC), although natural silicon carbide can occur in nature, is relatively rare and lab created moissanite is typically sold as jewelry store inventory. Moissanite shares more gemological properties with diamond than any other synthetic gem simulant making it one of the most sought-after synthetic gemstones.

Moissanite’s unique composition includes carbon and silicon. When these two elements come together, they create a crystal with six-sided hexagonal platelets – an extraordinary structure with exceptional fire and brilliance. Natural moissanite gemstones also far outshone synthetic varieties in terms of durability; being resistant to extreme temperature variations as well as high pressure without suffering damage or discoloration.

Moissanite was discovered by French chemist Henri Moissan in 1893 after finding rock samples from Arizona’s Canyon Diablo meteorite. Subsequently, he replicated this material in a laboratory setting and established its value as an abrasive. Finally, he named this new material after himself – hence its moniker of Moissanite.

Silicon Carbide (SiC) is now produced exclusively through synthetic methods. Production involves mixing metallurgical grade carbon powder and high purity silica in a furnace to undergo carbonization reaction; after which, this material is exposed to very high temperatures and pressure for crystal growth.

These large crystals are then cut and polished into beautiful gemstones found in jewelry stores. Unlike diamonds, synthetic moissanite production is far more environmentally-friendly as no harmful mining processes need to be carried out; making it more appealing to consumers who prioritize ethical sourcing.

Some may confuse moissanite with cubic zirconia, but these stones differ greatly in composition and structure. Cubic zirconia is composed of zirconium dioxide while moissanite is made up of silicon carbide – both are considered diamond simulants; both share many similar properties like having higher refractive index than natural gemstones mined from earth though natural stones tend to have deeper colors with less intense glows than synthetic ones produced in laboratories.


Moissanite gems were first unearthed 110 years ago through geological discovery. French chemist Ferdinand Henri Moissan unearthed tiny crystals in Arizona’s Canyon Diablo meteorite that initially seemed like diamonds due to their brilliant shine and hardness; upon further inspection however, Moissan determined they were actually naturally-occurring silicon carbide, known as SiC (in its synthetic form carborundum). Moissan later earned the name “moissanite” to commemorate him for his efforts using high temperature methods and furnaces which led him to this discovery.

Silicon carbide occurs naturally only in trace amounts in meteorites, corundum deposits and kimberlite. Virtually all silicon carbide sold worldwide – for use as an abrasive, ceramic material or diamond simulant of gem quality – is synthetically made by melting silica sand with carbon at high temperatures in an electric arc furnace, often known by the name “carborundum”. Silicon carbide’s commercial applications range from industrial abrasives and high performance ceramics to semiconductor electronics as one of the hardest natural materials known to mankind.

SiC is an excellent material choice for telescope mirrors due to its low thermal expansion, rigidity and hardness – characteristics which make it attractive in astronomy telescopes. Chemical vapor deposition technology can produce large disks of polycrystalline silicon carbide at high temperatures to produce large diameter mirrors with high reflectivity that weigh less while remaining light weight and stable – it even resists vibration-related damage caused by dust accumulation or glare! The material’s excellent stability also makes it suitable for use as an anti-glare shield material against dust accumulation on mirror surfaces when used in telescope mirrors due to vibration-related damage caused by dust accumulation or dust accumulation on lenses compared to other materials like acrylic mirrors used on telescopes!

Silicon carbide is an extremely hard mineral, second only to diamond on the Mohs hardness scale. It exhibits excellent thermal shock resistance and electrical conductivity properties. Thanks to its natural resistance to oxidation, silica carbide has found widespread application as a support material for heterogeneous catalysts used for the conversion of C4 hydrocarbons like butane and hexane into maleic anhydride; additionally it can be found used for chemical processing of petroleum and fossil fuels; this field continues to develop rapidly!

Flux Growth

Silicon carbide forms over 70 distinct polytypes with unique physical and electrical properties. These variants can be divided into three major groups according to their crystal structures: cubic, rhombohedral, and hexagonal. Undoped colorless silicon carbide single crystals are grown commercially for semiconductor applications using undoped growth systems free from impurity atoms such as nitrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen or silane and with an end product of high quality crystal.

Flux growth, or dissolving silicon carbide powder in fluid containing flux, is used to produce desired crystals. Once heated to high temperatures and allowed to slowly cool after being exposed to extreme conditions, its contents crystallize onto seed crystals for crystal growth; this method is known as Lely Process after its creator, Belgian scientist Lely.

Moissanite crystals produce highly lustrous surfaces with smooth, perfect spheres. Their rigid construction and low thermal expansion coefficient make them suitable for various industrial uses, including manufacturing abrasive grinding wheels and telescope mirror construction – qualities which have made moissanite the preferred diamond alternative on the market today.

Moissanite is one of the hardest minerals on Earth and can withstand even daily wear and tear without becoming scratched or dented or chipped easily like many gems would. Additionally, moissanite offers superior scratch resistance. Furthermore, this versatile gemstone comes in various shapes, sizes and colors and is available with multiple cuts that can be set into gold, silver or platinum metal settings for additional wear-resistance.

Henri Moissan made the initial discovery of moissanite in 1905 from Canyon Diablo meteorite, with subsequent confirmation in Green River Formation in Wyoming and Yakutia Kimberlite in eastern Russia. Natural moissanite occurs only rarely and is typically only found in rare iron-nickel meteorites or ultramafic igneous deposits – unlike Charles & Colvard’s innovative production process that replicates nature by creating beautiful durable superhard crystals with lifelike hues from laboratory conditions – giving lifelike shine from lab-grown moissanite crystals which look lifelike!


Silicon carbide, commonly referred to as carborundum, is one of the hardest materials on Earth with a Mohs scale hardness rating of 9. Its durability has led it to be used in bulletproof vests and ceramic plates; additionally it serves as an abrasive found in cutting tools and sandpaper – it even resists corrosion at higher temperatures!

Moissanite, a rare natural form of SiC, is an exquisite gemstone with an exceptional hexagonal crystal structure and brilliance and dispersion, setting itself apart from diamonds. Moissanite’s higher refractive index bends light more efficiently, making its sparkle all the brighter; making it an attractive, durable, cost-effective alternative. Moissanite jewelry designs also become increasingly popular.

Modern moissanite is most commonly produced using the Lely method, a process which produces large single-crystal silicon carbide crystals which can then be cut into gems under the brand name moissanite and sold commercially.

Though many manufacturers use the Lely process, there are other means of producing synthetic moissanite. One such approach is using PVT (physical vapor transport). This method produces silicon carbide crystals with similar appearance as those created through Lely processing.

Sublimation involves sublimating silicon carbide into a gas in a vacuum, which can then be deposited onto seed crystals to grow larger crystals more precisely and thus create synthetic moissanite crystals with desired sizes and shapes.

Under optimal conditions, crystals of a-SiC are colorless with hexagonal crystal structures. Industrial products like abrasives and grinding wheels typically contain impurities that result in brown to black crystals with zinc blende crystal structures containing iron impurities that create rainbow-like luster owing to iron impurities present.

SiC is most often used in industrial applications; however, its potential as a semiconductor material for power electronic devices that operate at high temperatures and voltages has seen it increasingly used as well as high resolution television sets and infrared imaging systems. Since natural SiC is extremely rare in the United States market, most sold here is synthetic.

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