FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A MOISSANITE?
Moissanite is a beautiful Silicon Carbide (SiC) colourless gem that is quickly capturing the attention of many modern couples looking to get engaged. It's unsurpassed fire, brilliance and luster give this gem an unrivaled sparkle. Moissanite is extremely hard (only second in hardness after diamond) and is one of the toughest substances found on earth (actually tougher than a diamond). Because it is almost inclusion free, this gem is considered to be extremely resistant to chipping and breaking as well as scratching and dulling, making it ideal for daily wear and ensuring your jewellery will last forever.
WHAT IS A CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF MOISSANITE?
Moissanite is a mineral composed of two different elements of carbon 50% Silicon and 50% Carbon known as Silicon Carbide (SiC). Both of these chemical elements have very similar properties to each other. Let's break this down and have a look at both of these elements separately:
Silicon (Si) is a nonmetalic chemical element Group 14 (IVa) of the periodic table. It is a member of the carbon family that makes up about 27.7% of earth's crust and is the second most abundant element in the crust, only surpassed by oxygen. The name silicon derives from the Latin silex or silicis, meaning “flint” or “hard stone.” Silicon is a hard and brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre, it is a metalloid and a semiconductor. Pure silicon is too reactive to be found in nature, but it is found practically in all rocks as well as in sand, clay, and soil. Silicon has a melting point of 1414 °C and boiling point of 3265 °C which are respectively the second-highest among all the metalloids and nonmetals, being only surpassed by boron. Elemental silicon was first isolated and described as an element in 1824 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius, a Swedish chemist.
Carbon (C) is nonmetallic chemical element in Group 14 (IVa) of the periodic table. It is 19th in order of elemental abundance in Earth’s crust, and there are estimated to be 3.5 times as many carbon atoms as silicon atoms in the universe. The word carbon derives from the Latin carbo, meaning variously “coal,” “charcoal,” “ember.” Carbon is not particularly plentiful within earth's crust as it makes up only about 0.025 percent of it. It is however widely distributed in nature and it forms more compounds than all the other elements combined as coal in the organic compounds that constitute petroleum, natural gas, all plant and animal tissue and in pure forms as diamond, graphite and fullerite. Carbon as a natural element was discovered by the first person to handle charcoal from fire and was one of the small group of elements well known in the ancient world.
CAN MOISSANITE BE CLASSIFIED AS A DIAMOND?
No, even though both are composed of carbon - diamond is 100% Carbon and moissanite is made of of two different types of carbon 50% Silicon and 50% Carbon. While moissanite and diamond may visually appear to be similar and are often confused with one another, they are distinctly different minerals, with different crystal structures and optical properties, with moissanite surpassing diamond in both fire and brilliance. Moissanite is not a diamond simulant and should NEVER be classified as such, since it is a mineral in a class of it's own, just like sapphires, emeralds and other precious gems. The confusion between moissanite and diamond comes from the fact that in regular lighting, most people can't distinguish them from one another with the naked eye. You can only see the difference either under bright spotlights in form of increased rainbowy sparkle or under 10x magnication where you can spot the double refractive structure of the moissanite.
IS MOISSANITE A FAKE GEM?
No, moissanite is as real of a gemstone as a diamond or any other precious stone. The notion of "fake" has been introduced by the diamond industry to deter public opinion away from these gems, Because natural moissanite is extremely rare, the modern technological advances have allowed us to recreate the ideal growing conditions for this gem to be cultivated in highly specialized lab environments. But just because they are grown in a lab, doesn't mean that the physical structure of the mineral has somehow been altered. A lab created diamond made of 100% carbon is still considered to be a real diamond not a "fake" and we see more and more of them available on the market today. By the same token, lab cultivated moissanite is still made of 50% Silicon and 50% Carbon, making it a genuine moissanite and not a "fake gem". The lab grown gem's crystal structure is identical to that of the natural moissanite samples found by Dr Henri Moissan and if scientifically compared, modern samples would match those from 1893. Making lab grown moissanite a genuine gemstone.
HOW DOES A NOVALLUMINA MOISSANITE COMPARE TO A DIAMOND?
The following chart will help you understand the basic properties and similarities/differences of a NOVALLUMINA™ Moissanite as compared to a Diamond.
WILL NOVALLUMINA MOISSANITE EVER CLOUD OR BECOME DULL IN APPEARANCE?
The answer is NO. Because of it's hardness, NOVALLUMINA Artisan Moissanite is extremely resistant to scratching or dulling. It is non porous, which means it will not absorb oils and dirt the way softer gems do, that contribute to a dull appearance. NOVALLUMINA Moissanite is guaranteed to never loose its stunning optical properties such as fire, brilliance and lustre, so your gem will maintain it's beautiful sparkle even decades after you have purchased it. Please see our CARE & CLEANING section for tips on how to care for your moissanite gem and jewellery to keep your gem sparkling like new.
WHAT IS DOUBLE REFRACTION?
Refraction in gems happens when light changes direction as it passes through the surface of the stone. There are single and doubly refractive gems. Diamond is an example of a single refractive gem and moissanite is a double refractive gem. What that means is that when a single ray of light enters a moissanite, it is slowed down, bent and separated into two beams or spectrum that we see as prisms or rainbows as it exits the stone. The two beams travel at different velocities and move in two different directions, giving the stone a rainbowy sparkle which is a characteristic beauty of moissanite. However, when placed side by side and viewed directly through the table of the gem, both diamond and moissanite will appear to look quite similar, despite of being singly and doubly refractive.
Those who try to discredit moissanite will say that the double refraction is an undesirable quality in gems. What they will fail to mention is that many other highly valued gems including corundum (ruby and sapphire), alexandrite, aquamarine, citrine, kunzite, spinel, tourmaline are also doubly refractive gemstones and that double refraction is very hard to detect with the naked eye. This phenomena can be seen much easier on larger stones of 3.00 carats and over while stones under 3.00 carats barely show any signs. To see the doubling in a moissanite one has to look at the stone through 10x magnification and view it through the bezel facets looking down at the culet.
WHAT IS HEARTS & ARROWS CUT AND WHY SHOULD I ASK FOR IT?
When it comes to round cut moissanite or diamond, by far the most desirable cut is that of perfect Hearts & Arrows. The 57 facets in Hearts & Arrows are precision cut with exceedingly ideal proportions that contribute to incredible optical symmetry of the stone. The H&A is considered to be a Super Ideal Cut of the traditional Round Brilliant pattern. When viewed through the table (top) of the stone, one can see 8 perfectly symmetrical arrows and 8 perfect hearts from the pavilion (bottom) view. Moissanite cut with a perfect Hearts & Arrows pattern exhibit a magnificent display of gem's fire and brilliance. The combination of hearts and arrows is associated with love and romance, which is perfect when looking for the ultimate representation of a commitment a couple makes to each other. In addition, if you are looking for a stone that will have the closest proportions and characteristics to a round diamond, then the Hearts & Arrows NOVALLUMINA Moissanite is a perfect choice.
IS MOISSANITE A HARD, TOUGH AND DURABLE GEM?
Yes, yes and yes, moissanite is an extremely hard, tough and exceptionally durable gem that will withstand many abuses from daily wear and tear.
HARDNESS - measured by Mohs scale from 1 (soft) to 10 (hard). Moissanite is graded between 9.25 and 9.5 on Mohs scale, putting it second only to diamond which is rated as 10. This means that moissanite, just like a diamond will not scratch, dull or abrade through regular daily wear. Only diamond can scratch moissanite.
TOUGHNESS - is also known as the ability of a gem to withstand mechanical shock, pressure and breaking through the means of chipping or cleaving. Due to its hexoganol atomic structure, moissanite has no structural weaknesses. This in turn means that moissanite stones are far more resistant to chipping and do not cleave or break as easily as diamonds.
DURABILITY - refers to the gem's ability to withstand exposure to extreme heat, chemicals or acids. Under extreme temperature, Moissanite has more heat resistance than diamond. Just like diamond jewellery, Moissanite jewellery can be cast in place and will not be prone to any heat damage when the jewellery is being repaired or re-sized.