Moissanite is a remarkably close second to diamond in almost every respect, but can it get wet?
Every gemstone on the planet can get wet, and that includes moissanite. There’s no way water can damage moissanite, but any chemicals in the water might have an adverse effect on the stone. Hard water might damage a gemstone, but it’s a rare occurrence.
Read on to learn more about moissanite, where it comes from, and how best to take care of it.
Meet Mr. Moissan
Although moissanite was effectively discovered in 1904, it was almost completely missed, after being misidentified as diamonds. When Henri Moissan retrieved rock samples from a meteor crater in Arizona, he thought he’d found traces of diamond, a common enough occurrence.
However, he picked these samples up in 1893, and it wasn’t until 1904 that he realized it wasn’t diamond, but a different element entirely. This new discovery revealed that the mineral before him was dramatically close to diamond in almost every respect, but it wasn’t diamond.
He eventually determined that this was silicon carbide, and although it had recently (within two years) been synthesized, this was the first known natural occurrence of the mineral. Reportedly, Moissan’s discovery wouldn’t be replicated for another fifty years.
In its naturally-occurring state, moissanite is extremely rare, much more so than any other gemstone known to man. It’s so rare, in fact, that there are still people today who dispute that moissanite legitimately occurs ‘in the wild’.
If there is a natural and reliable source for silicon carbide, it’s up there in the stars. As with Moissan’s original discovery, moissanite occurs in meteors, and apparently, it’s quite an abundant material throughout space itself.
On Earth, moissanite has only ever been found in a minute number of locations, such as in a lone diamond mine in Yakutia. It often appears as inclusions in other minerals, such as kimberlite or diamond, and any naturally-occurring examples are often tiny, or near-microscopic.
Today, every moissanite stone is synthetic, having been produced in a lab using the same methods designed more than a century ago. It’s one of the hardest materials we know of, and it falls just a little way behind diamond, which effortlessly claims the top spot on the spectrum.
It’s a remarkable mineral that can withstand immense pressure, and it’s often used for cutting and abrasion practices in industrial processes. However, it’s also used as a fine alternative to diamonds in jewelry, and side-by-side, only an expert eye could really tell the difference between the two.
Offering An Alternative
Moissanite is a relatively young alternative to diamond, having only been popularized at the turn of the twenty-first century. It was Charles & Colvard, arguably the most prominent moissanite manufacturers in the world, who created the first silicon carbide gemstones, back in 1998.
The North American company acquired powerful patents that ensured it had the monopoly on creating moissanite gemstones, but today, many other companies do it. Although, Charles & Colvard is easily seen as the most popular source of moissanite gemstones.
As all moissanite stones are made synthetically, they’re much cheaper than diamonds on a general scale. In fact, a large moissanite stone (with the same weight as a similarly-sized diamond) can cost several thousand dollars less.
It’s an eco- and energy-friendly alternative to mined diamonds, and a moissanite stone takes on many of the attributes that a diamond boasts. Firstly, it’s a remarkably strong material, and secondly, it can be cut in the same way and boasts almost the same refractive index as a diamond.
Admittedly, diamonds reflect light in such a unique way that no gemstone truly replicates it, and that’s true where moissanite is concerned. It tends to reflect light with a rainbow sparkle, which is unique in itself.
Both diamond and moissanite, like every other gemstone, remain unaffected by water, unless it’s abnormally hard water. Although, both can be impacted by any chemicals that might be in the water itself, such as cleaning products.
If you want to retain the sparkle in either your diamond or moissanite gemstones, you can get them wet, but be careful of what goes in the water. In some cases, hard or contaminated water can create a strange sheen on the surface of your gemstone that can be easily recognized.
There might be several alternatives to diamond, such as cubic zirconia or even glass, but moissanite is certainly the best alternative.