How are created or simulated gemstones different from natural gemstones? Natural gemstones are created by the forces of nature and must be discovered, usually by digging in the ground or sifting through a riverbed. Most of these natural gemstones can also be created in a laboratory; they are called created or simulated gemstones. They can be physically (in mineral and chemical contents)identical to their naturally occurring counterparts.
The purpose of creating gemstones in a laboratory isn't necessarily to reduce the costs, but rather to produce larger, more perfectly formed stones. Because even lab-created diamonds can be very expensive, there are some diamond alternatives on the market that are commonly used to give jewelry the look of authentic diamonds, but which are much less costly. Moissanite is an example of lab-created gemstones that, to the unaided eye, look identical to natural diamonds.
Created exclusively by Charles & Colvard, Moissanite is a model of sheer beauty that is fast becoming a shining star in today's hottest jewelry designs. Moissanite has very high dispersion and displays 2.4 times more fire than diamond (0.044). Its inherent high refractive index gives Moissanite a dazzling sparkle, while its precisely calibrated and carefully hand-cut facet patterns intensify fire and maximize brilliance. Moissanite is also extremely durable. It is harder (more resistant to scratching) than ruby or sapphire, second only to diamond, and it is resistant to breakage.
Moissanite's high dispersion produces flashes of rich rainbow (spectral) colors. The appearance and degree of these tints are less noticeable when Moissanite is set in jewelry. Jewelry set in gold (yellow, pink or white) and/or set in platinum will affect the face-up appearance of the stone. Larger sizes of near colorless Moissanite (6.5mm or 1 carat and larger) might appear to have a slight body color (faint green, gray or yellow). A variety of factors such as dispersion, tint and the type of jewelry setting can create and affect this unique color appearance. Most Moissanite aficionados enjoy the slight hue that results in a more believable and realistic-looking diamond alternative.
Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Henri Moissan discovered minute quantities of natural silicon carbide (later named Moissanite in his honor) while analyzing part of in Arizona's Diablo Canyon meteorite crater in 1893. Upon close inspection, he noticed the tiny crystals shimmered with brilliance and dispersion, although they were too limited in quantity and not large enough to use in jewelry. Almost 100 years after Dr. Moissan's amazing discovery, Charles & Colvard, with the aid of science, developed a way to create Moissanite. Appreciated for its overwhelming brilliance, Moissanite continues to take the jewelry world by storm.
Brilliance: The white light leaving a jewel, traveling upward, which is visible to the eye. Brilliance is sometimes referred to as "sparkle."
Dispersion: Flashes of rainbow colors. Also called "fire."
Hardness: Resistance to scratching. The higher the number, the more resistant.
Luster: The shininess of a jewel.
Toughness: Resistance to breakage.