What is Synthetic Mossanite Gemstones Diamond Simulant?


Many different materials, both natural and synthetic, have been offered as diamond simulants -- lower cost gems that imitate diamond. None of them were really successful until cubic zirconia (often known as CZ) hit the market in 1976. Due to its convincing diamond-like appearance and low cost, it was a huge market success.

As a diamond simulant, moisaanite is superior to cubic zirconia in two ways. First, moissanite's hardness (8.5 to 9.25 on the Mohs scale) is closer to diamond; CZ by comparison is 8 to 8.5. This difference in hardness affects not only durability, but also moissanite's appearance -- a cut moissanite has facets that are nearly as crisp as those on a diamond.

Synthetic Moissanite Gemstone

Moissanite Earrings in White Gold
Second, moissanite's density more closely approximates diamond. Moissanite has a specific gravity of 3.2, fairly close to diamond (3.5 to 3.53). Cubic zirconia, by contrast, is extremely dense with a specific gravity of 5.6 to 6. So a 1 carat CZ is much smaller than a 1 carat diamond.

Moissanite has been heavily promoted in the marketplace by the one company that produces gem-quality material, Charles & Colvard. Though moissanite represents an advance over cubic zirconia, it does have some shortcomings. Diamond is a singly refractive material, as is CZ. But moissanite, like most gemstones, is double refractive. All moissanite is cut with the table perpendicular to the optic axis in order to hide this property, but when viewed under magnification at only a slight tilt the doubling of facets is easily visible.

oissanite's other shortcomings may eventually be overcome. One issue is a color problem: current moissanite production is plagued by an inescapable tint, which is usually a brownish green. The other issue is cost -- the limited availability of moissanite makes it about 120 times more expensive than cubic zirconia. So Charles & Colvard is trying to market moissanite not as a diamond simulant, but as a gemstone in its own right.

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